Giving Compass' Take:

• David Cantor discusses efforts to fill the "middle skills" gap - unfilled jobs that require more than a high school degree, but less than a four year college degree. 

• How can funders work to make the opportunity these jobs present known? How will AI and automation change the landscape of these jobs in decades to come? 

• Learn how wind farms are bringing middle-class jobs to poor areas

Mitchell Block is a lineman for two counties. He drives the main roads tending to the power lines along the western lakeside of Michigan.

It’s more accurate to say Block is an apprentice lineman, a few months from earning his journeyman’s card after four years of training. He can look forward to a union-protected salary, average retirement in his late-50s, and yearly earnings north of $100,000 after overtime, according to an energy company official.

Block is a member of the so-called middle-skills workforce, which comprises the lion’s share of the American labor market. Despite making up a critical share of the economy, middle-skills jobs — those that require more education or training than a high school diploma but less than a four-year college degree — are only now slowly beginning to gain the attention of those focused on the K-12 education pipeline meant to prepare American children to meet the country’s labor needs.

In collaboration with educators and business leaders, advocates are creating programs across the country that expose students during the school day or after school to middle-skills professions. Ranging widely across sectors like health care and information technology, law enforcement and the trades, about half the country’s jobs fall into this category. But elevating middle-skills work was not among the reform priorities of No Child Left Behind, nor its K-12 successor, the Every Student Succeeds Act, during the respective Bush and Obama administrations.

Read the full article about the ‘middle skills’ gap by David Cantor at The 74.