The answer to America’s working class job crisis is hard, but not mysterious

Antonio Blanc, a senior at Malden High School, knows the risk of being left behind.

He’s struggled to keep up at school, distracted by family instability and the part-time kitchen jobs he needs to pay the bills now he’s living alone. His plan after graduation is to enroll in a technical college and get a certificate in precision machinery.

“I want to learn a skill, something I can do when I’m done with school,” he says.

For students like Mr. Blanc, that step of education beyond high school holds the hope of a better life. For America, it could be the key to an economy that better serves the middle-skill workers who feel their futures are closing in front of them.

Their plight proved a major factor in the recent election, with Rust Belt states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin tilting to Donald Trump, who promised a renaissance of blue-collar jobs. But the contours of the United States labor market have long been clear. America is not going to see a major resurgence of the factory jobs that have fled to China or Mexico. The jobs of the future will be higher-value jobs, and the path to that prosperity will come through education.

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