Saturday, July 3, 2010

No Good Workers

NYT article about how manufacturing companies seeking to expand in the US are having a a hard time finding qualified workers. It really highlights the problem with the public education system and also how difficult it is to "create jobs." The fact is that there are jobs but not enough people with basic skills as well as specialized skills. My company is also having trouble hiring manufacturing people, especially people with soldering skills. Besides soldering, workers need to have enough aptitude to learn how to use the computer program. That kind of aptitude is not something that can be remedied with a training program, but instead needs to be addressed in grade school. The article said that the labor shortage is because many manufacturers have replaced assembly lines with more automated systems so they need more skilled workers to operate computerized machinery. Similarly, the promise of "green jobs" has not materialized. When I interviewed at Synapse, I mentioned my concern about the logistics of transitioning the labor force to green jobs. It seems to me that it's hard to build public support for green projects at the expense of other businesses like coal unless the green jobs made available are explicitly for the people who will be put out of work.

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