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The Great American Mismatch. Plenty of Manufacturing jobs, too few people with the necessary skills
National Review ^ | 11/26/2012 | Jillian Kay Melchior

Posted on 11/26/2012 7:12:46 AM PST by SeekAndFind

In September, 238,000 American jobs went unfilled, despite employers’ best efforts. At the same time, unemployment was at 7.8 percent nationally. And believe it or not, this was no statistical oddity.

The manufacturing sector has long had trouble finding skilled applicants for its jobs. Around 48 percent of manufacturing companies are looking to hire, according to the most recent report from ThomasNet, a company that helps connect producers and suppliers. But 67 percent of manufacturing companies see a moderate to severe shortage of skilled workers, and last year, as many as 600,000 jobs went unfilled, according to a report from Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute.

This mismatch embodies the best and worst of American culture. On the one hand, American manufacturers have bested their international competition, becoming even more efficient after their recent struggles. On the other, there’s been a cultural shift that denigrates the value of manufacturing work, instead pushing young people into ever more impractical fields of study.

The manufacturing sector’s triumph is pretty remarkable. The U.S. is the world’s largest manufacturer, contributing 18.2 percent of the total value added in worldwide production. (China, despite its abundance of cheap labor, comes in second at 17.6 percent.) Though other sectors are panicking about a fiscal cliff and putting expansion on hold, American manufacturing is plowing ahead. Ninety percent of manufacturers told ThomasNet they’re optimistic about the future, and 75 percent planned to expand their operations this year.

The manufacturing sector is also almost uniquely good to its employees. “No longer dirty, dark, or dangerous” has become an industry catchphrase. Careers in manufacturing are not, contrary to popular belief, merely monotonous assembly-line work; today, workers have to be good at problem solving, abstract thinking, and technology. And the pay is good. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that a manufacturing worker makes an average of $23.97 on hour as of October 2012. Manufacturing jobs are also more likely to come with good benefits than jobs in other industries, the Brookings Institute has reported. Furthermore, the manufacturing sector offers high-pay positions for people with low educational attainment; one manufacturing firm told National Review Online that it would pay a $54,000 starting salary to a high-school graduate who could competently repair and maintain machinery.

These job perks are partly caused by demand. Older manufacturing workers are retiring fast, and the work has become more high-tech, says Thomas Holdsworth, a spokesman for SkillsUSA, an organization that provides training for high school and college students. SkillsUSA works closely with the manufacturing sector, connecting it with prospective workers.

“We hear about skill shortage and skill gap,” Holdsworth explained. “Manufacturers say . . . ‘We have a shortage of workers, a shortage of people coming into our profession.’”

The skilled-worker shortage is an education problem. High schools have cut their shop classes, and students are pushed to attain at least a four-year college degree, no matter the major, says Linda Rigano, spokesperson for ThomasNet.

In high schools, “there’s been such a focus on — and this is going to sound terrible — kids going to school,” she said. “Not every kid is meant to go to college.” Meanwhile, manufacturing companies “are paying six figures. You’ve got all these kids who are coming out of college, and they can’t find a job. It’s heartbreaking.”

Young people are told that a four-year college degree is a minimal requirement for career success, but the numbers simply don’t bear this out.

Michigan State University’s 2012–13 Report on Recruiting Trends found that the labor market for new college graduates grew only 3 percent last year — but demand for graduates with associate’s degrees is up 31 percent. Nevertheless, in the last year on record, the U.S. handed out around 2.5 million bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees — and a mere 849,000 associate’s degrees, according to the Department of Education. And during the recession, students with associate’s degrees in career and technical fields had a higher employment rate than students with four-year academic degrees.

High-schoolers aren’t being taught about how marketable they may be in manufacturing. Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute found last year that “among 18- to 24-year-olds, manufacturing ranks dead last among industries which they would choose to stat their careers.” Likewise, this year, Deloitte reported that only 35 percent of American parents would encourage their kids to consider a manufacturing job.

