While a college degree is often regarded as a requirement for the 21st Century workforce, the type of college degree one attains can play an even bigger role in lifetime earnings. The difference in earning potential between someone with a high school degree and someone with a bachelor’s degree is upwards of a million dollars. Even greater is the $3.4 million difference between the highest and lowest earners with college degrees, thus proving that majors DO matter.

As the educational landscape evolved, United Way of Greater Los Angeles established the Los Angeles Regional Coalition for Linked Learning to actively promote curriculum that aligns students for college, career, and economic success. This unique coalition brings together educational professionals, businesses, and government entities to help create pathways for students that increase college completions and equip them for the workforce.

The Linked Learning approach combines rigorous academics, technical skills in the classroom, career and professional learning, and integrated student support systems.

It has the power to transform secondary education, create equitable access to college and career readiness for all students, and provide opportunities for students to imagine a broader future for themselves and to be prepared for entry-level positions in each industry.

Students deserve more than just diplomas. They deserve to graduate prepared for college and careers.

In an effort to guide students, educators and parents on the future careers tied to economic success in the workforce, the coalition released the Career Pathways and Economic Mobility report.

The report shows that many jobs require “some college” (an associate’s degree or certificate), pay middle-class wages, and look to be very stable in the coming decades. A well-intentioned year or two in a community college could have life-altering effects for a student, whether it be a newly graduated 18 year old or an adult returning to school.

Discover the industries expected to experience high-growth in the intermediate and longer-term future below.

1.         Education, Child Development, and Family Services are excellent industries for students hoping for long-term career growth because they offer a wide range of choices and experiences. L.A. County alone will need 6,000 teachers by 2024.

2.         A career in Finance and Business is also a promising path for students! The industry offers a large network of ready-and-willing industry partners for post-graduate opportunities. Courses that build financial recordkeeping and accounting skills will most usefully align to workforce needs. In-demand occupations in this industry include Accountants, Cost Estimators, and Personal Financial Advisors. Some jobs in this sector can even be fulfilled with just an Associate’s Degree, like Financial Clerks.

3.         Students exploring careers in Health Science and Medical Technology will find industry growth over the next decade (and likely beyond). Top occupations in this sector expected to grow in L.A. County by 2024 include Licensed Vocational Nurses and Medical Assistants. Over 40,000 new Dental Hygienists, requiring an associate’s degree, are needed by 2026 in the U.S.

4.         There has been an increased demand for Information and Communication Technologies professionals. The potential economic impact of this industry is expected to grow exponentially by 2024 with a number of occupations such as Computer/Information Systems Managers, Computer Network Architects, and Software Developers--which all have median salaries over $100k.

5.         The Building and Construction Trade industry will steadily grow in both the U.S. and L.A. County over the next decade with more and more buildings and infrastructure projects under construction. Carpenters, Construction Managers, Plumbers and Pipefitters are among the jobs expected to grow in L.A. County.

To read the full report, click here.