L.A. & Orange County Community Colleges: Powering Economic Opportunity

The data behind LA and Orange County community colleges’ opportunity to strengthen the region’s economic future.

The mission of the Center for a Competitive Workforce is to support industry-informed education and workforce programs and curricula across the Los Angeles Basin talent development systems with the goal to train, educate and upskill residents for the knowledge-intensive industries that will come to dominate our economic future.

Introduction

The Los Angeles Basin has a strong foundation for economic and employment growth. In recent years, our region has become a hub for emerging industries and new work models that have and will continue to fuel future job growth.

While the LA Basin has the advantage of an integrated talent development network, new growing industries require higher levels of educational attainment and specialized skills.

The Center for a Competitive Workforce has produced a report analyzing 20 middle-skills occupations for which community colleges offer degree and certificate programs. The occupations are employed by six key industries with a competitive advantage in the greater Los Angeles region. Read highlights of the report below, or download the full report PDF.

Labor Market

The California Community College system is the largest talent development organization in the state for middle-skills jobs, which represent more than half of all jobs in the nation. Middle-skills jobs are particularly relevant to community colleges because they typically require some college coursework, but less than a bachelor’s degree. There is an opportunity to prepare California’s future workforce through the synergy between community colleges and regional economy leaders.

Middle-skills jobs can be highly technical and have great potential to lift individuals out of poverty by paying strong starting wages. They typically require educational preparation that can be completed in a few years, such as an industry recognized credential, associate degree, apprenticeship or on-the-job training.

In the Los Angeles Basin, there will be approximately 67,450 job openings over the next five years for the twenty target middle-skills occupations identified below. However, there is looming gap in the supply of skilled workers to enter these job openings.

According to the latest data available, there were fewer than 27,000 career education award earners in the Los Angeles Basin with about 7,800 awards conferred in programs training for the 20 target occupations. If this trend continues, the community colleges will be on track to provide 58% of the demand in the region over the next five years.

Target Industries

Six target industries with promising middle-skills potential and a competitive advantage in the LA Basin are shown on the chart below.

An estimated 55,725 total openings for middle-skills jobs within these six target industries are expected over the five-year period of 2016 through 2021.

For more information on how these target industries were selected, download the full report.

Target Occupations

The Los Angeles Basin’s reservoir of educational institutions and deep talent pools provide a significant advantage, as success in the 21st century labor market requires higher levels of educational attainment and more specialized and in-demand skills than ever before.

The region’s seemingly strong job growth is not entirely positive because many of the new jobs created are low-wage, low-skill, highly-routine positions that are vulnerable to automation and without significant opportunities for career advancement.

Target industry clusters such as information technology (IT), biopharmaceuticals and medical devices depend on workers with highly specialized skillsets. A lack of workers with relevant skills could make the region a less attractive business environment for important growth industries.

 

For more information on how these target occupations were selected, download the full report.

Supply/Demand Analysis

Employment opportunities in middle-skills jobs are growing. While there have been concerns in recent years that a shortage of skilled workers to fill middle-skills jobs could hamper future economic growth, there is an opportunity for greater industry alignment to grow career education programs that provide the skills needed to access well-paying jobs and careers.

Select any of the cards below to view key stats about each of the 20 target middle-skills occupations, including 2016 employment by county, annual job openings, and community college awards conferred.

All
Occupation Cluster
Healthcare Support
Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media
Computer and Mathematical
Construction and Extraction
Healthcare Practitioners and Technical
Installation, Maintenance, and Repair
Management
Office and Administrative Support
Production

Transportation, Storage and Distribution Managers

Transportation, Storage and Distribution Managers
Plan, direct, or coordinate transportation, storage, or distribution activities in accordance with organizational policies and applicable government laws or regulations.
$42.67
Average Hourly Earnings

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data. County subtotal estimates may not add up due to rounding.

1,320
Projected 5-Year Openings
1,010LA County
310Orange County
6,210
2016 Employment
4,780LA County
1,430Orange County

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data.

Web Developers

Web Developers
Design, create, and modify Web sites. Analyze user needs to implement Web site content, graphics, performance, and capacity. May integrate Web sites with other computer applications.
$27.11
Average Hourly Earnings

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data. County subtotal estimates may not add up due to rounding.

