New JPMorgan Chase & Co. Report Identifies Skills Gaps and Solutions to Fill Healthcare and Manufacturing Jobs in Detroit

Report reveals middle-skill job opportunities for Detroit areas residents and recommends a comprehensive approach to align education and job training with high-demand healthcare and manufacturing positions
Apr 16, 2015 10:55 AM ET

NEW YORK, April 16, 2015 /3BL Media/ – JPMorgan Chase & Co. today released a first-of-its-kind roadmap addressing the mismatch between the needs of employers and the skills of current job seekers in Detroit. This skills gap report provides a comprehensive look at available middle-skill healthcare and manufacturing jobs in the Detroit area and offers data-driven steps local policy makers, community colleges, training providers and private sector employers can take to fill these critical, good paying roles.

Released as part of JPMorgan Chase’s five-year, $100 million commitment to Detroit’s economic recovery, the report integrates current labor market information to identify middle-skill occupations that are in high demand. With this data, the firm is working with community partners to expand workforce development and training programs and establish career paths to advanced roles.

“Detroit’s continued economic growth is tied to the quality of its workforce,” said Chauncy Lennon, JPMorgan Chase’s Head of Workforce Initiatives. “This report seeks to help the middle-skill workers identify pathways to well-paying jobs, which will expand the number of qualified workers and attract new business opportunities to accelerate Detroit’s growth.”    

Despite job and population reductions over the past decade, demand remains strong for qualified workers in Detroit, yet limited talent is available. The report reveals that nearly 6,000 middle-skill jobs in healthcare and manufacturing are projected to open annually in the Detroit area through 2018. From 2013-2014, openings in healthcare and manufacturing, the regions largest industry sectors, represented 56 percent of the total postings for all middle-skills jobs in Detroit. Yet many residents lack the basic academic and job readiness training to take advantage of these job opportunities. Roughly 12 percent of the region’s residents – over 340,000 people – age 25 and above lack a high school diploma. Moreover, 22 percent of Detroit city residents lack a high school diploma or GED, including more than half (55 percent) of Latino residents.

“There is an increasing number of good paying jobs available in Detroit, but many residents lack the required skills to be eligible for them,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “JPMorgan Chase’s report identifies ways businesses, educators and the city can do a better job of providing Detroiters the training and skills they need to take advantage of these opportunities."

Skills Gap Key Findings and Recommendations

Healthcare and manufacturing represent a significant part of the increase in demand for middle-skill workers, commonly defined as people with more than a high school degree but less than a bachelor’s degree. In 2013 there were more than 207,000 middle-skill jobs in healthcare and manufacturing and more than 5,700 of these types of jobs are expected to open up every year through 2018. On average, these middle-skill positions pay significantly higher than the region’s living wage of $17.08 and often times chart a course for career advancement.

The report suggests that these job openings and Detroit’s aging workforce are creating significant opportunities for entry-level and middle-skill workers to join the workforce. According to the report, approximately 22 percent of all healthcare and manufacturing employees are 55 years or older.


Healthcare accounts for more than 231,000 jobs in the Detroit area and is projected to be one of the fastest growing sectors. Over 19,000 jobs are expected in the healthcare industry by 2018, and 16% of those jobs will require middle skills. The median average hourly wage for middle-skill healthcare positions is $27.77, yet job postings for many of these positions go unfilled for one to three months on average.

With a significant number of workers retiring, Detroit’s Baby Boomer population will soon need healthcare workers of their own, from physicians to home health aides, furthering middle-skill employer demand. The aging population combined with additional increases in demand, such as major investments in the expansion of healthcare facilities, will make qualified middle-skill workers in the healthcare industry extremely valuable in the near future.


In the Detroit region, 33 percent of middle-skill demand stems from the manufacturing industry. Additionally, many manufacturing occupations are expecting to grow at rates well above the national average in the coming years. For example, employment of machinists is projected to rise by 17 percent by 2020, while the national average is expected to remain flat.

As the domestic automotive industry recovers, manufacturing processes continue to become more sophisticated, and the working population ages, the demand for middle-skill workers is increasing. Currently many of these positions are posted for an average of 40 days before being filled in the Detroit region. Wages vary by position, but the median average wage for a middle-skill manufacturing worker is $22.40 per hour.

“At Focus: HOPE we recognize that Detroit’s recovery remains dependent on being able to address the skills gap faced by both employers and job seekers,” said William F. Jones, CEO, Focus: HOPE. “By investing in high demand skill areas, like advanced manufacturing and information technology, we not only help address some of the most critical needs of local employers, but we also provide access to jobs that provide a real income and opportunity for career growth.  Investment in middle-skill  job training pays incredible dividends to our community.”


Helping Detroit city residents obtain well-paying middle-skill jobs must be a regional workforce development priority. In order to meet employer demand, the report offers several strategic recommendations to address the skills gap:

  1. Develop a regional “master plan” to align regional workforce goals and outcomes to prepare Detroit residents for middle-skill occupations in high demand sectors.
  2. Encourage employers, educators and community-based organizations to collaborate by building an employer endorsed curriculum to effectively prepare residents to secure middle-skill industry occupations in the region.
  3. Align talent development investments by public, private and philanthropic stakeholders with industry focused vision and goals.

“Seizing the opportunities that high-demand, well-paying middle-skill jobs provide is critical to retooling the economic vitality and growth of southeast Michigan,” said James Jacobs, PhD, president, Macomb Community College. “We applaud JPMorgan Chase’s commitment to helping regional efforts in driving collaboration among business, industry and education to bolster a viable career pathways system and to providing resources to support the education and training necessary to improve the economic mobility of our residents.”

“We are extremely grateful for JPMorgan Chase's investment in Detroit, and in particular, the opportunity to contribute to this report for their New Skills at Work Initiative,” said Pamela Moore, President and CEO, Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation. “We can now better align partners and resources to address gaps, our underserved populations, expose and navigate young people and adults down pathways that lead to middle-skilled careers, and expand wrap-around services that will give Detroiters the supports most needed. The economic downturn is finally shifting and our success relies on our shared vision, sense of urgency, collaboration, and public-private investment.  These are very exciting times for Detroit.”


About the Skills Gap Report
JPMorgan Chase is releasing a series of skills gap report in nine metropolitan areas in the United States and four European countries. The reports draw from an array of data, including traditional and real-time labor market information and analysis from EMSI and Burning Glass Technologies, Inc. The reports focus on middle-skills occupation as defined by Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) based on aggregated data from over 90 federal, state and private sources and a multi-variable technique that includes three criteria: family-sustaining wages, recent employment growth, and employment size. Burning Glass provided real-time labor market demand information from online job postings by aggregating and analyzing code data from multiple classification and occupation databases. Jobs for the Future integrated EMSI and Burning Glass data with other data sources like the analysis of longitudinal Quarterly Workforce Indicators from the U.S. Census Bureau, to write the report.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.6 trillion and operations worldwide. The firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small business, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of consumers in the United States and many of the world’s most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at