This means that most college students graduate without the skills they need to find a good job, says Greg Rintala, who heads up sales and education for Snap-on Tool Corporation, which produces hand tools for everything from cars to space stations. Not only do these students lack a vocation; many also can’t write or do basic math.

“Parents are making their kids go to college,” Rintala said. “College doesn’t equip them for anything but a liberal-arts degree and how to be a barista anymore. . . . There’s a lot of people out there with college degrees who just can’t find a job. They just don’t have the skills.”

If there’s been a cultural shift away from manufacturing and toward academic achievement, look to the government, says Lindsey Burke, Will Skillman Fellow in Education at the Heritage Foundation.

“So much of it is the continued push to increase federal subsidies to incentivize students to go get a four-year degree when it might not be the right fit,” she said.

The federal government has made access to student loans easier than ever before. Since 1982, the number of federal education subsidies and Pell grants has increased by 475 percent, Burke said. Programs once targeted at increasing the number of low-income students have been expanded to include many middle-class children. That’s driven up college costs, saddled graduates with high debt, and deflated the value of a four-year degree. Furthermore, many in the manufacturing sector say, it’s made young people turn up their noses at good manufacturing jobs.

Meanwhile, the manufacturing sector is adjusting, trying to come up with private-sector solutions, says Tracy Tenpenney, vice president of sales and marketing at Tailored Label Products, a Wisconsin-based company that manufactures stickers for everything from biomedical supplies to outdoor power equipment.

Tailored Label Products participates in the local Second Chance program, which works with high-school sophomores who have fallen behind track for graduation. Tailored Label Products holds classes for these students on its premises and sponsors some of them. The kids spend two hours in formal classes, then spend six hours working with a local manufacturer and learning the trade. Many Second Chance students end up graduating on time after all, leaving not only with a diploma but also with marketable skills — and sometimes a job. This year, Tailored Label Products is funding a college scholarship for a Second Chance alumnus to attend a local trade school.

“I think people are assuming kids aren’t attracted to manufacturing,” Tenpenney said. “I firmly believe that kids are attracted to being employed coming out.”

— Jillian Kay Melchior is a Thomas L. Rhodes Fellow for the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: helpwanted; jobs; jobskills; manufacturing; manufacturingjobs; skills; workforce
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1 posted on 11/26/2012 7:12:51 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Why work in manufacturing when you can make just as much on welfare?


2 posted on 11/26/2012 7:19:08 AM PST by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: SeekAndFind

here are still plenty of people who don’t go to college or just spend two years or go to tech colleges. Many “colleges” are just the old vocational scools with a more expensive name.

The manufacturers don’t want to pay more or provide on-the-job training. They have the means to solve this problem if the really need the help.


3 posted on 11/26/2012 7:20:48 AM PST by Dr. Sivana (There is no salvation in politics.)
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To: SeekAndFind

What I have found about the manufacturing industry is that the majority of these jobs (around here) are contracted out. They last for 3 - 6 months and then they give you your walking papers.

I worked one of these jobs which lasted 5 months. Let me tell you this, I loved the job, but I was very unhappy with the contract terms. I’ve been offered several since and I will never take another contract job. They hire in volume and then let you go in volume! Very sad atmosphere!


4 posted on 11/26/2012 7:23:01 AM PST by jcsjcm (This country was built on exceptionalism and individualism. In God we Trust - Laus Deo)
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To: driftdiver

RE: Why work in manufacturing when you can make just as much on welfare?

_________________________

According to the article: “A manufacturing worker makes an average of $23.97 on hour as of October 2012. Manufacturing jobs are also more likely to come with good benefits than jobs in other industries, the Brookings Institute has reported.”

Also in the article: “... it would pay a $54,000 starting salary to a high-school graduate who could competently repair and maintain machinery.”

Are you telling me that someone on Welfare gets something equivalent to $24/hour or $54,000 a year plus benefits?


5 posted on 11/26/2012 7:23:39 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Many employers have asinine qualification requirements in terms experience/certification/etc., that are leaving many job positions unfilled.

