The U.S. is not adequately developing and sustaining a skilled technical work force, according to a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.
The report includes recommendations for colleges on how they can improve education and training for this segment of workers, who include medical laboratory technicians, computer support specialists and installation and repair technicians. Gaps are particularly evident in health care and manufacturing, according to the report.
Community colleges and other institutions that offer credentials in these areas will need incentives to create more flexible and integrated programs, the report said, and to offer supportive services.
"To raise awareness of the value of and demand for skilled technical workers, the report recommends that an alliance of stakeholders -- industry, trade, academic, and civic associations and labor unions, in cooperation with the U.S. departments of Labor and Education -- organize a nationwide public-private communication campaign," the academies said in a written statement. "This campaign should be customized to recognize local variations in skilled technical work force education, training and labor market requirements."