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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-05-2006, 08:45 AM Thread Starter
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U.S. manufacturers getting desperate for skilled people

U.S. manufacturers getting desperate for skilled people

EMMAUS, Pa. - Michael Bunner has done everything he can think of to hire workers.
He's increased pay, offered training and recently, hired a man straight out of prison.

While his story isn't too surprising given that the unemployment rate of 4.4% is at a 5 ½-year low, what is unexpected is that Bunner is in the manufacturing sector, an industry that has been grabbing headlines for losing jobs.

But despite all those layoffs, Bunner can't find plastic welders or even people who are willing and able to be trained for the specialty job.
"I'm turning down contracts," says Bunner, president of Electro Chemical Engineering and Manufacturing, which makes chemical tanks. "I could expand 20-30% overnight if I had more people."

Much has been made of the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs in the USA in recent years.

But manufacturers, regardless of size, specialty or location, across the USA are reporting a dire shortage of skilled workers: people such as welders, electricians or machinists with a craft that goes beyond pushing buttons or stacking boxes but does not require a degree.

That shortage is threatening their ability to meet current demand, let alone expand their businesses. The gap could threaten the viability of the U.S. manufacturing sector at a time when it is facing heavy competition from abroad.

In a survey of 800 manufacturers conducted by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) last year, more than 80% said they were experiencing a shortage of skilled workers. In October, manufacturers surveyed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said "finding qualified workers" was their biggest business problem.

The shortage of skilled workers is the result of a number of factors. One of the biggest is that manufacturing in the USA is becoming more high-tech and skill-based as the more repetitive, less-skilled work is moving abroad. Such jobs require greater expertise.

Plus, baby boomers with years of experience are retiring. And younger people are bypassing factory jobs, viewing them as repetitive, dirty and without much opportunity, a view that hasn't been helped by all the factory closings and headlines about manufacturing jobs moving to China.

These factors have combined to create a serious worker shortage with no end in sight.

"I've never seen anything like it in my life," says Bunner, whose father worked in a factory when he was growing up in West Virginia. "When I was a kid, people would stand in line for hours for an opportunity at a job like I have available. I can't get people to show up for an interview."

More specialized work

There were 10.2 million manufacturing production workers in the USA in October, down 19% from 10 years ago and 28% fewer than 40 years ago.