Until employers wise up and lower their standards, as well as become more willing to foot the bill for proper training, this will continue to be the case.


6 posted on 11/26/2012 7:25:51 AM PST by Utmost Certainty (Our Enemy, the State)
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To: SeekAndFind

A little OJT goes a long way.

I’m a high school drop out who ended up spending a decade programming, operating and maintaining industrial robots.


7 posted on 11/26/2012 7:26:20 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: driftdiver

“Why work in manufacturing when you can make just as much on welfare?”

Exactly. Socialism kills the motivation and the desire to work and innovate. Why work when your neighbor who just sits on his front porch all day makes the same money as you do?


8 posted on 11/26/2012 7:26:28 AM PST by Patriot95
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To: SeekAndFind

Many manufacturing jobs make pretty decent wages! I agree with you there!


9 posted on 11/26/2012 7:26:39 AM PST by jcsjcm (This country was built on exceptionalism and individualism. In God we Trust - Laus Deo)
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To: SeekAndFind
In 2002 I did some telecom work for a machine shop in Laud Fl.that ran 3 shifts 24/7.They made some type of parts for oil mfg.
The parking lot was full of very nice cars from Dade Cnty.
I asked the guy why so many Dade workers.He told me we can't find any one up here in Brwd and these are all mostly Cuban folks from Miami.He then told me that it was getting harder to find those and no one wants to be a machinist.He told me the next step would be to shut down and move to another country.Not sure how it played out.
Tells me it wasnt taxes welfare or anything else it was spoiled American kids feel mfg jobs are beneath them..

I saw recently a elevator repair tech(escalators people movers) is up and coming

10 posted on 11/26/2012 7:28:53 AM PST by CGASMIA68
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To: SeekAndFind

X-box generation is not about to maintain machinery anyway. $24 a hour is nice but too tricky. They’ll be ok with fewer if it only takes to do nothing.


11 posted on 11/26/2012 7:29:30 AM PST by cunning_fish
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To: driftdiver

BS


12 posted on 11/26/2012 7:30:50 AM PST by CGASMIA68
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To: cripplecreek

RE: I’m a high school drop out who ended up spending a decade programming, operating and maintaining industrial robots.

What did they hire you for in the beginning?

Why were they willing to take a chance on you (no college degree )?

How many college grads are working with you now?

How much on average does the job pay in the USA?

Thanks, your answer will be helpful to a lot of folks in this thread.


13 posted on 11/26/2012 7:32:05 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: jcsjcm
If you pay someone to do nothing, nothing is what they'll do.

I recently posted a $85k+ job here in the DFW area and got exactly 4 responses. Now granted, it is in the IT field, where unemployment is less than 1.4%, but still, we simply don't have qualified candidates in the US for many jobs.
14 posted on 11/26/2012 7:33:01 AM PST by TexasGunLover ("Either you're with us or you're with the terrorists."-- President George W. Bush)
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To: driftdiver

Being a productive member of society (at ANY level) is NOT as glamourous the jobs requiring a ‘Kumbaya degree’!!

:)


15 posted on 11/26/2012 7:34:31 AM PST by SMARTY ("The man who has no inner-life is a slave to his surroundings. "Henri Frederic Amiel)
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To: Utmost Certainty

Many employers have asinine qualification requirements in terms experience/certification/etc., that are leaving many job positions unfilled.

Until employers wise up and lower their standards, as well as become more willing to foot the bill for proper training, this will continue to be the case.

**

EXACTLY! Come ON —how hard are these jobs? Can’t they just take people with half a brain and provide a bit of training? Same thing seems to happen everywhere — they put out a laundry list of their “required qualifications” which NO ONE can obtain in a million years ....and then they wonder why they can’t find enough people.

Same thing goes in nursing. They only want “experienced” RN’s, when all it would take might be a three month training period on the job to turn one into an “experienced” RN.

Combine this with ASSANINE HR departments who can’t walk and chew gum at the same time and, somtimes, this is what you get.


