Access student activities associated with Teaching Tips 2.0 here.


A Federal Reserve System initiative called “opportunity occupations” examines the impact of jobs that don’t require a four-year college degree, yet typically pay above the national annual median wage. The research conducted shows that opportunity occupations not only are an important part of the nation’s economy, but many careers in that employment sector are poised for solid growth. Access to more information about the initiative can be found at External LinkInvesting In America’s Workforce: Opportunity Occupations.

This resource allows teachers to show students differing opportunities after high school graduation. Teaching Tips 2.0 gives students the opportunity to research, familiarize, and reveal career paths that might interest them that might not have been there before. Within this resource contains financial data on numerous occupations, pathways within a career path and multiple examples of successful individuals that don't have a college degree.

Reading Synopsis

The article, Opportunity Occupations: Good Pay; No Degree Required, cites opportunity occupations as a viable alternative to a four-year degree. It discusses research conducted by Fed economists that demonstrates the benefits of pursuing skilled trade careers, including decent pay, anticipated job growth, reductions in brain drain and opportunities for continuing education. Perspectives from both employees and employers are highlighted, as well as trends related to student loan debt and the rising cost of college.

This article is featured in the Spring 2020 edition of TEN Magazine.

Video Synopses

External LinkOpportunity Occupations: Joining the Workforce

(running time - 6:15)

This video features an overview of the Federal Reserve Bank’s Opportunity Occupations Revisited research and why these jobs are important to the economy and prospective workers. A personal perspective is also included, based on Jaime Pearson, who looked to join the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom with no previous work experience so she could help to financially support her family.

External LinkFinancial Innovations Roundtable: Investing in Workforce Development Is Investing in People

(running time – 3:23)

This video highlights the need to combine financing with workforce development initiatives, as well as how workforce development policies have traditionally been detrimental to those who are poor. It addresses how financial support within a community gives these individuals greater opportunity to find well-paying jobs and to become more financially independent and economically mobile.    

Additional Resources