The percentage of all workers in the USA employed in manufacturing has been declining for 50 years. In October, 10% of the U.S. workforce was employed in the manufacturing sector, an all-time low. In 1946, one out of every three workers had jobs in manufacturing.
But the loss of jobs doesn't mean that manufacturing is disappearing from the USA. U.S. manufacturing production last year totaled $1.5 trillion, or 12% of gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic activity within U.S. borders.
The sector has become more specialized, with a greater focus on technology. With a boom in productivity in manufacturing, firms are able to produce more with fewer workers.
Innovation in the manufacturing sector means that the jobs require greater skills than ever before. According to an analysis by economists Richard Deitz and James Orr at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, employment in high-skilled manufacturing jobs rose 37%, or by 1.2 million jobs, from 1983 to 2002. At the same time, low-skilled factory jobs dropped 25%, or by approximately 2 million workers.
"The time when you can be relatively unskilled and work in manufacturing for a long time with just a high school degree and make a good salary to support a family is gone," National Association of Manufacturers chief economist David Huether says.
But finding people with the right skills isn't easy.
"It's limiting my growth," says John West, president of Fox Valley Metal-Tech in Green Bay, Wis.
Earlier this year West turned down a $1.5 million contract with Kraft Foods because he didn't have enough welders. That order would have grown his business by 10%.
Multiple job offers
West's firm, which produces metal machinery parts, has increased pay and offers full health benefits, training, a matching 401(k) plan and bonuses to employees who refer people to work there.
"You get a good worker who has that skill set, you make sure they don't want to leave," West says. "You pay them well; you treat them well."
That's good news for Richard Smith. The 29-year-old from Chillicothe, Ohio, is graduating Dec. 15 from a nine-month welding program at the Hobart Institute of Welding Technology. He's received three job offers, paying $16 to $19 an hour, or more than three times the federal minimum wage. The companies are also paying medical benefits, offering 401(k) plans and paying for additional training.
"It really took me off my feet," says Smith, who got interested in welding while he was in the Navy.
Andre Odermatt, president of the Hobart Institute in Troy, Ohio, says job postings at the school have risen 40% in the last year. Companies are increasingly offering sign-on bonuses of as much as $3,000 and are coming from as far away as California and offering to pay relocation for students willing to move, he says.
"It's like having gone through Harvard," he says. "The world is open for them."
Odermatt and others say they think the shortage of skilled manufacturing workers is largely a function of perception.
"Culturally, we have browbeaten manufacturing to such an extent that we don't have people interested," says John Sinn, interim director of the Center for Applied Technology at Bowling Green State University.
Sinn and others say it is now up to people in manufacturing to change that perception, particularly among younger people and their parents.
"Everyone wants their kids to be doctors, lawyers and dentists. … (But) all of us can't be that," says Lloyd McCaffrey, director of manufacturing technology at Williams International, a gas turbine manufacturer in Ogden, Utah.
McCaffrey's company is investing $30 million in a program at nearby Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College that will bring in students, some of them in high school, for hands-on training in machining.
Representatives at Oklahoma State University-Okmulgee meet with students, some of whom are in middle school, to teach them about manufacturing. The university also recently started a program to help train disadvantaged youths, some of whom are on probation, in manufacturing basics.
"What we're saying is, 'Here is a good option.' … This is a very good career for a lot of people," says Roy Cail, executive director of the economic development and training center at the university.
What concerns Cail and others is that as the workforce ages and the baby boomers retire, the shortage of skilled manufacturing workers could grow more acute.
In 2005, 43% of manufacturing workers were 45 years old or older. That's up from 32% in 1995, according to a NAM analysis of Labor Department data.
"As the labor force ages, there really aren't young kids coming into the trades," says Patrick Duffy, president of American Machine & Gear in Portland, Ore. Duffy recently paid workers triple time to work on Thanksgiving to get an order out.
Special skills in demand
At Electro Chemical Engineering and Manufacturing, workers create tanks that are used to process, store or haul chemicals. The steel tanks are lined with a special plastic that prevents erosion and sometimes contain reactors to make the chemicals. Bunner's clients include major companies in the pharmaceutical, chemical and high-tech industries, such as Dow Chemical, Bayer, DuPont and General Electric.
Building the tanks takes a special skill in plastic welding. Even the tiniest crack can mean a chemical leakage, a potentially dangerous and even deadly situation.
But finding plastic welders, or even people interested in learning the skill, has become next to impossible. Bunner has had three open slots for welders since April. People have come in who can't do simple math - such as calculating square footages, a key skill when 1 square foot of plastic material goes for $250. He's also had people come in who have never used a tape measure or read blueprints.
Not only has Bunner increased pay, he offers a 401(k) with a matching program, health insurance and vacation time. But that still isn't working, so he's had to "go outside the box" to recruit, as he puts it.
When a local company shut down, he set up a booth in its human resources department. He hired two people that way. And he's working with the local rescue mission and prison ministry to try to identify candidates.
Bunner is also trying to bring former employees back. An employee who retired at 65 came back to work when he was 68. Soon, the company will be mailing letters to 13 former employees, asking if they'd be interested in working night or weekend hours.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-05-2006, 08:49 AM
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We are having the same problems. This is the end result of Republican abolishment of Job Training programs of the 80's, and their war on the trade unions, where apprenticeship programs used to turn out these people. They have refused to do anything about providing tuition free trade schools to the public, as they made it easy to outsource these jobs overseas. This is the end result.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

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Boy, no workers here, might as well just outsource that work or hire illegals to do it here. What's America's purpose again? Oh that's right, natural resources, ignorant consumers, and gated communities. Sweet.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-05-2006, 09:19 AM
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We all know that training training workers is "socialism", and that the money is much better spent killing goat farmers in Iraq, building bridges to no where and covering Lebanon with cluster bomblets.

The US spent a five billion a year on job training programs at the height of the Job Corp's existance. We spend that much in Iraq in about a week. Is this country insane, or what?

