Saturday, May 7, 2011

One for the "No SHIT Sherlock" File

For years I've been saying people are steering their kids toward 'careers' that are already too full and under payed. I told them, and I told MY kids to go toward trades and particularly, trades where they can wind up working for themselves. Along those lines, working in industry or factory settings with a nod toward math, or science.
Here's my question for Americans. IF all our kids get college degrees and work in corner offices, who will build our homes, planes, trains and automobiles. Who will repair those things and do all the other stuff that guys with corner offices won't or CAN'T do?
Here's an article from the WSJ, about high tech manufacturing and a lack of qualified operators. I don't agree with ALL the statements in this article, but it make some really good points.
Help Wanted on Factory Floor
U.S. manufacturing companies, long known for layoffs and shipping jobs overseas, now find themselves in a very different position: scrambling for scarce talent at home.

Large and small manufacturers of everything from machine tools to chemicals are scouring for potential hires in high schools, community colleges and the military. They are poaching from one another, retraining people who used to have white-collar jobs, and in some cases even hiring former prisoners who learned machinist skills behind bars.
Even with unemployment near 9%, manufacturers are struggling to find enough skilled workers because of a confluence of three trends.

First, after falling for more than a decade, the number of U.S. manufacturing jobs is growing modestly, with manufacturers adding 25,000 workers in April, the seventh straight month of gains, according to payroll firm Automatic Data Processing Inc. and consultancy Macroeconomic Advisers. The Labor Department's jobs report on Friday is expected to show moderate employment growth in the overall economy.

Second, baby-boomer retirements are starting to sap factories of their most experienced workers. An estimated 2.7 million U.S. manufacturing employees, or nearly a quarter of the total, are 55 or older.

Third, the U.S. education system isn't turning out enough people with the math and science skills needed to operate and repair sophisticated computer-controlled factory equipment, jobs that often pay $50,000 to $80,000 a year, plus benefits. Manufacturers say parents and guidance counselors discourage bright kids from even considering careers in manufacturing.

"We get people coming in here all the time who say, 'I can weld,'" says Denis Gimbel, human-resources manager at Lehigh Heavy Forge Corp., of Bethlehem, Pa., whose products include parts for ships. "Well, my grandmother could weld." He needs people who understand the intricacies of $1 million lathes and other metal-shaping equipment.

My younger son is going to school now, for auto mechanics. He's also taking some welding classes. His welding instructor was telling him to SKIP the auto thing and just get his welding cert.
Welders are making $40K to $50K a year right now with 3 yrs experience. Hell, that's more than Mrs. Schteveo was making after the Dot.Com bubble burst and she changed jobs three times. AND there are more jobs than workers in trades.
And it's due to stay that way for years and years.


Spider said...

Funny, i heard this very question discussed this morning on some news show. They said we're going to see a generation of unemployed degree holders, with none of them knowing how to fix anything. Sad, but true.

Player said...

Spider said...

This might help explain.

Schteveo said...

that assumes a society where the machines ARE running without human help. We've got machines that need human help and people are either too dumb to run them, or to self-importantly degree'd to WANT that kind of job.

Spider, If the Post had talked to people wit real life work degrees. I'd have felt better. History and Poli Sci? Music? All; they were ever gonna do was wind up teaching other idiots those subjects. The most important line there was, " either get a job or create a job..."

I think we're reverting back to smaller and smaller companies or employers with fewer workers. More like the guild system sized shops of 5 to 10 people.

GM and Boeing will still exist, but, even now, they do almost the same amount of work with fewer employees. But they have the same problems as the companies mentioned in my original link.

The college kids don't want a 'manufacturing' job, and the other kids just aren't smart enough or didn't get any training to help get those jobs.

I still blame mommy, daddy, and the school system for steering everyone to college. And I'll tell you who is REALLY to blame.

Lyndon Johnson.

Can anyone tell me WHY he's at the root of the 'college guys are better' thinking?

alan said...

I turned in my rough draft this morning for my master's thesis (history) two weeks of school left until I have my 2nd masters.
I have a BS in Aeronautics
an MBA in Accounting
an MA in history......

I fly an EMS helicopter for a living.

so yes, my degrees are wasted, I got them because I was interested in the subject. No question about it, kids have been brainwashed into thinking that the corner office is the first step of a career and $80k is a decent starting wage.
On the other hand, a ditch digger with a backhoe is now making $60/hour

I think we are coming full circle. the tech bubble has burst and people realize that not everyone can make money off of service. Eventually we actually have to produce a tangible product.

Player said...

The engineers must make sure the machines are functioning.

Schteveo said...

But alan, you ALSO have marketable skills. The guy who has JUST a History Degree is screwed.

player, you do NOT need engineers to make eqpt run!! It takes engineers to ensure a design, or for new designs, (SOMETIMES) but many of us non-engineer types have spent our lives keeping the eqpt running.

Go back and look. 75 or 100 years ago we didn't 'need' engineers on every corner. We had smart people good with their minds and hands.

The 17th, 18th, 19th and first half of the 20th century were quite literally built by men with NO engineering 'degree'.