Power Marketplace’s public service journalism 💙 Give Now

Between professors and pizza delivery

Alisa Roth Nov 13, 2007


Doug Krizner: The job market has traditionally been split into two categories: Highly-skilled, requiring education beyond high school, and unskilled positions, where a diploma is enough. A new study suggests there might be a subtler picture.
Alisa Roth reports.

Alisa Roth: Almost half of all American jobs today require more than a high-school diploma, but not a four-year college degree. So says a new report from two economists at the think tank Urban Institute.

Georgetown University professor Harry Holzer, one of the authors, says politicians and educators have been ignoring this group. He says high schools and colleges need to create programs for people who do what he calls middle-skill jobs.

Harry Holzer: Making it easier for all kinds of folks to go to community college, to get associates degrees, but also a whole range of post-secondary training certificates.

MIT economics professor David Autor says there are still middle-skill jobs in the U.S., but he thinks the study exaggerates the idea of a split economy.

David Autor: The way they construe it is meant to imply that there’s, you know, only going to be professors or doctors and pizza delivery people.

The report was released to help introduce the Skills 2 Compete campaign, a program that’s trying to encourage a broader approach to educating American workers.

In New York, I’m Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.