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-05-2006, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by FeelTheLove
We are having the same problems. This is the end result of Republican abolishment of Job Training programs of the 80's, and their war on the trade unions, where apprenticeship programs used to turn out these people. They have refused to do anything about providing tuition free trade schools to the public, as they made it easy to outsource these jobs overseas. This is the end result.
Ooh! Ooh! A new red ribbon! Quick! Pin it on somebody - preferably a Republican!

You're never hesitant to sound like a shitbrained squirrel fucker, are you.

This is another example of an employer who would hire you, pay to train you, and then pay you an even better wage to do a skilled job for him. This is a guy who can't expand his business because he can't find people to do the job. Even hiring people out of prison - an act fairly described as desperate in nature - hasn't been able to provide him enough workers.

Hey, McBear, why not bus some of your poor Appalachian's to this guy's doorstep and see what happens? I'm willing to bet that you could allow this guy to select from the entire pool of unemployed, welfare recipients or the homeless, and fewer than 10% of those people would want the jobs he's offering.

Stories like this - both within and outside manufacturing - abound in America. The only thing more ridiculous than this, is the mindset that people who remain unemployed do so because the government - the fucking government - has somehow failed them.

Go ahead, prove me wrong.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-05-2006, 09:39 AM
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Jakarta, is this true about INDONESIA? This is on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Everybody should read this informative article as it talks about alternative fuels and how they might not be beneficial at all. Does anybody know any stocks that deal with WATER? They presented a good point in the article....since we'll be growing all the crops for fuels we're going to run low on water. (I never thought of that)

Sorry to hijack the thread but this question deals with you....since you're from there.

Crude Awakening
As Alternative Energy Heats Up,
Environmental Concerns Grow

Crop of Renewable 'Biofuels'
Could Have Drawbacks;
Fires Across Indonesia

Palm-Oil Boom Ignites Debate
December 5, 2006; Page A1

PONTIANAK, Indonesia -- Investors are pouring billions of dollars into "renewable" energy sources such as ethanol, biodiesel and solar power that promise to reduce the world's reliance on petroleum. But exploiting these alternatives may produce unintended environmental and economic consequences that offset the expected benefits.
Here on the island of Borneo, a thick haze often encloses this city of 500,000 people. The cause: forest fires that have blazed across the island. Many of them were set to clear land to produce palm oil -- a key ingredient in biodiesel, a clean-burning diesel fuel alternative.
Patrick Barta At a new oil-palm plantation, the hillsides have been cleared and terraced. The bluish smoke is at times so dense that it leaves the city dark and gloomy even at midday. The haze has sometimes closed Pontianak's airport and prompted local volunteers to distribute face-masks on city streets. From July through mid-October, Indonesian health officials reported 28,762 smog-related cases of respiratory illness across the country.
"I feel it in my breath when I breathe," said Imanuel Patasik, a 26-year-old delivery man, as he sat in one of Pontianak's many open-air coffee shops on a recent evening. When the smoke is really bad, he wears a mask to work, but still wakes up the next morning feeling sick. "It's part of life here," he sighed.
Seasonal rains have helped quell the fires over the past few weeks. But the miasma of smoke from Borneo and the island of Sumatra -- an annual phenomenon that blankets large parts of Southeast Asia in smog -- underscores a troubling dark side of the world's alternative-energy boom. Among other problems, the fires in Indonesia spew millions of tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, experts say. In doing so, they exacerbate the very global-warming concerns biofuels are meant to alleviate.
Such side effects are not an isolated problem. In Indonesia, Malaysia, Canada and elsewhere, forests are being slashed for new energy-yielding crops or other unconventional fuels. In India, environmental activists say, water tables are dropping as farmers try to boost production of ethanol-yielding sugar.
"Let's be brutally frank: [The push for alternative fuels] is going to cause significant changes for the environment," says Sean Darby, an equities analyst and expert on alternative energy companies at Nomura International in Hong Kong. He is most worried about the strain on water resources caused by accelerated crop production. Water, he says, is "just as precious" as oil.
Some experts are also concerned that crops for biofuels will compete with other farmland, possibly driving up global costs of basic food production.

