By Carol Costello
In the 80’s movie, "Flashdance," Alexandra Owens couldn’t wait to leave blue collar work behind. It wasn’t long before she said “goodbye blowtorch,” hello “fame.” Yes, it’s old fiction, but it neatly sums up where we are today.
Kim Barbano graduated from the University of Miami in 2008 with a degree in public relations. She has yet to find a job, yet the thought of taking this time to learn a trade is incomprehensible. “I think there is a lot of pressure to go to college and get a typical day job. And that isn’t working with your hands,” she said.
Let’s face it, there is little real passion for becoming electricians, manufacturing engineers, high-tech welders, plumbers or custom construction workers.
“There are still hundreds of thousands of jobs in manufacturing, but unfortunately people who are looking for jobs don’t necessarily have the skills to get into this field now,” says Chris Kuehl, with the Fabricators and Manufacturing Association.
According to a June, 2009 study by Deloitte LLP and The Manufacturing Institute, manufacturing topped the list of seven key industries as most important to the US economy, but only 17 percent of young Americans desire a job in manufacturing and only 30 percent of parents said they would encourage their children to learn a trade.
Matthew Crawford, who has a PhD in Political Philosophy, is saddened by those statistics. He proudly works with his hands and has written a book about it: “Shop Class as Soulcraft; An Inquiry Into the Value of Work.”
“I think we’ve developed an idea that if work is dirty, it must be stupid,” he says. “I think we've developed a kind of a one-track educational system where every kid has to go to college. I think the truth is some kids who are plenty smart would rather build things and fix things.”
The challenge for manufacturers is to change that attitude. They’re trying to do that by aggressively recruiting kids in junior high—hoping to convince them to run to blue collar jobs instead of running away from them.
I would like to know why our Tax monies for any military items are not mandated to be manufactured in the United States? Italy says we will shut down three of your air bases unless you make your pistols here.
So our tax money now helps support Italian workers, and leaves US workers at COLT and RUGER and other companies out of work.
Those air bases brought money into the region, and if they were gone, it would hurt the economy of that region, so they would probably have let them stay. IF not, screw em! During WWII, many plants changed what they were making and made other things. Singer Sewing Machine Co started making pistols. General Electric stopped making stoves and clothes washers and started making tanks. (I could be wrong on exact figs, but you get my drift). Now that this war
has been going on for so many years, why is our economy so bad?
Because we are not making the stuff we are paying for!!!!
My Mom made munitions at Winchester during WWII, now we let other countries make our bullets too!
And just like Jap Cars.....I dont care if they are made here, the money goes back overseas and makes them strong and us weak, to the point where we the taxpayers have to "bail out" the wrong doings of our politicians. If you dont think its all about politics, then look into what the last presidential executive order was by JFK, right before he was murdered. Give the money back to the treasury dept where it belongs and take it away from foreign banks (The FED).
Who are you kidding here…. I can’t believe anyone is stupid enough to believe this drivel. Blue collar and white collar engineering work has been dying in the U.S. for 20+ years.
A little story that really happened to me…. I worked for a small company for about 6 years,,,, The bean counter owner once came to me and told me that I needed to sell and perform more service work to help the bottom line…. I looked at him and asked him if I was selling the work and doing the work why do I need him to manage the work? That was the day he learned that I was the asset and he was the liability instead of the other way around, he never made a comment like that again.
It all started when bean counters started thinking of blue collar and engineers as liabilities instead of assets. The bean counters think that because they HAVE to pay us that we are liabilities and eat cash. Unfortunately they have yet to figure out that good employees bring in much more cash than what they cost in payroll.
I see it all the time and all I can do is shake my head in wonderment at the management level when I see direct employees (employees who’s labor is charged directly to a product) get laid off so the manager who is indirect (employees whose labor is charged to overhead) can look good on paper. I have seen a million times managers laying off an employee who’s skills take a life time to develop and wonder why they cant make their product anymore. I have seem many many times managers lay off factory workers left and right, in fact I have seen where the management lays off ½ the floor workers but lay off no managers.
There are a lot of jobs out there that take years to learn how to perform. I am a controls engineer and it takes 10 years to learn how to do the job right. But more and more I see companies farming out the work to lower costs engineering firms over seas and wondering why the product are junk.
When companies stop looking at employees as liabilities and start looking at them as assets things will change, but not until.
Interestingly, many of my "blue collar" buddies are retired at 55 yrs old. They own their home and a vacation home (or two) drive nice cars, and travel a couple times per year. What people don't understand is "living within your means", and "saving". It's all so simple... just few people can seem to do it. While I worked for 30+ yrs at the same company, I never took it for granted. Thus, I saved money to 'tide me over' if I became unemployed and had to find work. I did not spend lavishly, and drove all my cars for 10yrs of more. Then one day I looked at my net worth and found that I didn't have to work anymore... no secret. I will say this, I haven't had cable/satellite TV in my house in over 15 years, but used an antenna instead. I invested that money and it's value is close to $60,000... Maybe I'll buy a new car with some of it.
I have an engineering degree and a P.Eng license, so I'm in pretty good shape as far as qualifications go. Mind you, a lot of people who can't get work in this kind of field are in trouble because they refuse to relocate. Pride doesn't put food on the table, and if you really need a job, you should be willing to move to get it.
Part of the reason a lot of people avoid manufacturing is prestige; our society measures you not by how much you contribute to society, but by how much you extract from it. Everybody wants high-pay, low-work glamour jobs, like advertising, or "sleek businessman who inks deals and makes millions by playing games with other peoples' money".
I am the economist from the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association that was quoted in the piece. There is a lot more to this story that makes the time alloted. There is no suggestion that the economy is healed now and that all will be well soon but there is more reason for optimism than there was even three or four monjths ago.
