Over the past several months, the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) took a close look at the shortage of skills in America’s growing industries in a series of "Shortage of Skills" analyses.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported this year that 7.4 million Americans are unemployed while 5.8 million jobs remain unfilled across the nation.
Because employers are seeking “job ready” employees, many prospective employees fail to make the cut due to their lack of adequate education and training.
In June, APSCU examined the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) industry.
A September 2015 report by the HVACR Workplace Development Foundation indicated that the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 21 percent increase in the number of HVACR mechanic and installer jobs through 2022 -- almost twice the overall employment growth.
Unlike some skilled professions, HVACR jobs cannot be outsourced. And with average salaries being over $49,000, plus bonuses and overtime, the industry offers good compensation but still struggles to find new applicants to keep pace with America’s growing demand.
Burning Glass Technologies found more than 220,000 vacancies for various HVACR jobs in 2014 alone. But only an estimated 21,239 new employees met the qualification requirements to join the workforce after completing programs from technical or community colleges during the 2014–2015 school year, according to a HVACR Workplace Development Foundation report.
For-profit colleges and universities play a vital role in helping provide talent for skilled trades like HVACR technicians.
In its assessment of the beauty and wellness industry, APSCU partnered up with the American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS) to assess concerns within the industry, which includes product manufacturers and distributors, independent salons and spas, major chain and franchise salons, and the institutions that provide them with licensed professionals.
The most recent data from the BLS suggests stable employment within the beauty and wellness industry, with projections indicating that the beauty and wellness communities are a growing component of the nation’s economy. In fact, according to the bureau, hairdressers, barbers and cosmetologists are predicted to experience a 10 percent increase in employment from 2014 to 2024.
Regardless of the economy, people across the country routinely seek out services performed by cosmetologists, barbers, estheticians, nail technicians and massage therapists, which has contributed to industry’s growth. But the nation faces a shortage of licensed professionals needed to enable salons and spas to operate at their peak.
APSCU President and CEO Steve Gunderson said in a news release that with 10 percent annual growth predicted, the nation needs an additional 6,400 new professionals each year to meet demand.
The cosmetology school industry equips graduates with entry-level skills and the ability to successfully pass required state licensure examinations required for employment.
In another analysis, APSCU focused on the shortage of skills in the information technology and cyber security sectors. The demand for careers in information technology is very high with median wages greatly exceeding average pay.
According to the BLS, software developers are projected to grow by almost 19 percent between 2014 and 2024, and overall, all computer occupations are projected to grow by over 13 percent -- more than double the projected growth of 6.5 percent for all occupations.
Data shows that the average salary for computer occupations is $79,420, while the median wage for software developers is $95,510.
In recent years, the demand for trained cyber security professionals has exploded partly due to headlines on high-profile, top-level security breaches in government and businesses.
Because technology is ever-evolving, companies are grappling with a large human capital shortage.
A Burning Glass report found that in 2014, U.S. employers posted close to 50,000 jobs requesting a CISSP – one of the main cyber security certifications. Yet only 65,300 people in the country hold a CISSP, according to the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium’s July 2015 membership counts.
For-profit colleges and universities strive to provide adequate training to millions of students across the country, equipping them with the necessary skills to compete for jobs in cyber security and information technology.
APSCU is a membership organization of accredited institutions of higher education that provide postsecondary education with a career focus.