It's not clear how serious these problems will become -- or whether they eventually will be resolved through new technologies and stricter environmental measures. Proponents of alternative energy, including some palm oil industry executives, say the dangers are exaggerated and are outweighed by the benefits new fuels promise.
"We're unfairly targeted," says M.R. Chandran, former chief executive of the Malaysian Palm Oil Association. He contends that the timber industry and local farmers are much to blame for destroying Indonesia's forests.
The alternative energy field "is almost like the Internet in terms of the pace of how fast all this is changing," says Chris Flavin, president of Worldwatch Institute, an environmental
organization. He believes that new technologies could help resolve some concerns over collateral damage. One of the hottest, for example, is called cellulosic ethanol, which uses different kinds of waste -- including municipal garbage -- to create fuel.
In the U.S., questions about corn-based ethanol are swirling in academic and agricultural circles, in part because of the work of a Cornell University professor. David Pimentel, who teaches environmental policy, has long held doubts about the fuel's value. He argues that expanding corn production for biofuels would deplete water resources and pollute soils with added fertilizer and chemicals. It would also require huge volumes of traditional energy for farming equipment and ethanol-conversion facilities -- a toll that could nullify gains from the less-polluting fuel produced.
Other studies, including reports by researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, have reached much more optimistic conclusions and have criticized Mr. Pimentel's methodology.
Big Implications for Business
Critiques of alternative energy -- even if they prove to be exaggerated -- could have big implications for business. Last year, investors globally poured a record $49 billion into energies such as solar power, ethanol and biodiesel, according to New Energy Finance, a London-based firm that specializes in analyzing renewable energies. That was a 60% increase from the previous year.
But commercializing many alternative fuels relies on political support in the form of government subsidies or tax incentives. So the rise of local resistance could jeopardize the new fuels' economic viability.
This is particularly true for palm oil, a once-mundane commodity whose price has climbed about 31% so far this year. The spike is partly attributable to demand for biofuels.
In October, a European Parliament committee recommended a ban on all biofuel made from palm oil, citing fears that the crop encourages deforestation in tropical countries. In Indonesia, activists helped block an $8 billion Chinese-backed project that would have created one of the world's largest palm-oil plantations.
And last month, one of Britain's largest power companies, RWE npower, a subsidiary of the German power giant RWE AG, said it would abandon a project that was to use several hundred thousand tons of palm oil a year to generate power. An environmental group, Friends of the Earth, had complained that the project would contribute to unsustainable global demand for palm oil, contributing to rain-forest destruction in South East Asia. RWE npower said it dropped the project because it couldn't secure an adequate supply of sustainably grown palm oil.
Most consumers still think of palm oil mainly as a source of cooking oil. The oil is squeezed from bunches of red fruit that grow on oil palms, primarily in Malaysia and Indonesia. But the oil can also be processed to make fuel. Then it's mixed with conventional diesel to form a hybrid energy source -- for instance, 80% regular diesel and 20% biofuel -- that can be pumped directly into fuel tanks.
Biodiesel offers lots of upsides. Renewable crops such as palm oil reduce the need for fossil fuels such as petroleum whose supplies are finite. It also burns more cleanly than carbon-based liquid fuel, releasing fewer of the gases thought to cause global warming.
As oil prices have surged, a number of companies, including Chevron Corp., have announced plans to build or invest in biodiesel plants. In a recent report, Credit Suisse analysts said there's enough refining capacity under development to produce as much as 20 million metric tons of fuel annually by late 2008. That capacity, more than twice that of today's levels, would "easily soak up" all the world's available palm oil -- creating even more demand for plantations.
Indonesian authorities hope to capitalize on such demand to bring economic growth to impoverished regions. The government is offering low-interest loans for plantation companies, with a goal of adding 3.7 million acres of new plantations over the next five years, an area more than half the size of New Hampshire. Officials maintain this can be done on designated land areas without causing widespread environmental damage.
post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-05-2006, 09:40 AM
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Different Outcome
But what's happening on the ground in Borneo suggests a different outcome. Among the world's most fabled islands, Borneo -- which is divided between Indonesia and Malaysia -- is considered by environmentalists to be one of the last great tropical wildernesses. It's home to rare and unusual species, including the wild orangutan, the clouded leopard and the Sumatran rhinoceros.
It's also home to some of the world's last headhunters. The indigenous Dayaks resurrected the grisly practice as recently as the late 1990s in interethnic clashes. Some Dayaks still live in villages that can only be reached by river, and sleep in wooden "longhouse" buildings on stilts.