The issue of jobs in manufacturing is guaranteed to create controversy and it stems from the fact that no company in the world just "manufactures". A company manufacturers a specific product for a specific need and is paid by a specific customer. This makes for massive differences in success in a given community – according to who is making what for whom.
The data is clear. In the last eighteen months the economy has been hard on almost every sector of manufacturing but in the last two months a turnaround has started to manifest itself. The PMI shows new orders at 66.5 and an overall PMI number of 55.6. The CMI has been showing growth in sales and in availability of credit. The economist at Alliance Berstein has stated that the sector as a whole is on the verge of a boom unmatched in 20 years. There is evidence of recovery every day but it will not be universal – it never is.
There are jobs available but there are new problems this time. It is not easy to move to parts of the country where a job is when one can't sell the house or a spouse can't replace their job. It is too many people in the wrong place with the right skills or in the right place with the wrong skills.
If anyone is interested in some of this data and other commentary – go to http://www.fmanet.org and click on the Fabrinomics – e-newsletter tab.
Just remember my favorite definition of an economist – someone who explains tomorrow why the predictions they made yesterday didn't come true today.
While it may be true that manufacturing topped the list of key U.S. industries, the value of manufacturing may not necessarily be reflected in the U.S. employment sector.
As several readers have already commented, much manufacturing has left the U.S. since the late 1970s. The manufacturing that is vital to national defense – defense-related ship building, aerospace, and electronics – are still in the U.S. But these represent but a fraction of the manufacturing jobs that once were available in this country.
The recession of the early 1980s saw the demise and disappearance of several industries from the U.S: steel, domestic shipbuilding, machine tools.
With respect to the building trades, I agree with others who have noted that construction activity is so much reduced that there is no need for carpenters, masons, etc. Given the financial crises of both the residential and commercial building sectors, I believe it will be several years before we see a rebound, and I think caution on the part of potential home buyers and commercial tenants will result in the level of construction activity not approaching the 2005 levels for several or many years.
So, be careful what you write. There will always be a need for skilled tradespeople, but there is no plethora of blue collar jobs out there.
I am an engineer and have been for 30 years. With the downturn of the manufacturing and construction sectors, there are quite a few engineers out of work and the future looks bleak indeed.
I got canned by an a'hole from India a year ago with an 8 yr old H1B1 visa/virus. Have not been offered a single interview yet. I don't know if "we" are in a depression but, I sure as hell am.....
I've been an electrician for 35 years and in the trade for 40. High school and apprenticeship graduate. Most of today's applicants for our trade do not have the basic skills needed in our trade, such as reading, writing and arithmetic. Most have not graduated high school. Most folks think blue collar jobs do not require them. We must bring manufacturing jobs back from overseas and teach our young that blue collar is a respectable profession.
What drug is the author on? I know electricians that haven't had a job in 3 years. As far as engineering gos, there is a reason why young people don't want to be engineers. The job sucks. Lots of unpaid OT, and when you get to be 40+, they get rid of you and get a young kid. You can be a loyal employee for 30, 40 years, and they basically fire you. You really can't always pick your retirement date !!!, Management will assign you one.
I went to Trade school for 4 years to learn a Trade and have 35 years as a Pipefitter/Welder, 20 of those years as Machinist /Millwright, and 11 years as a working supervising a team of skilled Tradesmen.
In the thirty five years I have never stopped learning from "on the job" experience. My knowledge of the skilled trades along with my experience will unfortunately not be passed down to the next generation.
My experience with the job market is that all companies are only willing to pay for entry level Maintenance workers, and believe that the skilled tradesmen with vast experience are not worth hiring due to salary expectations.
"I say oh well your loss"
I can not help but being skeptical about stories that say we just need to be retrained. I lost my job when United Airlines outsourced their heavy maintenance overseas. Do you know what the government wanted to retrain aircraft mechanics and inspectors to be? Truck drivers! The only jobs left are low wage service jobs and we are competing with illegals for those jobs. But we pay taxes and they don’t, so we make less.
The reality is... we have been told for sometime now that what America's leaders wanted fot a work force was 'service industry'. We have intentionally dumbed down the workforce specifically to create that too.
Even worse is the fact that the colleges and universitie, churn out thousands of poorly educated 'wanna be's ' that really do not learn the academic arts any better than the skilled trades they are sying away from, and then, they have the audacity to look down their nose at the blue collar 'service workers' as if some how they were superior human beings.
Now... it is difficult for anyone to come by a job... I have a tremendous skill set, higher education and border on mastery of several different trades... it ws tough for me to find a job after having been self employed for most of my life.. but when the economy was lacerated by the money managers.. I lost assets it took me literally years to acquire through hard hard work. I personally feel that it was all intentional... that we were stripped of our pitiful lil bit of the American Dream, primarily to force the working class to accept lower wages. Why would the leadership of our country do such a thing? Well, because they need to compete with lower wage workers in other countries that compete in the manufacturing industry. Yuppie college kids have little skill, and even less work ethic yet the feel the world owes them a living, and the skilled work force is looked down on because they are 'merely service workers;' and so they too should be paid less...
Folks... the leaders of our country... created this scenario.. and they were helped by well meaning blue collar parents that wanted a better life for their children... but unfortunately... they spoiled thier kids... and so now... here we are.
As a training coordinator for plumber and pipefitter apprenticeship, the current downturn has affected the work now. But there are two things in construction when work is down it's going to go up, and when it's up it's going to down. but the fact that there are 86 million baby boomer that are now starting to retire and replacement generation is 46 million the numbers don't add up. there will be a shortege of skill labor, sooner then later. The fact the education system has removed indusrtial arts programs from schools except in rual area's, has created a generation that does not have the skills to become a skill worker,lacking math, etc. I see it everyday in applicants that cannot handle basic math or algebra. there is no dishonor on being a skill craftsman. there was a time that if a master craftsman picked a young person to be an apprentice that was consider an honor and privelidge. By removing trades program from schools we have taken away oppertunties to instill confidence in a young person, not to be afraid to use a tool or equipment. Schools have the respondsabillty to provide all paths to sucess. Somebody has to build the colleges, hospitals, etc and maintian them.
