Training trends signal a middle-skill gap: A quantitative study of training dollars spent in Central Ohio

Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Professional Studies in Instructional Design Leadership (DPS)

Committee Chair

Michelle Geiman

Committee Member

Tonia Young-Babb

Committee Member

David Ni


This study aimed to identify if Central Ohio employers closed the middle-skill gap by investing in training. Middle-skill jobs are those that require at least one of the following: a month of On-the-Job training, previous work experience in a related occupation, an apprenticeship, a certification, and some college but not a 4-year degree (Young & Mattingly, 2016). A middle-skills gap existed in Central Ohio before the COVID-19 pandemic; the magnitude of the pandemic’s effect was unknown. This study analyzed the amount and type of training in US dollars spent for three years before the pandemic (2017- 2019) and then for the next three years during and after the pandemic (2020-2022). The data analysis answered the following research question: Is there a statistically significant relationship between the types of middle-skills training, which are apprenticeship, Classroom-Based, and On-the-Job, to dollars spent on training in Central Ohio for the years 2017- 2022? Due to the recent expansion by technology firms, such as Google, Amazon, and Meta in Central Ohio, the development of a highly skilled workforce is crucial to the success of economic growth both locally and globally (Swinhoe, 2022). While the analysis showed that dollars (measured in U. S. dollars) spent on training remained constant for On-the-Job, apprenticeship, and Classroom-Based in Central Ohio, with the increase in the need for middle-skill workers and the six years of the data the dollars should have increased. Thus, showing the lack of preparation for the training of middle-skill workers in Central Ohio.