A fire at this oil-palm plantation near Pontianak, Indonesia, made some local villagers sick. In the 1800s, Dutch and British traders began carving up parts of the island to produce rubber and other commodities. Later, Malaysian and Indonesian timber barons devastated millions of acres of forest logging tropical hardwoods. Today, only a little more than half of Borneo's once-ubiquitous forest cover remains, according to WWF, the global conservation organization.
Now, the palm-oil boom threatens what's left. In West Kalimantan, a province along the western coast, the palms cover about 988,000 acres or more, up from less than 37,000 acres in 1984. Fleets of orange and mustard-colored trucks ply the province's few paved roads, ferrying the oil to river ports.
The plantations have meant jobs and opportunities for many Dayak families. Some have even taken ownership stakes in the operations.
As residents are discovering, though, the spreading plantations have deleterious effects. They can alter water-catchment areas, destroy animal habitats and contribute to the months-long bouts of haze that spreads hundreds of kilometers across Southeast Asia.
As fires burn deep into the dry peat soil beneath Indonesia's forests, centuries of carbon trapped in the biomass are released into the atmosphere. A study presented last month at a U.N. Climate Change Conference in Nairobi showed that Indonesia is the world's third-biggest carbon emitter behind the U.S. and China, when emissions from fires and other factors are considered.
"Stopping these fires could be one way of getting rid of some significant carbon emissions to the atmosphere," says Susan Page, a senior lecturer at Britain's University of Leicester who studies carbon emissions in Southeast Asia.
A ship on the Kapuas River, in the Indonesian section of the island of Borneo, is shrouded by smoke from forest fires. To be sure, palm-oil plantations aren't the only cause of deforestation and smoke on Borneo. Loggers have degraded huge swathes of forest. And indigenous residents have long practiced their own form of slash-and-burn agriculture that involves setting fires to clear fields for planting.
But Indonesian environmental officials say plantation companies are exacerbating the problem, and some palm-oil executives concede their industry is partly to blame. Often, companies hack down the trees, leaving behind a mass of debris that must be removed before they can plant oil palms. The cheapest and easiest way is simply to torch it.
One new oil-palm plantation, four hours by dirt road from Pontianak, offers a glimpse of the fallout from the flames.
The plantation stretches across some 2,740 acres and features a series of blackened and largely bare hills. Charred stumps stick up from the soil and blistered tree trunks litter the ground. In the distance, a wall of misty jungle marks the border of the property.
Villagers nearby say smoke and flames from fires at the site destroyed fruit and rubber trees on which they relied. They also made many people in the area sick. One villager began acting like he was possessed and was placed in a cage where he remained for weeks, the village chief says.
Nearby, on a ridge overlooking the property, a man in a floppy sun hat who identifies himself as the plantation manager says he didn't know who started the fires. "We are one of the victims," says the man, Kong Tamcheng.
Mr. Kong says his employer, an Indonesian company called Incasi Raya Group, has a strict no-burning policy. He suggests the fire might have been started by a careless worker flicking cigarette butts, or by "interested parties" out to "smear" the company's reputation.
But Untad Dharmawan, director of environmental impact assessment for West Kalimantan, says Indonesian authorities are investigating nine palm-oil companies for illegal burning, including Incasi Raya Group and its manager, Mr. Kong. He displays a dossier of photos of the Incasi Raya site, adding that his department has witnesses with evidence the company started the fires.
Phone calls to Incasi Raya's office in Padang, Indonesia went unanswered.
Indonesian officials say they're doing the best they can to fight the fires and prevent illegal forest-clearing. Among other tactics, they hired two giant Russian planes to drop "water bombs" and launched projects to hand out water pumps to local villagers.
But they're hamstrung by tight budgets and the logistical difficulties of policing such a vast area with few roads. At best, "we can just minimize the spread" of fires, laments Mr. Dharmawan, the provincial environmental official.
Palm-oil companies, meanwhile, have joined with environment organizations, energy companies and others to set up a group known as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil that plans to certify plantation companies that follow guidelines to minimize ecological damage.
Back in Borneo, Tony Hartono, head of a local plantation association in West Kalimantan, says he still believes biodiesel derived from palm oil will play a big role in solving the world's energy problems. After all, "it's a renewable energy," he says. "It's our future."
---- Puspa Madani in Jakarta and Celine Fernandez in Kuala Lumpur contributed to this article.
Write to Patrick Barta at patrick.barta@wsj.com and Jane Spencer at jane.spencer@wsj.com
post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-05-2006, 10:23 AM
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Now, I bring the thread back to the subject at hand.
For you, FTL: This is not a Republican caused problem nor a Democrat caused problem. So, for once, look at things realistically instead of wanting to pin it on the Republicans.