16 posted on 11/26/2012 7:34:41 AM PST by LibsRJerks
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To: SeekAndFind

There have been numerous articles that you can make in that neighborhood with food stamps, welfare, and all the other programs out there.

you don’t get dirty either


17 posted on 11/26/2012 7:37:44 AM PST by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: t1b8zs

You are wrong.


18 posted on 11/26/2012 7:38:17 AM PST by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: SeekAndFind

The problem is that the positions requiring bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees are mainly management/corporate positions. Without manufacturing, there is nothing left to manage. Other than engineering and science degrees of course.


19 posted on 11/26/2012 7:38:39 AM PST by Patriot95
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To: LibsRJerks

Yup.

When even employers for minimum wage jobs expect people to send in resumes, you know there’s a problem with their hiring practices. This is stupid.


20 posted on 11/26/2012 7:40:31 AM PST by Utmost Certainty (Our Enemy, the State)
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To: SMARTY

It used to be shameful to be on welfare or any public assistance program.

Its a way of life for many people. For them its stupid NOT to go for your free obamafon


21 posted on 11/26/2012 7:40:40 AM PST by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: driftdiver

RE: There have been numerous articles that you can make in that neighborhood with food stamps, welfare, and all the other programs out there.

Since you used the adjective : NUMEROUS, surely it will be a breeze for you to show us some of these articles that purport to show us how people on welfare are getting the equivalent of someone working getting $54,000 plus benefits... a few links will do.

We’re waiting....


22 posted on 11/26/2012 7:44:00 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: Dr. Sivana

What ever happened to apprenticeships?


23 posted on 11/26/2012 7:47:48 AM PST by ilovesarah2012
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To: driftdiver
Yup!

“O” is supported by people who are born 3 and 4 generations out of wedlock and as many (or more) on the public dole.

The idea of living any other way is inconceivable to them.

24 posted on 11/26/2012 7:51:27 AM PST by SMARTY ("The man who has no inner-life is a slave to his surroundings. "Henri Frederic Amiel)
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To: SeekAndFind

I have said for years that dropping the shop classes from high school would have an impact. I didn’t think well enough to realize that it would hit now.


25 posted on 11/26/2012 7:52:37 AM PST by ridesthemiles
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Comment #26 Removed by Moderator

To: TexasGunLover

What exactly are you looking for? I might be interested, but I am in my mid 60’s. I am a pretty good programmer :) (C, Java, SQL, etc).


27 posted on 11/26/2012 7:54:06 AM PST by jpsb
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To: SeekAndFind

“Why were they willing to take a chance on you (no college degree )?”

I can answer that one: Skills.

How many people can program C/C++/C#/Java/SQL, etc? Very few. It’s not that hard but so few do it.

To get a first job, create a project for yourself or with some buddies, put it on a resume, the Dice/Monster ‘recruiters’ that do word searches to find candidates find that person and they get interviewed. Interviewers do not ask where a person went to school. They only ask technical questions about programming. Get enough answers right, get hired.

Actually, computer programmming, I mean, ‘Software Engineering’, is one of the few career fields that do it right to a large degree. They don’t care where you went to school, they only ask can you do the job.


28 posted on 11/26/2012 7:57:49 AM PST by CodeToad (Liberals are bloodsucking ticks. We need to light the matchstick to burn them off.)
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To: SeekAndFind

I hired in as a temp to do basic assembly linework but had experience in industrial painting. When I was hired full time I went to the paint department and showed an interest in the robots and started learning whatever I could.

When a job came up for back up supervisor I applied and got that job which came with more intensive training in the robotics operations as well as all the other paint room processes (fluid and air pumps and regulators etc). When my boss broke his leg and was off for several weeks it was up to me and they ended up making me a full supervisor.

I never made big bucks (about $40,000 in a good year). There were a handful of degreed techs who made another 20K per year. Aside from that the only degreed people in the shop were engineers and front office people.