I don't blame companies for rejecting people for being overqualified – they don't want to spend the time and money to train you only to have you leave the second you get a higher paying job that fits your education. If you really want those jobs, leave off your education on your resume. Taco Bell doesn't need to know you have a Master's, and play down the rest of your experience to make you seem a bit more entry level.
As for the rest of you who are unemployed, you should first go read "Who moved my cheese." Then, look at the job prospects in your town over the next few months and take a long hard look at reality. If you have been unemployed for more than 6 months and you don't have any prospects, you need to be enrolling in a trade school NOW. Become a nurse, become an accountant, get into a trade school and become an electrician or plumber. Go to your library and get language tapes for free and learn a critical language...this is not the time to watch your old DVD collection! GO LEARN A NEW TRADE, your old job is not coming back!
I have an engineering degree and a mathematics degree, graduated both with honors. I have superior automotive mechanical skills to include on-board engine control computer programming for custom tuning whether performance oriented or for maximum fuel efficiency. I also am a highly skilled Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) technician in both Solidworks and Pro/Engineer Wildfire. You'd think these skills combined with my education would be enough to get me into a manufacturing job somewhere in the neighborhood of fabrication, perhaps CNC machining. Unfortunately, for the past 7 months I've landed 2 interviews and no call-backs or even a rejection letter. I'm thinking to put my own skills to work since employers do not see the value I add to their company.
two years ago,i was making $39.00a hr welding structral steel and putting conveyors together.now the same job is only paying $8.50 to 12.00 in mi., i wont open my toolbox for that nor will i weld something together either.i'll go on welfare before i do,have my rent paid,have med. ins.,food stamps.,so go ahead big gov. keep sending all the jobs oversea's i think most people are fed up with the b.s.so much for...for the people
I agree with Timmy! Outsourcing ought to be a felony!
I think we may be headed for a time when we quit paying taxes and live on the land. You do not need a job to survive only a small farm. We can grow our own food. The difference is the products we grow will not be sold for money. It is only paper and not worth anything. Spices will be the next money. I wonder what will happen to the people with all that money!
We even have a drop off in interest in skilled jobs like medicine and nursing. Docs and nurses get covered with blood, vomit, pee and poop. Everybody wants a nice clean office job.
time to wake up...the rest of the world is catching up...the American way of life (gluttony and waste...) will no longer be subsidized by a growing global population competing for finite natural resources. The reality is that the US will continue to see a decline in it's standard of living until it reaches equilibrium with the rest of the planet. Unless, of course the final world war intervenes to correct an exploding population...unfortunately, nature has a way of correcting disequilibrium; several extinction events have been initiated, and what will be left of the human race will probably be small pockets of hunter gatherers. Spend time with your families...time is short.
"I think the truth is some kids who are plenty smart would rather build things and fix things.”
True. Kids especially young boys aspire to be engineers and architects. However what they see in media baffles them. We have sports folks and media folks making millions just based on their athletic abilities and looks alone, as well as lawyers in the fray along with them. This makes them more inclined to move into these areas rather than being techies who would build things. The fact is that what techies earn is nothing compared to what doctors and lawyers make. So it is not glamorous as these professions are for the kids. We are just paying the price for high flying lawyers whose only mantra is to break families and homes and eventually this country for their greed.
"We need to send all of these so called educated foriegners back where they came from and that should be American Law!"
Globalization was the idea of industralized countries including this country. Now crying foul is like accepting the foreigners are not only more skillful but also more efficient and provide a better return for the companies that employ them. It would unfair to treat these foreigners most of whom are immigrants , who would eventually become citizens of this country, as second rate citizens or calling them names! They pay all their bills and taxes including social security without expecting or getting the benefits. We need them as much as they need us for a vibrant economy. Please remember the fore-fathers of this country were immigrants and that you too are a descendent of an immigrant! Sending then back not only smacks of "racism" but also your feeling of inferiority.
This message is for Jenga...... AGREED!
Manufacturing is a complex job and certainly requires very high level talent and not just skills obtained over time through inhouse training. Excellent knowledge of Manufacturing high end turnaround skills like Six Sigma, Kaizen, Kepnor Tregeo, VSSM, DOE, PFMEA,DFMEA ,APQP are critical to streamlining Manufacturing Processes and Product Manufacturing. This are the skills most people dont have and are highly needed not necessarily the workshop skills like tools and die, Milwright, CNC which can be developed inhouse. Having a degree in Manufacturing and developing key experience is what many manufacturing companies are looking for especially Automotive Industry. Developing inhouse skills such as trade is not the top bar of succeeding in a manufacturing career or a filter to protect such people from being laid off. Understanding of manufacturing industry and the high level need requirements is what is improtant to contribute in the industry and not necessary the guy who reports to the workshop with a tool box and a cup of coffee.
This article, and so many others like it, perpetuate the misunderstanding that unemployment is a personal problem, rather than a function of a mismanaged economy. The message this writer (and the people for whom she writes) is sending is that there are plenty of great manufacturing jobs out there if only the unemployed (that's you) were personally able to take advantage of them–if you had the skills, the degree, the flexibility to move, the right attitude, the motivation, etc.
Further, the author would have you believe that everything you know and have observed to be true about the economy, unemployment, and the transfer of jobs from the US to other countries, is simply wrong. You are wrong. Your unemployment problems, like those of your friends, neighbors, and family members are simply personal problems that you would not be experiencing if only you had planned your life better. You poor, poor misguided blue collar person!
How revolting. How irresponsible! The current economic crisis is not a personal problem caused by poor planning, a mismatch of skills, or the inability of skilled persons to relocate to where the jobs are. It's a national problem, a world wide problem actually that will require changes in policy at the highest levels. It's outrageous that CNN would even try to encourage anyone to believe otherwise.
