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Subject: The Skills Gap rss

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Andre
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https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2019/04/16/aging-a...

Short but on point article, about our deepest issues in the U.S., and I suspect it's only going to get bigger in the coming decades, namely, the lack of people to fill critical slots in not just infrastructure, but other industries as well (health, educational, scientific). I believe that our educational system has failed us to the point where it is no longer preparing youth to enter these industries running. And that is even harder to swallow, when the millennials unemployment rate is probably about double the national average at the moment. And, a huge part of the workforce in the near future will consist of millennials;

From https://www.kenan-flagler.unc.edu/executive-development/cust...

Quote:
By 2014, 36 percent of the U.S. workforce will be comprised of this generation and by 2020, nearly half (46 percent) of all U.S. workers will be Millennials (Lynch, 2008). By comparison, the generation before them, Generation X (or Gen Xers), represent only 16 percent of today's workforce.


America is growing younger (in terms of workforce), so one would think we should not have a problem. What can be done to marry people to jobs, so that both workers, and government can be happy with the results? Because as far as I can tell, it does not seem to be currently happening.
 
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Shawn Fox
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At some point in the past 20 or 30 years, businesses and government decided it was not their job to train their workers, instead they would only hire workers who were already qualified for the job. The solution is simple, start hiring unqualified workers and train them, just like businesses and government had to do 40 years ago with the baby boomers.
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Michael Carter
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Instead of majoring in a soft social science, learn a trade or learn to program. Electricians, pipe fitters, etc are making six figures right now.
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Josh
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mlcarter815 wrote:
Instead of majoring in a soft social science, learn a trade or learn to program. Electricians, pipe fitters, etc are making six figures right now.


Some are. Others are dead broke.
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Josh
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sfox wrote:
At some point in the past 20 or 30 years, businesses and government decided it was not their job to train their workers, instead they would only hire workers who were already qualified for the job. The solution is simple, start hiring unqualified workers and train them, just like businesses and government had to do 40 years ago with the baby boomers.


It comes down to the treatment of labor as a resource. Companies hire and fire workers the same way they buy pencils or bags of flour. Want it ready to go, use it up, throw it out. Investing in labor isn't a thing any more. It makes slightly less all of the money.
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mlcarter815 wrote:
Instead of majoring in a soft social science, learn a trade or learn to program. Electricians, pipe fitters, etc are making six figures right now.

Applied Physics is a soft social science now. Good to know.
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Michael Carter
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Shadrach wrote:
sfox wrote:
At some point in the past 20 or 30 years, businesses and government decided it was not their job to train their workers, instead they would only hire workers who were already qualified for the job. The solution is simple, start hiring unqualified workers and train them, just like businesses and government had to do 40 years ago with the baby boomers.


It comes down to the treatment of labor as a resource. Companies hire and fire workers the same way they buy pencils or bags of flour. Want it ready to go, use it up, throw it out. Investing in labor isn't a thing any more. It makes slightly less all of the money.


As a worker, I actually prefer it this way because I don't intend to work at the same company for 40 years. I get bored with a company after about five years and then it's time to make a change of scenery and learn something new.
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mlcarter815 wrote:
Shadrach wrote:
sfox wrote:
At some point in the past 20 or 30 years, businesses and government decided it was not their job to train their workers, instead they would only hire workers who were already qualified for the job. The solution is simple, start hiring unqualified workers and train them, just like businesses and government had to do 40 years ago with the baby boomers.


It comes down to the treatment of labor as a resource. Companies hire and fire workers the same way they buy pencils or bags of flour. Want it ready to go, use it up, throw it out. Investing in labor isn't a thing any more. It makes slightly less all of the money.


As a worker, I actually prefer it this way because I don't intend to work at the same company for 40 years. I get bored with a company after about five years and then it's time to make a change of scenery and learn something new.


I find that the problem is often I have to learn something new before I have the opportunity to change the scenery. The problem is even worse for high school students because frequently the burden is on them to determine what skills they need, find who teaches those skills, and make sound financial decisions about how to acquire those skills. That's really hard to do without knowing how the hiring process works. If they guess wrong at any step in that process they're stuck without the education they need.