In my opinion, trained skills are secondary to common sense and basic logic and unfortunately both are severely lacking in today’s 20 somethings. They walk out of college and know how to do one thing in a perfect environment. Unfortunately, factories are not perfect environments. You have to work with assholes, design flaws, damaged equipment, and any number of other out of the ordinary issues and you have to do it on the fly.

We had a new engineer come into the shop with lots of ideas but no clue about how the real world worked. He finally got mad and quit because we didn’t have 20 minutes to spend painting parts his way. We had 26 seconds.


29 posted on 11/26/2012 7:58:22 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: cripplecreek

I’m a high school drop out who ended up spending a decade programming, operating and maintaining industrial robots.


My twenty-something son is trying to figure out how to get into a hands on job and I thought the job you do might be a good opportunity. Any advice on how to get the younger generation pointed into this field?


30 posted on 11/26/2012 8:02:10 AM PST by Gen-X-Dad
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To: SeekAndFind

Depends on how many children the sow has.


31 posted on 11/26/2012 8:03:11 AM PST by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: jpsb
What exactly are you looking for? I might be interested, but I am in my mid 60’s. I am a pretty good programmer :) (C, Java, SQL, etc).

It was for a business/systems analysis position. Typically programmers do not lend themselves well to that sort of work, but thanks for the offer!
32 posted on 11/26/2012 8:03:16 AM PST by TexasGunLover ("Either you're with us or you're with the terrorists."-- President George W. Bush)
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To: SeekAndFind

1. Public Housing with utilities paid: $14,000.
2. Food stamps for 4: $8,000.
3. Unemployment (maximum): $27,000.
4. TANF: $6,000.
5. Indigent Care Program: Unlimited, 10% co-pay.
6. WIC: $500.

That’s just off the top of my head. Ther are more programs, some local as well. Primarily people live on public housing, food stamps, TANF, ICP, and WIC.

It may not be $54,000, but families can get over that when living together as a houshold and many do.


33 posted on 11/26/2012 8:09:04 AM PST by CodeToad (Liberals are bloodsucking ticks. We need to light the matchstick to burn them off.)
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To: CodeToad

Actually, C++ is very hard.

Back in the 90s, we used to give a 20-question test to potential C++ programmers. Many experienced guys could not answer any of the questions correctly.


34 posted on 11/26/2012 8:16:29 AM PST by proxy_user
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To: Gen-X-Dad

I’m not there anymore because that factory has been closed for better than a decade. It was plastics and there’s a fair amount of painting in plastics.

I started that job as a temp and just fell into it but the basic advice I was given a long time ago is sound. Pay attention and show an interest, don’t hang with the slackers at break time, if equipment is being worked on at break time, offer to skip a break and lend a hand. Ask intelligent questions and never skip an opportunity to learn. Basically take the bull by the horns.

I had the same experience in a bindery years ago. I went in as a temp and ended up as the sole operator and maintenance man on the one of the two primary machines in the building.


35 posted on 11/26/2012 8:18:11 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: SeekAndFind

This is a great argument until you actually put your mind in gear and think.

Presently, the Chinese move youth in from their agricultural regions in order to manufacture things to be sold in the United States.

Now this article wants me to believe China can find people who are more qualified in those regions, than people in the United States are.


36 posted on 11/26/2012 8:23:57 AM PST by DoughtyOne (Hurricane Sandy..., a week later and 48 million Americans still didn't have power.)
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To: proxy_user

Yeah, but did you pick the most left-field questions out of arrogance and did you pick questions that you actually use? Usually that answer is “no”. I can’t tell you how many people just have to ask what a virtual function is but there are none in their system, or fail to understand that ‘void*’ has been around a long time.


37 posted on 11/26/2012 8:25:44 AM PST by CodeToad (Liberals are bloodsucking ticks. We need to light the matchstick to burn them off.)
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To: cripplecreek

We’re spending close to a trillion dollars a year on welfare. We’ve had people on unemployment benefits for two years.

What impetus is there for anyone to adopt your work ethic?

We are subsidizing loafers. And guess what, we’re now getting more loafers. Who knew?

