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  • Americans not qualified for available manufacturing jobs

    BEDFORD, Ohio — Factory owners have been adding jobs slowly but steadily since the beginning of the year, giving a lift to the fragile economic recovery. And because they laid off so many workers — more than two million since the end of 2007 — manufacturers now have a vast pool of people to choose from.

    Yet some of these employers complain that they cannot fill their openings.

    Plenty of people are applying for the jobs. The problem, the companies say, is a mismatch between the kind of skilled workers needed and the ranks of the unemployed.

    [snip]

    As unlikely as it would seem against this backdrop, manufacturers who want to expand find that hiring is not always easy. During the recession, domestic manufacturers appear to have accelerated the long-term move toward greater automation, laying off more of their lowest-skilled workers and replacing them with cheaper labor abroad.

    Now they are looking to hire people who can operate sophisticated computerized machinery, follow complex blueprints and demonstrate higher math proficiency than was previously required of the typical assembly line worker.

    Makers of innovative products like advanced medical devices and wind turbines are among those growing quickly and looking to hire, and they too need higher skills.

    “That’s where you’re seeing the pain point,” said Baiju R. Shah, chief executive of BioEnterprise, a nonprofit group in Cleveland trying to turn the region into a center for medical innovation. “The people that are out of work just don’t match the types of jobs that are here, open and growing.”

    [snip]

    All candidates at Ben Venue must pass a basic skills test showing they can read and understand math at a ninth-grade level. A significant portion of recent applicants failed, and the company has been disappointed by the quality of graduates from local training programs. It is now struggling to fill 100 positions.

    “You would think in tough economic times that you would have your pick of people,” said Thomas J. Murphy, chief executive of Ben Venue.

    How many more people would be hired if manufacturers could find qualified candidates is hard to say. Since January, they have added 126,000 jobs, or about 6 percent of those slashed during the recession. The number may understate activity somewhat, as many factories have turned to temporary workers.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/02/bu...nFI3hgsOAVGgdg

    These manufacturers need to create jobs more in tune with what the education/indoctrination system is turning out, such as how to deconstruct and criticize US history and having self-esteem when you have no reason to.

    Thank you NEA!
    Last edited by Master Shake; 07-04-10, 09:07 AM.
    Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. -Groucho

  • #2
    Re: Americans not qualified for available manufacturing jobs

    Although I have some sympathy for the maths issue [has high school education really deteriorated that much?], I have no sympathy for employers who won't make the investment necessary to train their people to operate
    "sophisticated computerized machinery, follow complex blueprints". They should not be expecting the public school systems or some goverment subsidized training program to magically create people that can walk onto their factory floor and immediately start operating their specialized equipment.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Americans not qualified for available manufacturing jobs

      Originally posted by GRG55 View Post
      Although I have some sympathy for the maths issue [has high school education really deteriorated that much?], I have no sympathy for employers who won't make the investment necessary to train their people to operate
      "sophisticated computerized machinery, follow complex blueprints". They should not be expecting the public school systems or some goverment subsidized training program to magically create people that can walk onto their factory floor and immediately start operating their specialized equipment.
      "9th grade math" probably means elementary algebra. the employers may be concluding that if someone isn't capable of elementary algebra, they are not trainable to the level required.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Americans not qualified for available manufacturing jobs

        Originally posted by jk View Post
        "9th grade math" probably means elementary algebra. the employers may be concluding that if someone isn't capable of elementary algebra, they are not trainable to the level required.
        I would agree. But surely that level of math skills is not the norm for the cohort?

        Then again, maybe it is...I once had a temp fill in for my vacationing assistant. I asked her to prepare a cost document and manually on the hard copy insert a column showing the percentages of each line item. Even though she was a high school graduate she didn't know how to calculate a percentage...

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Americans not qualified for available manufacturing jobs

          Originally posted by GRG55 View Post
          I would agree. But surely that level of math skills is not the norm for the cohort?