My point is that high school students should not be driving the production side of the labor market. They don't know enough to make good decisions. If companies offered more guidance it would go a long way toward producing the kind of skilled workers they need for the jobs that are available. That could involve offering on-the-job training, going to college fairs, or endorsing specific programs of study.
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Jeff Saxton
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mlcarter815 wrote:
As a worker, I actually prefer it this way because I don't intend to work at the same company for 40 years. I get bored with a company after about five years and then it's time to make a change of scenery and learn something new.


Which attitude may explain why you're lamenting the low pay as a nurse?
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Josh
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mlcarter815 wrote:
Shadrach wrote:
sfox wrote:
At some point in the past 20 or 30 years, businesses and government decided it was not their job to train their workers, instead they would only hire workers who were already qualified for the job. The solution is simple, start hiring unqualified workers and train them, just like businesses and government had to do 40 years ago with the baby boomers.


It comes down to the treatment of labor as a resource. Companies hire and fire workers the same way they buy pencils or bags of flour. Want it ready to go, use it up, throw it out. Investing in labor isn't a thing any more. It makes slightly less all of the money.


As a workerwith a specific set of in demand skills that put me in a circumstance to make the option viable , I actually prefer it this way because I don't intend to work at the same company for 40 years. I get bored with a company after about five years and then it's time to make a change of scenery and learn something new. Of course I realize this option isn't available to all occupations and family plans and would nevef suggest my particular case is a good one to try to model an entire society's approach to labor on


Ftfy.
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Michael Carter
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Mack_me_Bucko wrote:
mlcarter815 wrote:
As a worker, I actually prefer it this way because I don't intend to work at the same company for 40 years. I get bored with a company after about five years and then it's time to make a change of scenery and learn something new.


Which attitude may explain why you're lamenting the low pay as a nurse?


I'm not a nurse, and I'm not lamenting their low pay. I have a lot of family who are nurses and I think they are paid commensurate to their skill level and work load. I think if sfox had his way, they wouldn't be paid what they are worth.

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Mark Hamzy
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sfox wrote:
At some point in the past 20 or 30 years, businesses and government decided it was not their job to train their workers, instead they would only hire workers who were already qualified for the job. The solution is simple, start hiring unqualified workers and train them, just like businesses and government had to do 40 years ago with the baby boomers.


I went from working at McDonald's to working as a contractor at IBM for OS/2 release 2.0. Sure, I had a college degree, but what I learned there was no help for what I needed to do. I knew nothing about operating systems, Intel assembly code, graphical APIs, printer drivers, rasterization, very large source control systems, build systems, or a billion other things. I had to train myself and survive in an environment where contractors could be fired at any time. I also have to constantly learn new things as computers continually reinvent themselves (ex: Linux, OpenStack, and now OpenShift).
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Walt
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mlcarter815 wrote:
Instead of majoring in a soft social science, learn a trade or learn to program. Electricians, pipe fitters, etc are making six figures right now.

For early earnings, yes, but long-term, liberal arts majors pull in a lot of money:

To be sure, liberal arts graduates earn less out of the gate. Princeton graduates with degrees in the humanities such as English, philosophy or foreign languages report earning an average $61,500 within five years or graduation, the most of any university. Yet after ten years or more of workplace experience, they typically earn an average of $134,100. Graduates of the Ivy League university who major in social sciences such as economics, history or anthropology are paid an average of $68,100 when starting their careers. But a decade after graduation, they typically earn $176,600.
--https://www.cbsnews.com/news/a-liberal-arts-degree-low-pay-n...

A good example is the computer game industry. Programmers are actually in the minority in a typical game team, and few become the producers who run the game teams. The art style of a game is a far more intricate than getting the dots on the screen to move around properly. And, of course, business majors are likely to be calling the shots.

A major need for workers is to be flexible. Not many years ago, being an auto mechanic was a pretty good gig. But regular service intervals keep getting longer, and cars keep getting more reliable. Electric cars have a fraction of the parts of ICE cars. More people fly on long trips instead of driving.

Think about all the people who were telephone repairmen, dealing with plain old telephone service phones (which never break), and running wires.

Anyone who wants to stop learning at 20 is doomed.
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Paul W
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I certainly agree that liberal arts majors from top schools have a skill set that can pull in a high salary... I wonder if that trend that applies to other schools, though.
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Jorge Montero
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Hard to take training tech workers seriously when they will provide negative value for a year or two, and then they can leave for a company that, instead of spending money on training, dedicates it all to trained workers.
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fizzmore wrote:
I certainly agree that liberal arts majors from top schools have a skill set that can pull in a high salary... I wonder if that trend that applies to other schools, though.

