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Employers hiring for 'new collar' jobs

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Today, there’s a major skills gap in many industries. So, companies are scrambling to attract, train and compensate a whole new category of employee. That means a new kind of collar and new opportunities. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Today, there’s a major skills gap in many industries. So, companies are scrambling to attract, train and compensate a whole new category of employee. That means a new kind of collar and new opportunities. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

For generations, people have basically been divvied up into two categories when it comes to their jobs: blue collar or white collar.

Today, there’s a major skills gap in many industries. So, companies are scrambling to attract, train and compensate a whole new category of employee. That means a new kind of collar and new opportunities.

After high school, Mike Oppenheim proudly picked the marines over college, but he wanted to learn a skill he could use once he got out.

“I was a Signals Intelligence Marine,” he says.

Fast forward a few years and Oppenheim is working in the cybersecurity division at IBM, explaining, “Some of the most exciting things that we work on is just really trying to stay on top of what different threat actors are doing, how they're actually changing, ya know, the ways that they target networks.”

Mike’s working on sensitive information ---without a degree. IBM VP David Barnes says Mike is part of the company’s campaign to hire ‘new collar’ workers.

“Why do we call them new collar,” says Barnes. “Well, they’re not blue collar and they're not white collar. We're looking for people with the right mix of skills and a willingness to learn.”

And the company is willing to teach because analysts predict 1.8 million unfilled positions in cybersecurity by the year 2022.

IBM has initiatives with the military and is helping to develop specialized tech school programs. There is a new campaign to reach out to community colleges and motivated people with a high school degree are welcome too.

IBM is not alone.

“Right now, we see a skills gap not only in the high-tech world, but we also see it in healthcare, engineering and manufacturing,” according to James Goodnow, co-author of Motivating Millennials.

He says new collar jobs are booming because baby boomers are retiring in larger numbers than young adults are getting degrees in specific fields.

“What we see is not only a skills gap taking place right now but a skills gap crisis, and smart businesses realize that they have to create the next generation of worker.”

Oppenheim is happy to be part of the next generation. He believes while college is right for many, the skills he has learned are more important than any piece of paper could ever be.

He says, “I would say for ‘new collar’, you know, it's trying to take nontraditional paths in order to get where you want to be in your career.”

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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

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Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

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He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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