This article starts off bad. "Let’s face it, there is little real passion for becoming electricians, manufacturing engineers, high-tech welders, plumbers or custom construction workers." Are you kidding. This writer is in la la land.
Out-sourcing is a major problem for the US job environment. The rich who own the out-sourcing companies are making more money than ever by paying workers less in other countries while selling their products here for the same prices as before. What they don't seem to realize is their genius system will lead to Americans who cannot afford their products, so they will be forced to lower their prices. This trend will continue until the standard of living in the US is the same as that in foreign nations, at which time it will become cheaper to make the products here due to smaller shipping costs and a reduction in the coordination costs required to do business overseas.
We the people are the only ones left responsible enough to stop this. WE must demand our elected officials engage in stopping and reversing this trend (and if they do not, vote them out of office). History has shown again and again that if the people do not stand up and demand change then our freedoms will be taken away until there is no longer a chance for change.
Note to Bob...you are right.....you probably can't find a job with architectural or tool and die.....but if you found some experience or went back to CAD school to learn mechanical, electrical or civil design, I would bet you could find a job...probably where you are living and I don't even know where that is. Don't give up...expect a boom between 2011 and 2016.....your ship WILL come in.....all the best.
Blue collar worker here, laid off 20 months ago. I occasionally pick up some freelance work, but it is sporadic at best and I’ve worked an average of 8 hours a week over the last 20 months.
Tell me again about the shortage for tradesmen……..please. I need to hear a good bedtime fable.
I'm becoming convinced that the National Media is pumping crap stories like this to "keep the mushrooms in the dark, and feed us B.S."
I've got almost 30 years in a "skilled trade". I don't own a house, so I can relocate easily. I've been out of work seven months, and have gotten ONE return call/e-mail. And it was because they got my resume mixed up with someone else's.
30-40% of the guys in my line of work have been kicked to the curb. A bunch of the remainder are on 24-32 hour workweeks. This, in supposedly, a "healthy" industry (aerospace).
Basically, the so called "economy" shrank to it's "actual" size, once the cheap money Ponzi scheme was blown up. And there is no "growth" generator on the horizon, unless you count packing up stuff to mail to China.
The PTB don't want the mushrooms to figure this out, until they've finished loading up what's left of the economy on their yachts and Gulfstreams, and disappear into the sunset.
I almost find this amusing. A few weeks ago it was "top ten jobs" and everyone was laughing at the fact that just about all 10 were unobtainable to the average middle aged person. Now you come with this about skilled trades.
Connecticut is the richest state in the United States of America. The United States of America is the richest Country in the World. So all of the electricians, sheetmetal, carpenters, fitters, and everyone in the Hartford area are basically out of work because the Casino's stopped building, as enough money was not forthcoming. If it was not for Yale, the New Haven area would be really bad as well. I have been out of work for over 4 months, and only worked for 4 after being out for 4. In the 28 years I have as an electrician, I have 19 full year credits, and the rest are points of a year. Every ten years there is always a slow down, its a cycle that has always come around, except I worked most of the Clinton years, and was out most of the Bu** years.
I feel that term limits in senate and congress is the only solution to many of our problems. When you have people like dodd and liberman in for years and years, jobs that were never meant to be life time positions, they owe not to the people, but to big business their dedication and time.
As a free enterprise economy in a democracy, lets take "levi" jeans as an example, I as the owner have to right to move my plant over seas and lay off hundreds and hundreds of American Workers who were paying into social security. Lets say I was asking 40 dollars for a pair of jeans at that time, because I was paying into unemployment comp and health care and taxes and osha and all kinds of insurance costs. So now I move my plant to China, and they give me 8-12 year old kids that will work 7 days a week 18 hours a day. Wow the money Im gonna save. No osha coming around wondering what Im doing with the die to get the blue color, or the fact Im putting it into the water supply, I dont have any bothers as the communists have a tight control upon my workers who have no rights. So now I only have to pay 2 dollars for my jeans. Whats even better, when I ship em back into the USA they dont charge me any tarriffs (and all I had to do was pay a few buck to some senators and congressmens nephews to get them through college, no money was exchanged so I will never get caught..... and so now I can make almost 35 dollars profit on each pair. I will just set up an off shore account so I dont have to pay any taxes on that extra income.
So if my little "fantasy" has any truth in it, then why? Should not the USA turn around and make this guy pay 50 dollars a pair to bring in these pants, make it so difficult for him, that he wont go to another country????? Wake up before its too late I dont know if your vote counts, as the owners of computer only voting and hanging chads can make it seem any way they want. Everyone should have the same voting, a paper backup that is easy to understand and not fallible to misinterpretation. Then when you know your voting system is not a fraud, then you may get good people back in who really care.
Thanks for your time, God Bless You All and Happy New Year !!!!!
This is just about the stupidest thing I've read in a while. Where are these jobs they are talking about? My relative, a skilled welder can only find work though temp agencies. Another relative, with lots of manufacturing experience, lives in a place where all the plants are long gone. With layoffs and plant shutdowns, there is no stability in manufacturing in the United States. If an American wants a job in a manufacturing plant, they had better learn Chinese and be willing to move overseas.
I have absolutely no idea where you are getting your data from. I have worked in the construction industry (electrical/telephone construction-back office) and for the local builing trades for over 15 years. At the present time there is extremely high UNEMPLOYMENT. 25% of our members are unemployed, losing their homes and having difficulty paying every day expenses.
I have to agree with most of the posters here: there really are not manufacturing jobs here. I worked for a small manufacturer in Ohio in the early 1990's. It was one of the few to survive the implosion that bagan in the 1970's...and continues. It promoted from within as the skills needed for the niche it survives in cannot be learned elsewhere. Management was for family members.
