Map to the Middle Class

The story of the future of work in America is one of deepening economic polarization. Good jobs are disappearing for people with only a high-school diploma, while wage and employment gains increasingly accrue to people with higher education. In this series, we’ll explore the jobs of the future and ask how schools can help young people prepare for a landscape where middle-class life is increasingly out of reach. To do that, we want to hear from you. See all our Special Reports

Freshmen Helen “Ellie” Clark and Noah Stevens have class in the machine shop.

What does it take to make it to today’s middle class?

Not sure if you're middle class? Feeling like you're falling out of the middle class? Tell us your story. Or just take our quiz and test your knowledge.

Jerry Hughes, a retired federal mediator, coaches Niles West students who’ve been cast as union representatives.

Can educating kids about unions prepare them for the future of work?

Labor history is often missing from textbooks, but some schools are finding creative ways to teach economic justice

Students at STEM School Academy in Douglas County start the computer program to run their historical figure head with artificial intelligence.

Teachers want to prepare students for the jobs of the future — but feel stymied

Many educators say meager budgets prevent them from developing new ways of teaching in-demand soft skills

Client Paul Chirico of Los Angeles works with tax preparer Erika Arbulante to see how the Affordable Care Act, ACA, will impact his tax returns at H&R Block on January 8, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.

Apprenticeships could provide a path to the middle class for millions of workers, new study says

The workforce programs could spread to more than 70 well-paid occupations

In this 2013 photo, Shannan Van Houten, a physician assistant, gives medical care to a patient at Golden Valley Health Center, CareNow, in Modesto, California. Physician assistant is a fast-growing and well-paid profession that is expected to add an estimated 39,700 jobs over the next decade.

Without changes in education, the future of work will leave more people behind

New Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows big employment gains in health care, social aid

After decades of pushing bachelor’s degrees, U.S. needs more tradespeople

California budgets millions to rebrand long-disparaged vocational education