Industries across Greater Los Angeles will face a 42 percent shortage in workers for middle-skill jobs in fields from health care to computer technology unless community colleges can match student skills with employers, according to a study released last week.

The report by the new Center for a Competitive Workforce at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. says that community colleges need to develop mid-level skills to match high-growth industries across Los Angeles and Orange counties.

The center surveyed 20 occupations and 28 Southern California community colleges to determine the skills-jobs gap. It projected a 42 percent shortage of qualified applicants for 67,450 job openings in the next five years.

The 90-page report, “L.A. & Orange County Community Colleges: Powering Economic Opportunity,” was funded by a Strong Workforce program initiative by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.

“We urge community colleges and all of our post-secondary educational institutions to work collaboratively with business to ensure our students become successful employees of the Los Angeles region,” said Gary Toebben, president and chief executive of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, a partner with the workforce center.

– Dana Bartholomew

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