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The skill gap

Posted by on Mar. 22, 2013 at 5:47 PM
  • 23 Replies
Employing America Home Mediaplanet Download the Full Report Skilled Labor Empowering America s Tradesmen Empowering America's Tradesmen Mike Rowe, TV Host of Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs, tackles his dirtiest job of all – closing the skilled labor gap and getting America back to work There appears to be a surplus of jobs waiting to be filled – from auto mechanics to welders – and not enough people trained to fill them. Yet our unemployment rate continues to hover around 9 percent and America's jobless are getting increasingly frustrated and scared. Meet what has become known as “the skills gap” – the space between the plethora of challenging, rewarding, high paying careers in skilled labor waiting to be filled, and a lack of trained professionals ready to fill them. Dirty Jobs is not really a show about dirt. It’s a show about people, and over the years I’ve learned a lot from people that wake up clean and go home dirty. I have learned for instance, that a single fire ant can bite you multiple times, especially in places where a man does not wish to be bitten. I’ve learned that widths are more hazardous than heights, and that short cuts lead to long delays. I’ve also learned that a good plumber is now more expensive than a good shrink, and a lot harder to find. This whole Skills Gap thing is real, and it’s getting bigger every day. In Alabama, half the skilled workforce is north of fifty, and retiring fast. For every four workers that leave, only one enters to replace them. And according to a 60 Minutes story last month, there are now three million skilled jobs that American companies simply cannot fill. Three million. What’s up with that? Finding Solutions I’m not qualified to offer a solution. I'm just a TV Host. On cable. But I can tell you that my biggest revelation on Dirty Jobs was seeing firsthand the degree to which our country has become disconnected from skilled labor. Again and again, in all 50 states, I've heard the same thing from hundreds of workers. They all talk of a "disconnect" between the work they do, and the society that benefits from it. I think maybe they’re on to something. Consider what we reward in our culture today. American Idol is still the number one show on television. The Four Hour Work Week is still a national bestseller. Vocational training classes have evaporated from our high schools, and careers that don’t require a 4-year degree are now considered “alternative." We have actively discouraged an entire generation of students from working with their hands, and turned a whole category of viable careers into “vocational consolation prizes.” I hate to sound like a scold, but really, is it any wonder that our kids aren’t lining up to learn a useful skill? Closing the Gap The Skills Gap is not a mystery; it’s a reflection of what we value. And if we're serious about closing the gap, we need to reconnect with that part of our workforce. We need to reinvigorate the trades. We need to confront the stigmas and stereotypes associated with skilled labor, and let go of this absurd belief that a four-year degree is the only viable way to acquire useful knowledge. Twelve million unemployed Americans is a scary thing. But three million available jobs that can’t be filled…well, that’s really scary. Because that means we’re not dealing with a lack of opportunity. We’re dealing with a lack of desire. Skilled labor needs a PR campaign. A big one. Because closing The Skills Gap is not about creating jobs. The jobs are already there. It's about our preserving our infrastructure, expanding our manufacturing base, enhancing our ability to compete globally, and bolstering our national security. If you share my addiction to paved roads, affordable energy, cheap food, and indoor plumbing, you should also share my concern. Because this whole Skills Gap thing is real. And the first step is a doozy. -Mike Rowe

How far you go in life depends on your being: tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of both the weak and strong.  Because someday in life you would have been one or all of these.  GeorgeWashingtonCarver


by on Mar. 22, 2013 at 5:47 PM
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survivorinohio
by René on Mar. 22, 2013 at 5:48 PM
1 mom liked this

More readable lol

Employing America


Skilled Labor

Empowering America s Tradesmen

Empowering America's Tradesmen

Mike Rowe, TV Host of Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs, tackles his dirtiest job of all – closing the skilled labor gap and getting America back to work

There appears to be a surplus of jobs waiting to be filled – from auto mechanics to welders – and not enough people trained to fill them. Yet our unemployment rate continues to hover around 9 percent and America's jobless are getting increasingly frustrated and scared. Meet what has become known as “the skills gap” – the space between the plethora of challenging, rewarding, high paying careers in skilled labor waiting to be filled, and a lack of trained professionals ready to fill them.

Dirty Jobs is not really a show about dirt. It’s a show about people, and over the years I’ve learned a lot from people that wake up clean and go home dirty. I have learned for instance, that a single fire ant can bite you multiple times, especially in places where a man does not wish to be bitten. I’ve learned that widths are more hazardous than heights, and that short cuts lead to long delays. I’ve also learned that a good plumber is now more expensive than a good shrink, and a lot harder to find. 

This whole Skills Gap thing is real, and it’s getting bigger every day. In Alabama, half the skilled workforce is north of fifty, and retiring fast. For every four workers that leave, only one enters to replace them. And according to a 60 Minutes story last month, there are now three million skilled jobs that American companies simply cannot fill. Three million. What’s up with that?

Finding Solutions

I’m not qualified to offer a solution. I'm just a TV Host. On cable. But I can tell you that my biggest revelation on Dirty Jobs was seeing firsthand the degree to which our country has become disconnected from skilled labor. Again and again, in all 50 states, I've heard the same thing from hundreds of workers. They all talk of a "disconnect" between the work they do, and the society that benefits from it. I think maybe they’re on to something.

