There's encouraging news for anyone looking for a job: more than 7,800 jobs will be available in Lancaster County between 2012 to 2022 for people who have science, technology, engineering or math skills.
At Harrisburg Area Community College's Lancaster campus, nursing is the most popular major with 450 students.
"And you have to be bright to be a nurse. I always say we need our best and our brightest," said Betsy Musser, Director or Nursing at HACC Lancaster.
Nurses are now held in even higher regard as part of the STEM skill set. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.
"It was scientists, it was high level engineers, it was chemists; people like that who have kind of that real high academic kind of background in terms of those particular fields," said Scott Sheely, Executive Director of the Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board.
But thanks to technology, that definition is broader and now includes nurses, carpenters, machinists, plumbers - just to name a few.
"Absolutely these are good jobs. But when you're stuck in the mindset that the only good jobs are ones that require four-year degrees, you're limiting your prospects. What we're trying to do is get people to open up, think a little more broadly," Sheely said.
That is good news for people who already have those skills or are willing to learn, like students at HACC Lancaster who are nursing their STEM skills.
"Jobs are opening. We have about a 92 percent placement for our grads when they graduate," Musser said.
Most STEM jobs require two years of school as opposed to a four-year degree. When they graduate STEM workers typically make bank.
"To first of all get 15, 20, 25 job offers. Secondly to end up getting a job that would probably be anywhere in the $40,000 to $60,000 range to start," said Sheely.
Some workers make even more. Over the next decade, Lancaster County will need more than 1,200 RN's. Their average wage is more than $30 an hour.
"What will happen is businesses that need skilled technicians are going to move to where the talent is. And if we can't provide that here in Central PA, we're gonna lose them," Sheely said.
Tuesday, September 16 2014 11:03 PM EDT2014-09-17 03:03:04 GMT
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