It seems to. Even studies from Census data, where Podunk College is the same as Harvard or Caltech, show much higher earnings from degree holders. And a lot, it's the industry you get into more than the field you study. Using an art degree to be a starving artist is different from using it to make video games. Using a math degree to be a math instructor is different from going to work for Google.

https://cew.georgetown.edu/wp-content/uploads/Exec-Summary-w... (PDF)
https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/02/11/study-income...

Part of the problem is that back-to-basics and education-to-take-tests are both bad policies. Basics are nice, but they're basic. Most freshmen at college write poorly, and often have to take a remedial English course. No college or job is going to give you a grade-school style test; test taking is a useless skill.
 
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The Georgetown paper is a much more reaistic range of saleries than the wages from top colleges story.

When looking wages you must also consider the massive drag of student debt and it's effect on net earnings and lost potential income from 4 years of college rather than four years of working.

Take this very real example - I was talking to HR directors from an advanced manufacturing plant this week. They are desperatly trying to recruit entry level workers. Starting pay is $15/he + shift differential + 4hrs a week overtime = starting pay of about $33,000 + 3% company input into 401k... so 34k to start at age 18. After 1 year the total goes up to around 40k. Then yearly increases.

Nearby we also have a decent liberal arts college with the actual average cost per year is $23,000 After grants and aid. So let's say $25k / year after fees and snacks and such.

So after four years the worker at the plant has made $160,000+. Our student has paid out $100,000. This means the college grad is a net $260,000 behind (not even accounting for interest on student loans and lost investment potential of that money).

Let's assume our student gets a teaching degree - locally the pay starts at $40,000 and goes up to 80,000ish for a 30 year teacher....

You see where I'm going with this. In the modern world everything is upside down. The plumbers and masons are the millionaires and the teachers and civil servants are in the poorhouse.
 
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Bill Cook
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Pretty much every skillz gap article is bullshit. Forgive me for not reading the one you posted - for all I know it may be the first one that is legit. But they almost always come down to two points:

- Companies not being willing to pay workers for their skills
- Companies not willing to pay to train worker

Of course, it's never stated that way. It's always an attack on the education system, lazy millennials, etc.
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abadolato01 wrote:
What can be done to marry people to jobs



I guess we'd want to start with repealing the 13th Amendment.
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abadolato01 wrote:
America is growing younger (in terms of workforce), so one would think we should not have a problem. What can be done to marry people to jobs, so that both workers, and government can be happy with the results? Because as far as I can tell, it does not seem to be currently happening.


I've moved around a fair bit in my career (longest stint at a company so far has been five years). Part of that is that I enjoy the excitement of new opportunities, new places, etc., but part of that is that I really don't lose anything by moving around (and indeed, in my experience, it has been the only way to gain material ground in terms of overall compensation).

Within the past few decades, American workers (at least those underneath a certain age) got a huge collective screw-over in terms of rewards for long-term company loyalty. Very few companies provide any sort of pension any longer, or if they do, it is substantially less attractive than the pensions of years gone by. Part of the way this screw-over was sold was that the replacement (generally a 401k match of some level), even though it amounted to a substantially smaller financial commitment from the employer to the employee, was 'portable.'

So, in my personal case, I've been able to move around and I never lose the 'equity' I'm building in some pension plan, because there is none. Whatever I put in my 401k, together with my employer's match, is mine to keep irrespective of whether I stay with the company long-term or not (though some require some minimal number of years of service, like 2 or 3, to vest in the employer contributed piece).

Some publicly-traded companies provide other 'long-term incentives' in the form of stock awards (RSUs, options, performance shares, etc.), but again those typically only have about a 3 year vesting horizon. Plus, if one moves from a public company to another public company, the new company will likely match the unvested portion of whatever awards you have (and will likely beat it, honestly). Maybe there is some point at which a current employer pays a person so much money and has granted them so much unvested equity that they are priced out of other employers poaching them, that just hasn't been my experience. Public companies are under continual pressure to demonstrate profit growth which pressures them to exacerbate the gap between what the workers make and what the shareholder return is, not the reverse.