          Then again, maybe it is...I once had a temp fill in for my vacationing assistant. I asked her to prepare a cost document and manually on the hard copy insert a column showing the percentages of each line item. Even though she was a high school graduate she didn't know how to calculate a percentage...
          the article that started this thread talks of "laying off more of their lowest-skilled workers." it's easy to believe that no math skills are present in THAT cohort. with the advent of calculators and automatic cash registers, there are many retail clerks who can't do arithmetic, let alone algebra. they can't even make change.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Americans not qualified for available manufacturing jobs

            Originally posted by jk View Post
            the article that started this thread talks of "laying off more of their lowest-skilled workers." it's easy to believe that no math skills are present in THAT cohort. with the advent of calculators and automatic cash registers, there are many retail clerks who can't do arithmetic, let alone algebra. they can't even make change.
            My wife and I had that experience at Pet Smart. Our purchase totaled $16.37. I handed her a $20. The girl rang it up, the cash drawer opened, but the register failed to read our change. She looked at us at first dumbfounded, then in a state of panic. I tried to walk her through the transaction but it was a no-go. Her supervisor bailed her out, concluding the transaction in short order.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Americans not qualified for available manufacturing jobs

              Originally posted by don View Post
              My wife and I had that experience at Pet Smart. Our purchase totaled $16.37. I handed her a $20. The girl rang it up, the cash drawer opened, but the register failed to read our change. She looked at us at first dumbfounded, then in a state of panic. I tried to walk her through the transaction but it was a no-go. Her supervisor bailed her out, concluding the transaction in short order.



              Next time hand her $20.37 and then watch the fun begin...

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Americans not qualified for available manufacturing jobs

                Count the change? They don't even know how to hand you the change. I'm sure you all know what I mean.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Americans not qualified for available manufacturing jobs

                  Originally posted by GRG55 View Post
                  Next time hand her $20.37 and then watch the fun begin...
                  better yet, $20.12

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Americans not qualified for available manufacturing jobs

                    Originally posted by jk View Post
                    better yet, $20.12
                    Or 20 wocu.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Americans not qualified for available manufacturing jobs

                      Originally posted by jk View Post
                      "9th grade math" probably means elementary algebra. the employers may be concluding that if someone isn't capable of elementary algebra, they are not trainable to the level required.
                      I suspect that's exactly what they mean.

                      I know that the Navy uses the ASVAB scores to that effect. If you don't score high enough in certain areas, especially math, then the Navy won't bother training you in a nuclear rating, as an example. It's also a complete scale, with higher scores required for the jobs that are more and more technical. Then again, the Navy is hardly comparable to a manufacturing business, even if both are industrial in nature. The same principle applies though; that your applicants have to have basic skill sets to work with.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Americans not qualified for available manufacturing jobs

                        American "employers" are always saying that. What they really should say is we cant find enough PHDs with 10 years experience in the field for minimum wage in the US. So they go to China or India and find them or they howl at Congress for some insourced HB-1 visas. American corporations do not want to train. I have never ever been offered training--you either have the skills or dont let the door hit you on the way out. The press trots out how an example of an ignorant American (hell I could find ignorant Swedes in Sweden for the purpose). Next some sector or business is lobbying for a handout. Boomers now are just trying to protect their privilege. To hell with the next generation --unless it's their children--and even then to hell with them. What you have in education is institutionalization. Bad private institutionalization usually--eventually (unless you are the power or phone company)--goes out of business. The business of education really cant go out of business. Everything k-12 is so over bureaucratized that any real teaching is difficult to achieve. What most corporations really want are compliant cattle/cannon fodder because it is the job of corps to deskill jobs so they pay as little as possible. "Standard of Living" is going to become a quaint notion in the years to come. We are too busy spending our capital on wars, end of life care, special education, and paying off the boomer and "greatest" generation debt.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Americans not qualified for available manufacturing jobs

                          I posted elsewhere in the thread with the Andy Grove article that I think the ability(if not the will) for US reindustrialization requires us to first answer the question of how we can turn(en masse) an out of work Starbucks Barrista with a BA in Art History into a well paid Nanotechnology Engineer.

                          I'm not confident we can.

                          We couldn't turn out of work steelworkers from Pittsuburg into Web Designers....they're all working at Wal Mart for minimum wage with lousy bennies......and that's if they're lucky.