As for making more things 'illegal', that ulitmately results in simply not getting any interview or letter of rejection. Why open the company up to a potential lawsuit?
What the fine gentleman doesnt tell you is that as soon as the manufacturing jobs dissapear your sent to the street on your kiester. How many stories have you heard of folks working 35 years for a company then they are laid off, with no skills and no job prospects not to mention your pension and health care gone after the CEO's raid the penison fund run the company into the ground or both. Sound familar. I worked at GE building turbines got laid off, earned a computer science degree and im still underemployed. So who ever wrote t his article needs to tell this marlakey to someone else.
We must have manufacturing in this country. We cannot produce wealth just on 'services'. When I go to Home Depot or any major retailer for that matter, I struggle to find things made in the US. A carpet knife I bought the other day had the lablel "American Standard"... it was made in China.
It may be too late for Americans to wake up and stop buying socks from China because they cost a dollar less. It's amazing that they froze their currency against ours (to help their exports), then they pirate the things we make (software, movies, written works), then they dump cheap products on our stores to destroy our companies.
I'll sum it up... Throughout history, the person or country that controls the means of production ends up wealthy. We lost much of that, and we must get it back by any means possible.
You know at one time LABOR controlled the blue collar work.
They trained the young sons and daughters.
Provided for there health care.
Helped pay older retiree's pensions.
Young people saw a future in the trades.
Somebody voted for Ronald Reagan.
The fall of LABOR began with him and corporate american greed.
bob, is your degree in Architectural Drafting or did you take a class or two in Architectural Drafting? Seriously.....maybe an AA degree.....right? It just seems that having a degree in that would be similar to having a degree in typing
We've lost all respect in this country for people who are skilled in hands-on problem solving. We also have lost respect for the people who fix our cars, keep the elevators running in our high-rise office buildings, invent and build the high tech equipment used by the medical profession, and more. Our federal government allocated billions of tax-payer dollars to stimulate the economy a year ago, and so far all they've done is save government jobs at the state and local level. Putting money and tax-incentives directly in the hands of America's manufacturers for hiring and training the next generation of skilled workers so that we never have to outsource another job to China or India would be a better use of that money.
The U.S. didn't become a world power as a service industry nation. It was because we could build airplanes and tanks faster than our enemies could shoot them out of the sky or blow them up during WWII. Manufacturing has always be the primary way a country builds wealth. If we want to remain a world power, we need to remember that and our elected officials need to figure out how to encourage manufacturing to stay in this country and grow.
It's an old trick. If you want young, low-cost workers you announce a sudden need for workers in a particular field. It doesn't mean there is a shortage of workers.. it means there is a shortage of cheap workers.
I left P&G 3 years ago willing at age 46. I had been running my own excavating waste water treatment compay on the side for several years. I was told being of a certain race in not so many words my promotions where finished. Best move I ever made, I found a biz that is still smoking in the economy.
Point find something you like doing and make it work. No more PC crap. I pay my guys for how good they are regardless of AGE, RACE or EDUCATION. Thats what the US needs to get back to.
Well, I'm sick of hearing people blame everyone else for their problems. Our society has become the blame society. We need to start standing up to big government and big companies. It's time to say enough! Jobs are here but big bosses have stole all money. These crazy salaries and bonuses for executives is nausiating. It's like sports no one is worth that much money. They need to give some back to the people who really make their buisness sucessful. The middle class will soon be extinct, that is what the government and big buisness really want.
I worked as a skilled tradesman for 34 years. I did not encourare my sons to go into the trade The money has not kept up It seems all the money goe to the people at the top It seems you need a degree or you don't know anything
To Jenga: FYI "over qualified" and.or "made too much in the last job" actually means they think you are too old. It is the way employers get around the ade discrimination rules.
I had a blue collar job at a aerospace manufacturing facility here in CT.
It was family owned which meant i was underpaid and all of management were of relation to the companies ownership and drove porsches and had 500k homes and I could barely afford to live in town.
Manufacturing is a good idea if you are related to the owners otherwise get your ass in college where people have to earn a job next to you rather than inherit one. either that or hityourself in the head with a hammer so you think slower and maybe getting screwed over wont seem to sting so much. I'm sure the owners relatives would love a fresh batch of new slaves to earn them high incomes.
Its true that kids are lead to believe that blue collar jobs are for idiots, and their parents and schools are extremely ignorant for teaching them that. There are alot of high paying respectable jobs in the trade and technical industries. I know alot of electricians and engineers who make ALOT of money, have great jobs, are extremely intelligent but prefer to use their heads as well as their hands and get dirty. Those jobs are high in demand.
The problem also lies in who's hiring them. Most hiring managers are from this generation, low to middle management now know nothing of the position and believe that a person must know certain software, techniques, and equipment they themselves know nothing of but want to pay an entry wage. I can think of dozens of these that i have learned over the years, many are proprietary so if a person doesn't work at this company how is he or she supposed to know how? Its called training. No one wants to train right now, but the ideal candidate is always someone who is experienced and doesnt need training, has worked there for at least 5 yrs and wants to make a starting wage. Makes sense? Ive read many technical and engineering job descriptions and the all have the same pattern. They are locked up!
I am a generator technician and I work at hospitals, telecom facilities etc. I make alot of money, more than alot of our customers paying for me to be there and they know it and hate me for it. Sometimes the job is hell. I work outside alot in the winter, get dirty and stink of diesel fuel. I get looked down on alot usually, but when a generator goes down at a hospital and people could die the table turns quickly. There is so much out there and so much to know. It takes a certain person who can do this by his or herself, be self motivated, resourceful enough to network or quickly find information by his or herself(sometimes at 4am in -15 deg weather-alone) independent, make snap decisions based on liability, and moral obligations which could be millions of dollars.
