Starter Jobs Available, Degree Not Required, Says Study

May 31, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
26 promising jobs
A graphic from the Center for an Urban report "Now Hiring."(Courtesy of Center for an Urban Future)

NEW YORK—For many high-school and college dropouts, there are more possibilities beyond the McDonalds counter. According to a recent Center for an Urban Future study, many young New Yorkers are eligible for jobs with family-supporting salaries, they just don’t know it.

For many decent paying jobs a four-year degree is not necessary, only specialized training is required. But, filling out an application is not enough.

According to the study, mediums such as the Workforce1 Career Center and community-based organizations can play a major role in helping youth land careers. These organizations know where the openings are, what skill sets are required, and the corporations’ culture. They also prepare young workers to create their own resumes and go on interviews.

In the five boroughs there are around 172,000 youths—between the ages of 18 and 24—who are neither working nor in school, according to the report.

The report estimates 26,000 job openings every year for the next decade. Seven of the top 16 occupations with the most realistic and expected hiring are in New York City, according to the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL).

These are not jobs on the lower end of salary spectrum with little advancement opportunity.

The study lists sectors such as health care, telecommunications, and transportation as realistic, decent paying starter jobs for young New Yorkers.


The Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) position requires a 100-hour training program. LaGuardia Community College offers a 120-hour program and requires reading proficiency at a 10th-grade level and math proficiency at an eighth-grade level.

Starting salaries for CNAs range from $20,800 to $31,200. Experienced CNAs can earn as much as $37,400. In addition, CNAs with skills such in phlebotomy and administering
electrocardiograms can become patient care technicians (PCTs), whose starting salary is $33,400 to $37,400.

There “definitely is a career track” for CNAs, said Sherry Chorost, policy director of Healthcare Association of New York State.


According to Kathleen Duncan, regional director for talent acquisition at Time Warner Cable, the company sees an increased demand for cable installation. Time Warner Cable hired over 100 technicians in 2010.

“I am in constant contact with the recruitment people at Time Warner,” said Graciano Matos, an outreach employment coordinator in East Harlem.

Time Warner Cable stopped requiring high school diplomas for entry-level jobs last summer.

“We could not reasonably say that it is required to do an entry-level job,” Duncan said.

Brooklyn Workforce Innovations sponsors trainings for low-income and jobless people to become cable installers, starting their graduates at $12.09 per hour.


There are local commercial driver training programs, such as the Brooklyn Workforce Innovations’ Red Hook on the Road program providing specialized training. The program claims a 92 percent graduate placement rate. According to the program’s executive director, Aaron Shiffman, they train and place up to 300 graduates in driving positions annually at an average starting pay of $14.12 an hour.

“There are jobs. If someone wants a job, we can get them a job,” Shiffman said.

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