We have more jobs than we can fill, but they are mismatched to the skills our job seekers have.

Listen to Johnetta's Story

Let's Break It Down

The metro has unfilled positions, but a significant pool of potential workers don't have access to those jobs.

According to the Dept of Labor in 2017, there were an estimated monthly average of 28,154 online job openings and 14,272 people were unemployed. The most frequently advertised jobs were within administrative positions and health care. The persistence of job vacancies during times of higher unemployment may indicate a mismatch between the skills required to do a job and the skills available among the pool of workers.

Since 2008, the percentage of jobs available that require a high school diploma or less went up as the percentage of jobs that require a college degree went down. According to Accelerate Nebraska, 76% of jobs in 2022 are projected to require an associate's degree or less. While a college degree may not be the only path to a successful career, most livable wage jobs require at least some type of training or vocational program, if not a formal degree. We also know that individuals with a high school degree make $6,000 less annually than people with some college or an associate's degree, and $16,000 less than those who hold a Bachelor's degree.

Understanding what jobs are available and what is needed to access those jobs complex, but a significant economic opportunity for our community. Measuring a possible skills gap will require:

  • Local leaders and employers understanding the skills needed for today's job market
  • Creating standards that measure workers' skills and match them to wages, especially in new technology jobs
  • Investment in training, transportation, and new management practices that fit the needs of our community's pool of workers.

Why Does It Matter?

Local job seekers face barriers to employment.

Opportunity and access to both new and available jobs is critical for our economy. Job access means there are employment opportunities available that provide a livable wageyet there are often obstacles that prevent qualified job seekers from having access to any number of job opportunities. Education and training are some of many potential barriers to employment. If a person lacks the right educational background or skill set, they can be excluded from available job opportunities. Additionally, if someone has an arrest record, they may struggle to find a job, regardless of education. 

Not having access to safe, reliable transportation also creates a barrier to employment. According to a MAPA Metro Area Travel Improvement Study, less than half (45%) of all jobs in the metro are within 1/4 of a mile of a bus stop. They project that percentage would decrease to 40% of jobs by 2040. Lacking access to safe and affordable childcare also creates challenges for accessing jobs.

How Do We Compare?

Our region is projected to have slower growth in high skilled jobs compared to the country overall.

In 2016, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics completed projections for the fastest growing occupations. In the top 20 occupations, about 1 of 3 required less than an associate's degree and 3 out of 4 required a associate's degree or higher. The opposite is projected to be true locally. More local data is needed to understand how we compare with other communities around other employment barriers.

Data Source:  Nebraska Bureau of Labor Statistics, MAPA Metro Area Travel Improvement Study, National Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, US Census American Community Survey 2012-2016 5-year Estimates Table B20004. 2011-2015 Metro Area-to-Metro Area Migration Flows, American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, provided by UNO Center for Public Affairs Research


Tell us what matters to you and share your experience.

add your voice

Connect with an organization working in this area.

Find a Nonprofit

Be an active and engaged community member.

Get Involved

Share this Workforce Indicator:

The Landscape | A data-driven reflection of the Omaha-Council Bluffs area.
Learn More: Demographics FAQs
Omaha Community Foundation
302 South 36th Street Suite 100 Omaha, NE 68131