We are suffering from a skilled labor shortage for a variety of reasons, but I believe it stems from the over emphasis of college education.

Not many want to grow up to be a welder no more than I wanted to grow up to be a graphic artist. When I went to work at the first printing plant, I was working to become a chemical engineer, not an offset pressman. As I worked the job, I learned I liked it and the pay wasn't too bad, either. So, I decided not to pursue the career in Chemical Engineering. Over the years I have not ever regretted that decision, even though I now have plans to return to college and get a degree.

My point is this: Those who are not exposed to these types of jobs will never gain an interest in them. Too many want the glorious pay that is supposed to come with a college degree. Regrettably, in todays job world, not every college grad is a desirable candidate for their field of study. As a matter of fact, most college grads suck at what they went to school for and they end up bouncing from job to job, learning tidbits of experience as they go. The shipping facility my sister-in-law now manages with a BA in accounting and business, had to hire through 5 others with the same degree before finally choosing to keep her for the position.

It is purely a culture of a 'me first' society that has created this problem. Forget the fact that experience far exceeds any college education, the college education is chosen over experience time and time again by employers. This mindset has created a shortage of skilled laborers because very few thinks they can be gainfully employed as a welder or such. So they choose to go to college because they think it's the only way they will make high 5 figures. Employers, in return, have to share in the blame for this problem because of their unwillingness to give experience a better mark than college.

College enrollment is at record highs and the expectations of college grads are equally as high. You can send an idiot to college but they're still an idiot when they get out. Those who are smart enough to perform the skilled labor tend to go to college and sidestep any possibility they will work these type jobs. That is why those who do these jobs tend to be people who were raised in low income households. There was not enough money to send them to college, even though they were smart enough to go. They take the first desirable job and learn to like it while others learned these jobs in trade schools (vocational colleges).

When I went to high school, those who went to trade schools were viewed upon as low lifes who lacked ambition to be something real. What these small minds didn't realize is that those who did attend vocational school were guaranteeing themselves a position in the workplace that kept them employed. Even though I'm not employed as a cabinet builder, if I were to lose my job, I guarantee you I'd be able to support the family with that.

Our local vocational college has discontinued a number of classes for lack of interest. Employers used to draw from this pool for hiring but now they find themselves having to green train potential candidates, many of which who destroy company assets learning the job and then quit because they don't like it or get fired for lack luster performance. Employers like me are left in the dark because we have no where to go to get experienced help when we need it. We have had an ad in the paper on and off for months for a pre-press tech. No one qualified to do it has ever applied.

We, as a society, can stop denigrating these desirable jobs if we wish to have a pool of skilled labor to draw from. Until then, it will continue to be the illegal population that fills these positions because an unemployed bank manager can't lay brick!

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-05-2006, 10:36 AM
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Shit man, I work in the oil field services industry. Machine shops, drilling crews, pipeline repairman, welders of every stripe, I know more about the problem than you ever will. Here is what is causing it:

End of Federal Job Training Assistance in the 90's

Lack of free Junior College and Tech School level academics.

GOP War Against the Labor Unions

Fucking Mexicans

Not necessarily in that order.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-05-2006, 11:18 AM Thread Starter
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Yes Kamil it is true, but it takes a while for palm oil plants to grow and make fuel from the palm oil. It will not happen overnight, as for the raping of the land and the forests, yes very true up until the rains started a couple of weeks ago they had to shut down airports in Kalimantan due to visibility problems caused by all the smoke from the fires but this is old news as it happens every year for the last 7 or 8. As for water stocks they have appreciated over the last 2 years very well and most analysts think they will gain as oil stocks did in the past as fresh clean water becomes more and more scarce.
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