Workforce development professionals and economic developers in northeast Indiana are quick to point out that there are open positions that pay well but don't require a bachelor's degree.
In a report issued in October, the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce looked at “good jobs” – defined as annual pay of $35,000 for those younger than 45 and $45,000 for those 45 and older and specifically the ability for those without a bachelor's degree to earn these wages.
The “Good Jobs That Pay Without a BA” report found that 36 percent of Hoosiers who didn't have a bachelor's degree had a good job.
However, these jobs can pay wages not far beyond the 2016 Fort Wayne metro area median hourly wage; about 62 cents more an hour for the lower threshold and $5.42 an hour more for the upper level.
In comparison, the annual average wage for Fort Wayne-area elementary school teachers in May 2016 was $49,140, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
In the report's defense, it found that the median earnings of those non-degree Hoosier good-job holders were $55,000 with 51 percent earning that or more.
Another 29 percent earn between $45,000 and $55,000 and 21 percent earn $35,000 to $45,000, according to the Georgetown report.
Non-bachelor's degree good jobs fall overwhelmingly into blue-collar industries at 64 percent. Skilled services makes up the remaining 36 percent.
Between 1991 and 2015, Indiana lost 31,000 non-bachelor's good jobs in blue-collar fields yet gained 128,000 skilled-service good jobs.
The report lists the top five industries for these jobs in Indiana as manufacturing (203,000 jobs), construction (63,000 jobs), health services (62,000 jobs), transportation and utilities (60,000 jobs) and retail trade (46,000 jobs).
The top five occupations are production (117,000 jobs), management (70,000 jobs), transportation and material moving (68,000 jobs), office and administrative support (61,000 jobs) and construction and extraction (56,000 jobs).