Consider what we reward in our culture today. American Idol is still the number one show on television. The Four Hour Work Week is still a national bestseller. Vocational training classes have evaporated from our high schools, and careers that don’t require a 4-year degree are now considered “alternative." We have actively discouraged an entire generation of students from working with their hands, and turned a whole category of viable careers into “vocational consolation prizes.” I hate to sound like a scold, but really, is it any wonder that our kids aren’t lining up to learn a useful skill?

Closing the Gap

The Skills Gap is not a mystery; it’s a reflection of what we value. And if we're serious about closing the gap, we need to reconnect with that part of our workforce. We need to reinvigorate the trades. We need to confront the stigmas and stereotypes associated with skilled labor, and let go of this absurd belief that a four-year degree is the only viable way to acquire useful knowledge.

Twelve million unemployed Americans is a scary thing. But three million available jobs that can’t be filled…well, that’s really scary. Because that means we’re not dealing with a lack of opportunity. We’re dealing with a lack of desire.

Skilled labor needs a PR campaign. A big one. Because closing The Skills Gap is not about creating jobs. The jobs are already there.  It's about our preserving our infrastructure, expanding our manufacturing base, enhancing our ability to compete globally, and bolstering our national security. If you share my addiction to paved roads, affordable energy, cheap food, and indoor plumbing, you should also share my concern.

Because this whole Skills Gap thing is real. And the first step is a doozy.

-Mike Rowe

OHgirlinCA
by on Mar. 22, 2013 at 5:54 PM

BUMP!

eema.gray
by on Mar. 22, 2013 at 6:00 PM
4 moms liked this
Agree with him completely. I think it is terrible that children are so strongly encouraged towards 4 year degrees that skilled labor is seen as something for those who can't hack it in a B.S./B.A. degree.
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survivorinohio
by René on Mar. 22, 2013 at 6:09 PM
3 moms liked this

I agree.  My son is in the trades, roofing and the trades hold little value for some people.  Someone here on cm once told me that he should have gone to school if he wanted a living wage.  I think roofers are valuable as are plumbers, framers and drywallers.

Quoting eema.gray:

Agree with him completely. I think it is terrible that children are so strongly encouraged towards 4 year degrees that skilled labor is seen as something for those who can't hack it in a B.S./B.A. degree.


How far you go in life depends on your being: tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of both the weak and strong.  Because someday in life you would have been one or all of these.  GeorgeWashingtonCarver


survivorinohio
by René on Mar. 22, 2013 at 8:41 PM

BUMP!

NWP
by guerrilla girl on Mar. 22, 2013 at 9:06 PM
3 moms liked this

I have gotten some pretty nasty comments and looks when I tell people that we need to stop assuming that all of our children should go to college, that it isn't for everybody and that there are plenty of other wonderful, and in a lot of cases better options for folks.

Personally, I would love to see paid internships return and an updated/modernized system of OJT similar to the apprentice/journeyman/master system that pulled us out of the feudal system in the first place and worked well in many trades until it was historically recently abandoned by most.

Quoting survivorinohio:

I agree.  My son is in the trades, roofing and the trades hold little value for some people.  Someone here on cm once told me that he should have gone to school if he wanted a living wage.  I think roofers are valuable as are plumbers, framers and drywallers.

Quoting eema.gray:

Agree with him completely. I think it is terrible that children are so strongly encouraged towards 4 year degrees that skilled labor is seen as something for those who can't hack it in a B.S./B.A. degree.



Neon Washable Paint

stacymomof2
by Ruby Member on Mar. 22, 2013 at 9:28 PM
3 moms liked this

There is nothing wrong with trades.  I know plenty of smart, interesting people who like to work with their hands.  College isn't the only way to be intellectual and it isn't for everyone.  I know lots of people who make a good middle class wage doing warehouse work and mechanics.  And I know people who do HVAC and plumbing who make considerably more money than many college grads, and are happy and challenged by their jobs.

The HVAC and plumber I know went to 3 years of school and have had to have continuing education to reach journeyman status.  I don't look down on people who work with their hands.

eema.gray
by on Mar. 22, 2013 at 9:38 PM
1 mom liked this

Nobody wants a roofer in the family, until the roof is leaking, LOL.  :-)  I agree, it IS a valuable skill.


Quoting survivorinohio:

I agree.  My son is in the trades, roofing and the trades hold little value for some people.  Someone here on cm once told me that he should have gone to school if he wanted a living wage.  I think roofers are valuable as are plumbers, framers and drywallers.

Quoting eema.gray:

Agree with him completely. I think it is terrible that children are so strongly encouraged towards 4 year degrees that skilled labor is seen as something for those who can't hack it in a B.S./B.A. degree.




"I am only one, but I am still one; I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do." ~~ Edward Everett Hale 1822-1909
Annettey19
by Bronze Member on Mar. 22, 2013 at 9:51 PM
1 mom liked this

I totally agree. Going to college for four years isn't the only way to go.

I wish more young people were counseled on this and were shown where the jobs really were instead of just being told "You can do anything!" or just told to pick what interests them. It's important to pick something they'll enjoy, but lots of the "fun" degrees (photography, graphic arts, English etc.) have high unemployment. Education for education's sake is great, but nowadays, we need our kids to have a job at the end too. 

turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on Mar. 22, 2013 at 10:04 PM
1 mom liked this

 I didnt read it all but Australia has the same problem....they are touting plumbers to be the next millionaires here.  If you want direct immigration entry into Australia...have a trade.

I will groom a non academic child into a trade before trying to push University onto them.

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