1,780
Projected 5-Year Openings
1,190LA County
590Orange County
8,670
2016 Employment
6,110LA County
2,560Orange County

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data.

Computer User Support Specialists

Computer User Support Specialists
Provide technical assistance to computer users. Answer questions or resolve computer problems for clients in person, or via telephone or electronically.
$27.40
Average Hourly Earnings

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data. County subtotal estimates may not add up due to rounding.

3,870
Projected 5-Year Openings
2,820LA County
1,050Orange County
23,500
2016 Employment
16,700LA County
6,800Orange County

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data.

Fashion Designers

Fashion Designers
Design clothing and accessories. Create original designs or adapt fashion trends.
$31.70
Average Hourly Earnings

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data. County subtotal estimates may not add up due to rounding.

760
Projected 5-Year Openings
680LA County
80Orange County
5,270
2016 Employment
4570LA County
700Orange County

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data.

Graphic Designers

Graphic Designers
Design or create graphics to meet specific commercial or promotional needs, such as packaging, displays, or logos. May use a variety of mediums to achieve artistic or decorative effects.
$21.28
Average Hourly Earnings

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data. County subtotal estimates may not add up due to rounding.

2,411
Projected 5-Year Openings
1,770LA County
640Orange County
12,650
2016 Employment
9,470LA County
3,180Orange County

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data.

Audio and Video Equipment Technicians

Audio and Video Equipment Technicians
Set up and operate audio and video equipment including microphones, sound speakers, video screens, projectors, video monitors, recording equipment, connecting wires and cables, sound and mixing boards, and related electronic equipment.
$22.49
Average Hourly Earnings

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data. County subtotal estimates may not add up due to rounding.

1,880
Projected 5-Year Openings
1,710LA County
170Orange County
10,710
2016 Employment
9,780LA County
930Orange County

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data.

Film and Video Editors

Film and Video Editors
Edit moving images on film, video, or other media. May edit or synchronize soundtracks with images.
$32.37
Average Hourly Earnings

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data. County subtotal estimates may not add up due to rounding.

1,070
Projected 5-Year Openings
1,060LA County
10Orange County
12,590
2016 Employment
12,460LA County
130Orange County

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data.

Registered Nurses

Registered Nurses
Assess patient health problems and needs, develop and implement nursing care plans, and maintain medical records. Administer nursing care to ill, injured, convalescent, or disabled patients.
$45.16
Average Hourly Earnings

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data. County subtotal estimates may not add up due to rounding.

18,470
Projected 5-Year Openings
14,640LA County
3,830Orange County
102,750
2016 Employment
81,620LA County
21,130Orange County

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data.

Licensed Vocational Nurses

Licensed Vocational Nurses
Care for ill, injured, or convalescing patients or persons with disabilities in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, private homes, group homes, and similar institutions.
$24.04
Average Hourly Earnings

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data. County subtotal estimates may not add up due to rounding.

5,220
Projected 5-Year Openings
3,750LA County
1,470Orange County
28,170
2016 Employment
20,400LA County
7,770Orange County

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data.

Nursing Assistants

Nursing Assistants
Provide basic patient care under direction of nursing staff. Perform duties such as feed, bathe, dress, groom, or move patients, or change linens.
$14.04
Average Hourly Earnings

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data. County subtotal estimates may not add up due to rounding.

6,540
Projected 5-Year Openings
5,220LA County
1,320Orange County
42,070
2016 Employment
34,240LA County
7,830Orange County

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data.

Bookkeeping, Accounting and Auditing Clerks

Bookkeeping, Accounting and Auditing Clerks
Compute, classify, and record numerical data to keep financial records complete.
$20.78
Average Hourly Earnings

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data. County subtotal estimates may not add up due to rounding.

3,920
Projected 5-Year Openings
2,710LA County
1,210Orange County
76,510
2016 Employment
57,240LA County
19,270Orange County

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data.

Payroll and Timekeeping Clerks

Payroll and Timekeeping Clerks
Compile and record employee time and payroll data. May compute employees’ time worked, production, and commission. May compute and post wages and deductions, or prepare paychecks.
$21.85
Average Hourly Earnings

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data. County subtotal estimates may not add up due to rounding.

1,900
Projected 5-Year Openings
1,300LA County
600Orange County
9,220
2016 Employment
6,690LA County
2,530Orange County

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data.