At the point when some headhunter calls about a new opportunity and I find that I've got to leave a substantial amount of money on the table with my current employer, that's about the time that I'll feel more loyal to my employer, because I'll know that they value my services more than someone else. I've been in plenty of meetings where employers bemoan the rising generation's lack of 'loyalty' to an organization, but come on--it's not like these people are handing out long-term employment contracts. Virtually everything in the U.S. is 'at-will' meaning that my employer can kick me to the curb whenever they want and I've got no recourse unless I can prove the move violated some sort of anti-discrimination law. They'd have no hesitancy about doing so when the business cycle goes down.

Corporations want the same type of employee-employer loyalty that existed in days gone by, yet they want everyone to forget that they've systematically dismantled all the protections that were there when that loyalty was more bilateral. Employees now who are willing to offer unilateral loyalty to their employers are simply setting themselves up for future disappointment, in my experience.

At any rate, I've found the current setup motivates frequent moves by employees--when my future retirement is all my problem, I've got to maximize what I'm saving now (meaning I've got to maximize how much I'm making now so I have more to save), when means I need to constantly move to the best available deal. If I had some sort of financial commitment from my employer that they'd 'take care of me' if I gave them 40 years of my life, maybe that pressure would be alleviated to some extent.
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abadolato01 wrote:

What can be done to marry people to jobs, so that both workers, and government can be happy with the results? Because as far as I can tell, it does not seem to be currently happening.


Pay them.
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Altair IV wrote:
abadolato01 wrote:

What can be done to marry people to jobs, so that both workers, and government can be happy with the results? Because as far as I can tell, it does not seem to be currently happening.


Pay them.


Actually I think this isn't really true. I get paid livable wage but am by no means affluent. Not once have I thought 'more money is really what I want.' as a reason for leaving. Mostly it has been 'it would be nice to work for competent people who treat their workforce like human fucking beings... or at least change this bullshit getting in the way of my job for fresh bullshit.'

Increased pay increases the tolerance for bullshit and the ability to decompress outside of work, but qctual job satisfaction requires more effort than dollars.
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No Child Left Behind has left EVERY CHILD behind.

Karl Rove was a genius when he thought of this, who the fuck would be stupid enough to vote against a debilitating program for children with this name?

Connecting score testing with funding & job security....what the fuck!? Public education has failed with this "business" model. It was never meant to run as a business model.

When Sputnik went into orbit in the late 50's we, as Americans, were caught with our collective pants down and RUSSIAR (ya know, the ones our President asked if they were listening) were laughing their asses off at us.

This was the beginning of the end for public schools. We paniced needlessly and started slashing funds for everything but math & science school programs. Once we got the upper hand "they" (you know who) figured why not start slashing everything else.

Yes, those of us who voted for public school funding SLASHERS/HATERS aka GOP Politicians have failed us.


[edited: because when i'm mad i write like a caveman]
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Shadrach wrote:
Altair IV wrote:
abadolato01 wrote:

What can be done to marry people to jobs, so that both workers, and government can be happy with the results? Because as far as I can tell, it does not seem to be currently happening.


Pay them.


Mostly it has been 'it would be nice to work for competent people who treat their workforce like human fucking beings... or at least change this bullshit getting in the way of my job for fresh bullshit.'



The first indication you have an employer that values the labor and skills you bring to the table, like a real live human does, is being paid the value of those skills and labor.

Unfortunately for that to really work there have to be at least 4 parties. Two employees and two employers and all four have to know of all the others.
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aeroguru1978 wrote:
... If I had some sort of financial commitment from my employer that they'd 'take care of me' if I gave them 40 years of my life, maybe that pressure would be alleviated to some extent.

Except the corp is very likely to declare a convenient restructuring bankruptcy, and pensions aren't high on the list of things to pay. Or just go completely bankrupt like so many coal companies.

If you want a comfortable retirement, you need to put every dollar allowed into your 401k or IRA; and even then, you should spend much less than you make and invest the rest. At least investing is easier than ever: just keep buying S&P500 ETF shares, like VOO or SPY, at a discount broker.

Only once one has provided for the future should one buy luxuries like big screen TVs, new cars, iPhones, or huge cable bundles (hint: there's nothing worth watching on any of the channels).

(I agree with the rest of what you say, too.)
 
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