                          I'm starting to think our future work force is going to look much like our current and unstable wealth distribution curve......with a small number of folks able to add incredibly high value and being paid accordingly(nanotechnologists, bleedying edge petroleum extraction engineers, life science/biotech studs, etc), a fast shrinking number of middle-class professionals drowning in student/housing debt having the rug pulled out from them via high level offshoring(lawyers, CPA/accountants, generic engineering, etc.), and an exploding number of folks at the bottom of the food chain with commoditized skills and obsolete/irrelevant education with high debt and a perpetual negative return on investment for it fighting for shrinking retail jobs with faster shrinking renumeration.

                          When I talk to young folks and learn about their shocking state of education debt combined with irrelevant degrees I just don't see how our existing higher education system is sustainable......just look at the recent example(NYTimes article) of a law school offering retroactive grade increases across the board to increase their competitiveness in a very soft job market...as if grade inflation will fix what is broken.

                          I use to criticise, mock, and worry about the Saudis funding their young citizens' university education, resulting in a country full of unemployable, frustrated, and restless islamic studies graduates........but in the US I wonder if it might be worse....since the student debt level is HUGE, cannot be forgiven under current bankruptcy law, and you simply swap out islamic studies for another degree that offers little to no tangible/relevant skillsets for the amount invested.

                          We've talked the US housing market crash to death(and it's continuing death spasms), but what of the US education market?

                          Since bailouts are the new black, I'm thinking $250+ billion or so to bail out US universities with an alternative energy research & development theme and push the sciences HARD again at the expense of underwater basket weaving.

                          Isn't the only way the US got on the moon in 1969 because of what US schools started to do by 1959(or earlier)?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Americans not qualified for available manufacturing jobs

                            Perhaps the US can learn a thing or two from the Chinese on vocational training.

                            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/c...r-Foxconn.html

                            By Malcolm Moore in Shanghai
                            Published: 4:30PM BST 02 Jul 2010

                            Students at a vocational school in the central Chinese province of Henan have been 'ordered' to work for Foxconn, the giant electronics manufacturer that has been plagued by a wave of suicides. Photo: AFP

                            Foxconn, which had revenues of $62bn (41bn), more than Apple, Dell or HP, manufactures a range of products for the world's leading electronics brands, including Apple's iPad and Sony's Playstation 3.

                            However, it was hit by a series of suicides at its factory in Shenzhen earlier this year, as workers complained of long hours, strict rules and loneliness. Foxconn had to double its monthly salary, to 2,000 yuan (200) in the face of a public outcry.

                            In response, Foxconn has said it will move a large number of its workers closer to their homes in central China and is planning a new factory in Henan. The China Daily, a state-run newspaper, said the company had drafted 100,000 students for three months to train them up in preparation for opening the new factory.
                            One of the students, named as 17-year-old Lin Feng, told the newspaper that he was forced to join Foxconn or face being thrown out of school.

                            Teachers informed the students on June 17 that they would have "nine days to leave, as ordered by the provincial government".
                            The transfer of the Foxconn plant to Henan would provide an enormous boost to local government revenues, and a town official in Zhengzhou told the China Daily he had received "clear internal orders" for each town to send Foxconn at least 100 people between 18 years-old and 45 years-old.

                            However, a spokesman from the labour department in Henan said no edicts had been ordered. "We did not organise the massive employment, nor did we give out any instructions," he said. "The vocational schools are in charge of their own arrangements. The students are going there voluntarily."

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                            • #15
                              Re: Americans not qualified for available manufacturing jobs

                              great catch, Master Shake. This describes the ongoing splitting of the global workforce into the economically irrelevant (the vast majority) and the knowledge worker / well moneyed.

                              More and more, we have a world where you either have deep skills or lots of money. Because of automation and efficiencies from the internet, your skills have become deeper and deeper if you want to join the middle/upper classes.

                              We need to restructure our economy so that everyone has a place in it - and I don't think that means make work / menial jobs like many are proposing.

                              We need to find satisfying work for everyone.

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