Production, Planning and Expediting Clerks

Production, Planning and Expediting Clerks
Compile information and records to draw up purchase orders for procurement of materials and services.
$21.82
Average Hourly Earnings

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data. County subtotal estimates may not add up due to rounding.

4,610
Projected 5-Year Openings
3,510LA County
1,100Orange County
23,100
2016 Employment
18,070LA County
5,030Orange County

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data.

Electricians

Electricians
Install, maintain, and repair electrical wiring, equipment, and fixtures. Ensure that work is in accordance with relevant codes.
$26.57
Average Hourly Earnings

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data. County subtotal estimates may not add up due to rounding.

2,980
Projected 5-Year Openings
1,720LA County
1,260Orange County
17,180
2016 Employment
10,800LA County
6,380Orange County

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data.

Aircraft Mechanics and Service Technicians

Aircraft Mechanics and Service Technicians

Aircraft Mechanics and Service Technicians
Diagnose, adjust, repair, or overhaul aircraft engines and assemblies, such as hydraulic and pneumatic systems.
$28.50
Average Hourly Earnings

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data. County subtotal estimates may not add up due to rounding.

650
Projected 5-Year Openings
550LA County
100Orange County
5,260
2016 Employment
4,430LA County
830Orange County

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data.

Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanics, Except Engines

Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanics, Except Engines
Diagnose, adjust, repair, or overhaul mobile mechanical, hydraulic, and pneumatic equipment, such as cranes, bulldozers, graders, and conveyors, used in construction, logging, and surface mining.
$28.14
Average Hourly Earnings

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data. County subtotal estimates may not add up due to rounding.

880
Projected 5-Year Openings
710LA County
170Orange County
3,810
2016 Employment
2,990LA County
820Orange County

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data.

Industrial Machinery Mechanics

Industrial Machinery Mechanics
Repair, install, adjust, or maintain industrial production and processing machinery or refinery and pipeline distribution systems.
$25.70
Average Hourly Earnings

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data. County subtotal estimates may not add up due to rounding.

1,680
Projected 5-Year Openings
1,240LA County
440Orange County
7,810
2016 Employment
5,830LA County
1,980Orange County

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data.

Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic

Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic
Operate computer-controlled machines or robots to perform one or more machine functions on metal or plastic work pieces.
$16.31
Average Hourly Earnings

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data. County subtotal estimates may not add up due to rounding.

1,490
Projected 5-Year Openings
1,020LA County
470Orange County
6,610
2016 Employment
4,520LA County
2,090Orange County

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data.

Welders, Cutters, Solderers and Brazers

Welders, Cutters, Solderers and Brazers
Use hand-welding, flamecutting, hand soldering, or brazing equipment to weld or join metal components or to fill holes, indentations, or seams of fabricated metal products.
$16.88
Average Hourly Earnings

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data. County subtotal estimates may not add up due to rounding.

2,160
Projected 5-Year Openings
1,480LA County
680Orange County
9,610
2016 Employment
6,470LA County
3,140Orange County

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data.

Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers and Weighers

Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers and Weighers
Inspect, test, sort, sample, or weigh nonagricultural raw materials or processed, machined, fabricated, or assembled parts or products for defects, wear, and deviations from specifications.
$18.26
Average Hourly Earnings

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data. County subtotal estimates may not add up due to rounding.

3,840
Projected 5-Year Openings
2,560LA County
1,280Orange County
22,380
2016 Employment
15,100LA County
7,280Orange County

Annual Openings based on projected openings from 2016-2021. Awards Conferred based on 2015-2016 Community College data.

Summary of Findings

If current trends continue, the LA Basin is likely to see a deficit in talent to fill the 67,450 projected job openings in these target middle-skills occupations in the next five years.If this trend continues, community college supply will fall short of projected demand in these 20 occupations by 42 percent.

However, the community college system in LA County and Orange County is in a strong position to bridge this gap.

776,000

The system serves 776,000 students

523,000+

including 523,000+ career education students

200+

with 200+ career education programs

28

across 28 community colleges

The region’s community colleges are uniquely suited to train, educate, and upskill the LA Basin’s workforce of the future – but must work closely with industry leaders to ensure that middle-skills talent can keep up with growing demand.