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Wednesday, Feb 28, 2024

Los Angeles Region Facing Mid-Skill Worker Shortage, Study Finds

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 Tuesday.

The report released by the new Center for a Competitive Workforce suggested that Los Angeles and Orange counties could face a dire shortage of workers unless community colleges developed mid-level skills to match high-growth industries across the region.

Local business leaders welcomed an industry-education partnership to bolster talent.

“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.

The center, based at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., surveyed 20 occupations and 28 Southern California community colleges to determine the skills-jobs gap. Based on current trends and degrees/certificates awarded by community colleges, 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.

It targeted industries in a Southern California economy rapidly transitioning from one based on labor to information and digital technology.

“In the face of unprecedented economic change,” said Dave Flaks, president and chief operating officer of the LAEDC, “we need to get this right.”

Health business reporter Dana Bartholomew can be reached at dbartholomew@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @_DanaBart.

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