But yet I am just a blue collar loser? Doesnt bother me. It is almost impossible for me to lose my job, If I did I could quickly find another. Not to many people know how to do this, It takes years of technical classes and exp no college can teach this. Alot of it is learn on my own. I pretty much do what I want when I want. Alot of times I am above the law, so to speak. Pretty much no one can touch me. My immediate managers would get fired before I would, I have seen them come and go. Its a good place to be esp right now.
The technical trade can be a very positive area to get into, esp right now when everyone is tought to avoid it and technicians are really needed.
One very smart self made man I know, whom is also one customer, told me, "Where there is a need, there is an opportunity." He was a carpenter for years who became an electronic engineer. He is self employed inventor who designs and sells gadgets and makes millions.
If anyone should be a role model, it should be him.
I have been a blue colar worker all of my life. Why is it that athletes that and performers that only produce fleeting moments of entertainment make so much money while those of who break our backs and bodies to produce durable goods and services can barely survive? Why does 20 plus years of experience count less than a degree when applying for a position or promotion?
I could go on and on but will leave it here for others to follow -on.
You're dead on when you say that the manufacturing industry has many job openings for SKILLED labor and EXPERIENCED and EDUCATED engineers. I work for a Fortune 500 food company and we currently have 15-20 open engineering positions and even more for skilled laborers. So, I can't really say there's no jobs. To get one you may need to step up your qualifications, be willing to move or take a slight pay cut. I did all three when I took my current job in 2008, I can honestly say I'm happy.
I'm an engineer and I found out that many mechanics, welders and pipe fitters are making what I make or more!! So if a kid wants to go to trade school, then encourage him by all means. A decade from now, a good 4-year degree will cost $150k with a starting salary of only $60k, all while working for someone else. The same kid could go to trade school for <$25k, make more money and easily form his own business. If I could do it all over again, I'd seriously consider option 2.
There are huge changes coming !
Virtually all human productive effort in goods and services will be replaced by machines. Our present Economy of Scarcity will be replaced by an Economy of Plenty !
"Jobs" will be sought not to earn money (little if any will be needed), but in order to gain prestige and to occupy one's time in a perceived useful way - in order to avoid cabin fever.
It sounds fantastic. Yes, I know.
Now, go back in time and proceed to explain automobiles, airplanes, satellites, TVs, computers, cell phones, GPS, iPhones etc, etc to the Pilgrims landing in the Massachusetts-to-be ! Ho-ho : What fun to watch ! Get those stakes set and that kindling ready and burning !
Jenga, I hate to put this harshly. But you are not, nor is any other "white" collar employee Overqualified for the Skilled Manufacturing positions mentioned in this article. Although these positions are considered Blue Collar, they require a entirely different skill set than is provided by a degree in the liberal arts, business, or communications.
Working in welding, machining, tool & die, and drafting all require specific Skills which require education and often apprenticeships. Unfortunately, many kids today don't realize that these skilled trades are viable professions and don't know how to pursue them.
I feel like the answer in a lot of cases is to start your own company, even if it is a company of just one employee – you. Figure out how to do what you would do for a big company on a very small scale, in your garage or spare bedroom and start undercutting the companies that refuse to hire you. They have overhead and a slew of employees, you don't. This is The Art Of War playing out right in front of you and their weaknesses are your strengths. Most potential customers would rather work with you than a wet-behind-the-ears college kid anyway. You already know the companies that a big corporation would approach to secure contracts. What in the world is stopping you all from going out and getting those companies as your clients? You know how to pitch them, what to say to get their attention. You start small and as you achieve each level you move up in accordance with that. I design and print wallpaper. I didn't have the space or money to buy and install huge printing machines or do screenprint. Instead, I did research to find out how I could print wallpaper in a very small setting. Then I taught myself how to do the printing based on what I knew from taking art classes and reading about different printing processes and theories. I am now in my 6th year. We can take back these jobs that are going overseas, we just have to be proactive and persistent. Stop relying on others to do it for you.
If only half of the nimbys ( not in my back yard ) out their that bit off more than they could chew, paid there bills like the rest of us, we would't be in this mess. I did not build my McMansion and buy my new cars and act like I had more money than I do, for a simple reason, I still have what I have, because I could afford it from the start.
No Jenga you are not the only one who sees the pattern.
Let's not forget how employers are low-balling the salaries yet requiring 2-5 years experience and a B.S. degree all for a whopping $35,000/yr.
Huh...Experience means nothing!
Did you pull this story out of the 2005 archives? This has got to be the most ridiculous article I've ever read on CNN. 'Skilled Labor in High Demand'?!! Really! In 2010? The unemployment rate is 10%, which doesn't include people who have given up looking for work. 'Only' 85000 jobs were lost in December! Our local newspaper here in New Mexico has one column (!) of job ads on any given day. This writer deserves the 'Janet Napolitano Tone Deafness' award. Really goofy. Tell us where those jobs are, and I guarantee the lines of applicants will be down the street for miles. What parallel universe are you in?
I am employed at a job shop in Wisconsin and we are just barely holding on. It seems the only ones who are getting hired have to speak Spanish to communicate with their coworkers.
you have to get dirty in the trades, as I am a Millwright. I find alot of people would rather have a computer job than slop through hydraulic oil, coolant and god knows what else is the machines that we work on. I had many operators say how can you stand that smell or how much did your tools cost. Dirt almost always comes off and we do get paid well for what we do but yu have to do an appreticeship. You start at a low wage and you have to buy your own tools and then you get to where you are a millwright 5 years later but alot of people want the money now and can't wait so they take the piece work jobs and instead of going to school and getting a trade. These are the people that cry when the jobs dry up. Yes they operated the same machine for 20 years but thats all they did. Life gets in the way but they did nothing to see the future and now it not thier fault in thier eyes its some body else.
Suck it up buttercup and get into school and get a trade, you'll never regret it!
