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There will be middle-class jobs for high school graduates — especially as baby boomers retire — but there won’t be enough to go around, concludes the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce’s new Career Clusters report.

In 1973, 72 percent of jobs were open to workers with a high school diploma or less. That will fall to 37 percent by 2018, the report predicts.

About 29 percent of jobs will require “middle skills,” such as a certificate or associate degree or “some college.”

Wages rise with education: Only 36 percent of jobs for workers with only a high school diploma pay $35,000 or more, compared to 54 percent of jobs for associate degree graduates and 69 percent of jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree.

High school-level jobs are found in four male dominated career clusters: manufacturing, construction, transportation, and hospitality. Of these four clusters, only jobs in manufacturing and construction still pay relatively good wages; particularly for those who obtain on-the-job-training.

There will be fewer manufacturing jobs, but retiring baby boomers will create many openings for the younger generation.

Women need postsecondary education to earn a middle-class wage, the study found.  Health care is the most promising field for women with a certificate or associate degree.

The highest paying jobs for workers with some college or an associate degree are in manufacturing and in business, management and administration.  For example, operations managers with an associate degree average $71,000 and administrative support staff earn $36,100.

In the manufacturing cluster, associate degree holders earn $43,200 as computer and machine repair technicians. First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers and repairers earned $61,000.

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