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Career Outlook 2006

The demand for skilled workers triples. SkillsUSA can help answer the need!

Today, there is a shortage of skilled workers. And, those that have technical skills may lack personal skills such as dependability, teamwork, communications and customer relations. In the manufacturing sector alone, a survey found 63% of companies lacking employees with essential "employability" skills. SkillsUSA is a proven program of work, which complements skills training and is considered vital by the federal and state departments of education.

  State director, Larry Rabalais

SkillsUSA is an organization dedicated to providing quality education experiences for students in leadership, teamwork, citizenship and character development. It is an applied method for preparing America's high performance workers in public career and technical programs. SkillsUSA also promotes understanding of the free enterprise system and involvement in community service.

SkillsUSA programs include local state and national competitions in which students demonstrate occupational and leadership skills. SkillsUSA programs also help to establish and/or deliver industry standards for job skill training in the lab and classroom. Over 1,000 businesses work with SkillsUSA at the national level and thousands are involved in the states. Those partnerships strengthen the bond between what business expects and how schools provide training.

Following are some skilled worker shortage statistics compiled by SkillsUSA from the U.S. Department of Labor. The need for skilled workers is real--as is the need for total quality employees.

Labor Force Grows
The population and labor force will continue to grow over the 1996-2006 period, although more slowly than during the previous 10-year period. The number of people in the labor force is projected to increase by 15 million, reaching 149 million in 2006.

Labor Force Ages
Labor force growth is slowing because population growth is slowing. As the Baby Boom generation ages, the age distribution of the labor force will continue to shift upward.

The economy is expected to continue present trends and generate jobs at all levels of education and training through 2006. Most of the projected employment increases will continue to be in the service-producing sector of the economy. Total employment is projected to increase by 18.6 million, from 132.4 million to 150.9 million (including wage and salary, self-employed and unpaid family workers). The projected 1.3 percent annual average rate of growth is slower than the 1.7 percent growth from 1986 to 1996.

About one-third of the occupations with the largest numerical job growth require college/technical education or training. In most occupations, job openings result from the need to replace workers who leave to enter other occupations, retire or leave the labor force than from employment growth. During 1996-2006, three-fifths (32 million) of the 50.5 million projected job openings will come from the replacement needs compared to new openings (18.6 million).

Growth Areas
Employment in service-producing industries will increase faster than average, with growth near 30 percent.

Computer and data processing services will add over 1.3 million jobs from 1996-2006. The 108 percent increase is due to technological advancements and the need for higher skilled workers. The high percent increase makes this the fastest growing industry over the projection period.

Of the 50.5 million job openings projected, 22.5 million (44.5 percent) are in four occupational groups where SkillsUSA programs are concentrated: technicians and related support occupations; service occupations; precision production, draft and repair; and operators, fabricators and laborers.