Nurses are high paid? Hmmmmmm. Perhaps when compared to other jobs, but they are not that high paid. How do I know? I am a nurse and have been for many years. Nursing is a field that requires a great deal of back-breaking work. Yes, if we work overtime and consider part of our life, then we can make a great deal of money. I personally do not know a lot of nurses who "want" to work these extra hours to pay the bills, but they have to just so they do not lose their homes. Yes I can find a job just about anywhere just because of the field that I am in. High paid? Ha, I wish. Overworked? Yes we are. The sad thing is that I know newly graduated nurses that cannot get work because they lack the experience.......wait I thought we had a nurse shortage.......sorry cannot hire you no experience. Makes about as much sense as being over-qualified for a job. If I wanted to get a job at Target or McDonald's I would be turned because I am over-qualified. What is wrong with this picture? Over qualified...vs.....under qualified. Oh my.
I have a college degree and have tried to get a blue collar job – One job interview the ride in the elevator was longer than the interview.
At one job interviewed the interviewee stated that they did not want to insult me by offering me the job for the amount of pay they were offering (I had informed them I knew the salary and was alright with it). The “not to offend”, is the thing I hear most often – the offense is letting me think I had a shot then using that lame excuse.
I have been turned down for jobs because of my degree – by companies that have said they couldn't find Americans willing to take the job for the salary offered.
I have gotten certificates that were not in my field of study Computer Programming and Medical Billing and have been asked why was I NOT looking for employment associated with my degree. What lead me to getting training in these fields different from my college degree.
GIVE ME A BREAK!!
What a joke! We have lost close to 15 million jobs in this Recession/Depression. Talk to any CPA and they will tell you that we are in a Depression! How do I know this. I am married to an Accountant!
I have worked as a machinist/tool&die maker for 25 years. I have seen a 50 cent pay raise in the last 11 years! I currently make $14 per hour. Fortunately I am still working. It takes a lifetime to learn this profession because the technology is constantly changing. Meadville, Pennsylvannia was the Tooling/Mold Making capital of the world. You could write your own paycheck because of the overtime pay. It was not uncommon to make $50,000+ per year. Now the trade is decimated!Many Tool/Mold shops have gone under. This is not a job that you learn overnight. It takes the same skill as a person with a BA and four years of experience.
Why would anyone want to go into this trade? Especially when you have to compete with someone in China that will probably replace you for $2.00 an hour! All the manufacturers want is to get rid of the guys with 15 plus years of experience and hire a bunch of young people for next to nothing and keep them there. And to answer another question, I am not a union worker.
The most accessable "Skilled labor" job is that of Auto Mechanic. Having seen first hand how this skilled job is treated, and how little of the price people pay per hour for work on their cars actually goes to the highly trained, skilled worker (who by the way most often has to supply 20 to 30+ thousand dollars worth of their own tools just to do their job), I understand why most people assume labor intensive jobs are less desireable. As a country we need to support the concept that thoes who actually do the work should get paid at least as much as the desk jockey who schedules the appointment!
Now what are we to believe, claims made by Chris Kuehl and the Fabricators and Manufacturing Association or the unemployment statistics that have been published by every state and the Federal Government?
I AM a construction worker, I USED to build new homes and some remodeling. Till the illegal migrants migranted north. Then I cost too much. They sent all their dinero's south, so then did the factories. The house planting season is over for now, due to flooding of the market.
And no factories hiring people to buy them, very minor construction. NOW I've got to compete against the unemployed pencil pushers.
Hope we have enough band-aids.
It always seems easy to me when someone with a high paying job can tell other people with a college education they should look for something less than what they spent a good of time and money to achieve, a college education. It is easy to tell someone to settle for less than they had hope for in life. Did you settle for less with CNN?
I had to do that settle for less, I had to put my college degree aside and make a living. That has become the biggest regret of my life. I took a job because I had to earn a living. While studying to earn my college degree I believed I would have a career; I ended up with was a job. There is a huge different between a job and a career. The thing is I did enjoy my blue collar job. It was back breaking hard work, there would be days I get home and be so tired all I wanted to was lay-down. I gave that job all of me; I foolishly believed I could work myself up to a promotion. I learned everything I could about my job and the other jobs within the company. The one thing I didn’t count on where the people about me; my supervisor, and manager, did not have college degrees not one them. I was always skipped over. I was the only person in my unit that had a college degree. When I did asked why I wasn’t getting promoted, there were no longer any job openings. I wrote letters and complain to HR. It turned out the managers was good friends with the head of HR. My complaints where never addressed.
When looking for a “career” at other places they take one look at the job I was at and wonder what was wrong with me. “With your degree you should be higher in the company”. I could wish I had a dime for every time I heard that.
What I would tell young people coming out of college and are having a hard time getting their career started. Get the job for the bills, but never stop looking for your career.
The needing of high skilled laborers is a fact, and it is just really depressing the low percentege of people interested on this type of jobs. If there was at least 30% or 40% of kids interested on high skilled labor, the country would be really satisfied, there wouldn't be so many problems with the economy, and they would even encourage people on gaining interest on these jobs. It's really tragical that the percentege is so low, because in my opinion the country, and even the whole world would be an exellent place if the statics weren't the way they are.
Um see heres the problem.
A.) Much of the manufacturing sector has been shipped to overseas low cost sweatshops.
Therefore much of Generation X and Y were bred to learn to work in computer related corporate jobs all the way from call center workers to application developers.
Now corporate America shipped not only the core infrastructure manufacturing jobs overseas, now our white collar jobs are going overseas too now.
B.) The MESSED UP part of this, is many of us laid off office workers would gladly work in a factory or Taco Bell just to save our homes and cars!
But unfortunately, Now that us white collar workers are applying for these lower paid positions that are available. We're told we're overqualified. Nice Catch 22 huh?
My Proposed Solution: We need congress to act to make job rejections based on "overqualified" or "made too much at last job" illegal decline reasons.
Then those of us that have been putting out 200 applications getting rejected due to "overqualified" can humbly get back to work and save our homes.