Once again, a nine year old could understand this concept. And once again, Obama can’t.


38 posted on 11/26/2012 8:28:08 AM PST by DoughtyOne (Hurricane Sandy..., a week later and 48 million Americans still didn't have power.)
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To: proxy_user

C++ takes the C data structure and adds features to it. :)


39 posted on 11/26/2012 8:30:46 AM PST by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: CodeToad

"Bring me the guild C++ programmer."

40 posted on 11/26/2012 8:33:52 AM PST by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: Patriot95

Feminism has also had its effects. Women really don’t want to or can’t do the work and the young men are no longer interested or are not prepared. I’m forwarding this to a friend who is a high school principal. Lib through and through.


41 posted on 11/26/2012 8:36:22 AM PST by huldah1776
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To: SeekAndFind

Paging Mike Rowe

http://www.mikeroweworks.com/

TT


42 posted on 11/26/2012 8:38:12 AM PST by TexasTransplant (Radical islam is islam. Moderate islam is the Trojan Horse.)
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To: jcsjcm
"In September, 238,000 American jobs went unfilled, "

238,000? Romney mentioned 23,000,000. Your story is good. About everything you buy is made somewhere else and these jobs don't need high skill mechanics to be contracted.

43 posted on 11/26/2012 8:39:17 AM PST by ex-snook (without forgiveness there is no Christianity)
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To: TexasGunLover

thanks for the reply, hope you find someone. Back in my NASA days I designed some fairly large complicated systems. I mostly worked on the back end (servers) developing the API for the front end guys, since I hated writing User Interface code (BORING).


44 posted on 11/26/2012 8:51:35 AM PST by jpsb
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To: TexasTransplant

I see Dirty Jobs has been canceled.


45 posted on 11/26/2012 8:51:44 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: SeekAndFind
In September, 238,000 American jobs went unfilled, despite employers’ best efforts.

This is EXACTLY what Microsoft used as justification to vastly increase the H1B Visa program to give American Jobs to people who could barely speak english and were half-assed programmers, but DID work for next to nothing.

And when they got their green cards, they demanded better wages, the companies started sending jobs overseas to people who could hardly speak english, were half-assed programmers, but DID work for next to nothing.

Just an excuse folks. SSDD.

Godspeed

46 posted on 11/26/2012 8:54:15 AM PST by HeartlandOfAmerica ("We have prepared for the unbeliever, whips and chains and blazing fires!" Koran Sura 76:4)
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To: SeekAndFind

you forgot to factor in work ethic and character. There are a lot of people who would rather take lower income and not have to get up early and put in a full days work. Being grown-up is a thing of the past.


47 posted on 11/26/2012 8:57:21 AM PST by all the best (`~!)
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To: Utmost Certainty
We're a manufacturing company which has trouble filling positions for two main reasons:

  1. People can't pass drug tests.
  2. People who turn down job offers because they still have a long way to go on their 99 weeks of unemployment.

There is no way we will drop reason #1 because our manufacturing process uses complex, expensive high speed machinery which is dangerous if operated by people who are not alert. We also have no control over reason #2.

48 posted on 11/26/2012 9:04:58 AM PST by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: SeekAndFind
Plenty of Manufacturing jobs, too few people with the necessary skills

I don't understand, the last full generation of public high school graduates have been fully trained in filling out welfare applications.

49 posted on 11/26/2012 9:07:01 AM PST by Navy Patriot (Join the Democrats, it's not Fascism when WE do it, and the Constitution and law mean what WE say.)
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To: ridesthemiles
I have said for years that dropping the shop classes from high school would have an impact.

Stupid move, indeed. I thought the shop classes I took in Junior High were ridiculous, for the most part, but still learned a few things. So I skipped the high school offerings, but did take a college course or two. I was also fortunate to have a father who taught me how to build things in the garage. I still have a wicked looking knife he helped me build from an 18" file rasp he bought at a garage sale for 25 cents.

50 posted on 11/26/2012 9:11:37 AM PST by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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