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Forget white or blue, now there is a 'new collar' worker

Posted: 6:00 PM, Aug 01, 2017
Updated: 2017-08-01 18:20:59-04

For generations, people have been identified as a blue or white collar worker. 

But now, there is a major skills gap in many industries leaving companies scrambling to train, attract, and compensate an entire new category of employee. 

Mike Oppenheim is an example of this new type of worker. After graduating high school, he joined the Marines instead of going to college because he wanted to learn a skill he could use once he got out. He became a Signals Intelligence Marine, and is now working in the cyber-security division at IBM. 

Oppenheim is viewing and working on sensitive information without a degree. IBM Vice President David Barnes says that Oppenhiem is part of the company's campaign to hire "new collar" workers. 

So why are they called new collar? 

Barnes says because, "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, with analysts predicting that there will be 1.8 million unfilled positions in cyber-security by 2020. 

James Goodnow, co-author of Moving Millennials, says the skills gap isn't only in the high-tech world. "We also see it in healthcare, engineering, and manufacturing. 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.”