Am I the only one seeing this Catch 22 Pattern guys?
This comment is for Timmy. I think it is not that hard to be a nurse because my sister in law and I came from Hong Kong. She was not very good in her secondary education over there. She still became a nurse in US. On the other hand, my grades were much better than her and I became an electrical engineer in US.
I just went to the Manufacturing Institute website. They point you to monster.com. I searched for 'welder', and got 131 hits nationwide. Only about 40 of those were actually welding jobs. Average pay $12 – 14/hour.
I have degrees in Architectural Drafting & Estimating and Tool & Die Technology. You tell me where these jobs are? I'll Move!
I'm amazed at this story. However, you need to go a little further with this. My son, a high school senior, was denied vocational classes due to "No Child Left Behind". Until my husband and I went to the school and pitched a fit and threatened to hire a lawyer due to the bad/lack of education they were giving him, they would've continued to deny him vocational classes that actually teach him skills along with certify him to do these jobs.
However, you mentioned camps, etc that recruit young people to train them in these fields. Where are they?? I have a son who is graduating this year and I would like to look into this. College isn't for him..he wants to be a skilled laborer (welder to be specific) so please share, it would be great to know where these are (which I'm sure in a metro area where we aren't).
Understanding Government, industry, Finance, Academic, Military, Media, Religion(spirituality+ethics) and the Peoples is lacking by all listed above but that which each is waking to an awareness of.
Trial error and repair= thought pesticides were good did you not for your lawns until our children started dying. An effort did not take long to remove pesticides yet parents still favor their lawns over their children.
Leaderships removed all that made each community self sufficient causing us to bring in our needs according to the supply and demand of our community and here you sit and complain about salaries.
A company pays big salaries or two reasons For a job well done or to cover up the wrongs done by the company and as we all saw with the decline direction those salaries was used to prevent the truth from being exposed.
The idiot above saying foreigners should be sent back to their country. We Indians have been saying that for longer than America was a country. We put up with you so try and do the same. When entering a home it is to be with respect and respect is returned.
How does one achieve good Government, good Industry, good Finance, good Academic, good Military, good Media, good Religion(spirituality+ethics) and good Peoples? You show them how bad it could be when administered wrong which causes the Peoples to step forward to take control of their destiny as a global body of Peoples united.
A global unified philosophy of living and seeing life a RELIGION in itself regardless o the diversity within the body of Humanity itself.
PEOPLE'S= IF YOU DID NOT COMPLAIN THAN THE STATUS QUO OF CORRUPTION WOULD CONTINUE WOULD IT NOT. Nice to see you awake to the wrongs o the would and giving voice= Media=growing ears, eyes and voice of the peoples and leaderships are indeed hearing us. Now keep complaining.
READER AND CNN= cut this part "how much blood could a blood doner give if a blood doner could give for two thousand years.= RESOLUTION on His way in. The MAHDI needs to calm the agitated bodies out there first and the terrorist do not stop until the MAHDI STEPS FORWARD.
A concern= two ships each with a nuke detonated on each coast of the United States.
I agree that the skilled trades can be a satisfying and honorable line of work for many people. It takes a kind of practical intelligence to build or fix machines and mechanisms– a kind of intelligence that is not always be found among the white-collar work force. But I do have one small nit to pick. In the story, manufacturing engineers and electrical engineers are included among the list of blue-collar trades. As an electrical engineer myself, I (and my colleagues) consider engineering to be a white-collar, professional job. And if you ask the folks out on the shop floor who keep me in line, I think they would tell you the same thing.
A lot of you probably do know skilled laborers who cannot find jobs–it depends on where they're looking.
According to the Manufacturers Assoc, jobs are available in non-traditional manufacturing states. The problem–many workers who've been laid off in traditional manufacturing states cannot move because they can't sell their homes, or cannot afford to...
The other jobs available are in the "green field"–there are not many out there already skilled in those areas.
Yes everybody is looking for the big $$$$, we are missing that family sense, the dream about the house, the kids, the summer camping or play on the snow in winter, help others or cook a nice meal in home
All we want is a mansion, sport cars, big box vacations and good restaurants, certainly the american dream is changing
I can't believe the attitude of these companies. I was a manufacturing engineer for twenty years and have now been laid off for a year. I still can't even get a rejection letter, much less an interview. These companies have no interest in finding employees with the skills that they need, they are interested in finding empoyees with certificates. I don't have an engineering degree, and suddenly the skills that I've gained over a lifetime are non existant. But a kid fresh out of college will automatically have all of the skills that these companies need.
And then there are the salaries. Some of these opening pay near $70K and they can't find applicants. Hmmmmm. When these same companies can't find a CEO for fifty million, they bump the offer up to a hundred million. How else can they retain the talent that they need? But raise the rates for labor – outrageous!
Kids today need to understand that even as hard as they may want and work towards not everyone can be a doctor, lawyer, nurse, computer programmer, you know those high tech jobs that pay well. Some of these kids have their expectations set way to high and most of them believe that if they cant start out in six figure salaries then they believe its not worth their time! Newsflash kiddos these days you better take what you can get or you will find yourself left behind! Parents of these kids are the ones to mostly to blame, never telling their kids no and trying to be their buddy instead of their parent! Once the new world order is in place jobs like lawyer, doctors, nurses, computer programmers will not be those high paying jobs they once were! Lastly once our population has switched to these kinds of jobs then end of big salaries will be over! Dont forget there is always some foriegner out there that will under cut you and work for less, and if they have to outsource those jobs too they will quicker than you can blink! We need to change the New World Order and worry about whats best for this country and having foriegners replace us because its cheaper should be a felony in this country! We need to send all of these so called educated foriegners back where they came from and that should be American Law!
Really, why do I know a dozen manufacturing mechanics that are laid off. My friends, family, everyone is laidoff.. You people are pushing some kinda happy fantasy..
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