Chicago’s economy is showing strong signs that a reluctant recovery from the Great Recession is gaining momentum, but it isn’t out of the woods yet. Unemployment is down and companies are ready to invest in growth if they can find enough people with the right skills to fill the positions that will enable the growth.
But without people to fill middle-skill positions, the recovery may be hampered. Specifically, the Chicago-area economy is projected to add nearly 170,000 new good-paying, middle-skill jobs by 2020, according to a new skills gap report by JPMorgan Chase, “Growing Skills for a Growing Chicago.” We call them middle-skill jobs because, while they don’t require a college degree, they do require a high school education and specialized training – usually a certification program. These are the jobs that turn an economy around.