The Washington Post cited my blog post, “Severe Shortage of Skilled Factory Workers As Government Encourages Students to Pursue White-Collar Jobs,” in a thoughtful commentary by Jennifer Rubin. But it linked to the entire collection of my blog posts by mistake. The Washington Post was attempting to link to this item.
Here is an excerpt from it:
The government has encouraged people who once would have become skilled and valuable factory workers to instead go to college and work in white-collar jobs, contributing to a severe shortage of the skilled workers needed by manufacturers. The Washington Post reports today on this problem:
Unemployment hovers above 9 percent. . . . It is a platitude that this industrial hub, like the country itself, needs more manufacturing work. But as the 2012 presidential candidates roam the state offering ways to “bring the jobs back,” many manufacturers say that, in fact, the jobs are already here. What’s missing are the skilled workers needed to fill them. A metal-parts factory here has been searching since the fall for a machinist, an assembly team leader and a die-setter. Another plant is offering referral bonuses for a welder. And a company that makes molds for automakers has been trying for seven months to fill four spots on the second shift. “Our guys have been working 60 to 70 hours a week, and they’re dead. They’re gone,” said Corey Carolla, vice president of operations at Mach Mold, a 40-man shop in Benton Harbor, Mich. “We need more people. The trouble is finding them.”
In recent years, government officials have depicted white-collar jobs for college graduates as the way to go. President Obama has advocated sending every high-school graduate to college or some form of higher education, while denigrating training for blue-collar industrial jobs. He has sought to increase spending on colleges, while slashing spending on more useful vocational education that could lead to work in manufacturing. [See this July 10 New York Times story]. . . As The Washington Post notes, as senior skilled factory workers are retiring, no one is taking their place, since “many of the younger workers who might have taken their place have avoided the manufacturing sector because of the . . . stigma of factory work.” . . .
Meanwhile, 12.8 million people are unemployed, many of them people with economically-useless college degrees . . . Growing government subsidies have encouraged colleges to raise tuition at a rapid rate, and to dumb down their courses to attract marginal students . . . Federal financial aid programs have helped cause skyrocketing tuition increases. Meanwhile, college students learn less and less with each passing year. “Thirty-six percent” of college students learned little in four years of college, and students now spend “50% less time studying compared with students a few decades ago, the research shows.”