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Help Wanted: Skilled Workers Need Apply
IBD Editorials ^ | June 29, 2010 | JOHN RATZENBERGER

Posted on 06/29/2010 5:10:15 PM PDT by Kaslin

When did "blue collar" become a dirty word in America? Right about the same time America gave up its position as the world's producer and instead became the world's most conspicuous consumer.

That's not to bash free enterprise; we need to purchase and consume. But this cultural shift has created an "industrial tsunami" that threatens our free enterprise system.

America faces a crisis of epic proportions. The U.S. Department of Labor forecasts that by 2012, there will be a shortfall of nearly 3 million skilled worker positions in America. The average age of skilled workers in many trades is 54-56 years old, and as this veteran group retires, there are not enough trained workers to replace them. Today's shortage sharply reduces the growth of U.S. gross domestic product — certainly not a help in the current economy.

As I've traveled the nation and met with business owners, I hear the same story. Employers are desperate for skilled workers to fill essential jobs. Many say privately that their companies may have to close or move operations to another country because of this shortage — despite the offer of good pay and benefits. We're experiencing the loss of the once-vaunted production edge that America enjoyed.

(Excerpt) Read more at investors.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: cliffclavin; helpwanted; johnratzenberger
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The problem is most employers do not want to train people, so they rather hire professional people from foreign countries without realizing that these people went through training themselves
1 posted on 06/29/2010 5:10:18 PM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Most of the Foreign Skilled Workers are very good but they suffer from a poor ability to:
1. Check their own work
2. Pride in work
3. Follow Instruction
4. Communicate
5. Quality Control

What you end up is someone that is in many cases 2-4x more trained than the US Worker with a result that is only 20-40% as good.

It is an interesting dichotomy.

And I have heard it before that this is because of their very long work hours, but many US Workers have long work hours too. The only difference is overtime and I doubt this explains it. In other words, I don’t buy this arguement and haven’t heard a good one.


2 posted on 06/29/2010 5:17:45 PM PDT by dila813
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To: Kaslin

There is an excellent book out there called “Shop Class as Soulcraft.” It is about the intelligence that goes into such things as mechanics, carpentry, etc. College grads tend to look down at these people who are often very, very intelligent and - amazing - they have real skills that are useful in this world (not just customer service skills).

When this downgrade of the skilled craftsman began, I can’t really say, but like so much other garbage that has flowed out of it, I have a hunch it was the Sixties and all the radical baloney that came from academia.


3 posted on 06/29/2010 5:17:45 PM PDT by Paved Paradise
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To: Kaslin

Perhaps that is part of the problem, but much of it is due to the notion that everyone should go to college. We have legions of young people who have no clue as to what they want to do, so they go to college and get a degree, any degree.

It is about time we stopped believing that institutional education is the Holy Grail and start letting young people choose their own path in high school. There are many youngsters who would probably rather become an apprentice in some trade instead of wasting away in their junior and senior years in high school, but it is not PC to consider such a thing. Everyone has to go to college, right? Even if they do get a degree in multidisciplinary studies (whatever that is) or political science and find themselves working as a clerk or waiter.

The entire American education system is screwed up from the bottom up. That’s what happens when government runs the show. We need more freedom and options and less publik skool.


4 posted on 06/29/2010 5:18:03 PM PDT by Pining_4_TX
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To: Kaslin
despite the offer of good pay and benefits.

Define good pay and benefits.

5 posted on 06/29/2010 5:19:39 PM PDT by central_va (I won't be reconstructed, and I do not give a damn.)
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To: Pining_4_TX

There are legions of people who would pay for training if they could be semi confident of getting a good paying stable job. If companies are so desperate why not offer a contract that if you pay for a specific training course, we will in tern hire you for x years at y dollars. I am very skeptical of these stories about companies who can’t find workers.


6 posted on 06/29/2010 5:22:49 PM PDT by DManA
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To: DManA

if you take and pass a specific training course at your own expense


7 posted on 06/29/2010 5:24:09 PM PDT by DManA
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To: Kaslin

Ummmm, of course they are quiet. No one is asking any questions. Sadly this will pass under radar and the masses will not know.... just sayin. He is and will be “Scott Free”


8 posted on 06/29/2010 5:24:16 PM PDT by GoCards ("We eat therefore we hunt...")
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To: DManA
They used to do that up until roughly the mid- to late-80's; about the time Jack Welch and his vermin took over the Thought Leader roles.

NO cheers, unfortunately.

9 posted on 06/29/2010 5:26:31 PM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: DManA

Excellent point. If companies need the workers so badly, they can start apprentice programs in-house (or in cooperation with companies in the same industry). I suspect that many of these companies want the people to just materialize without having to go thru the hassle of training them.


10 posted on 06/29/2010 5:31:06 PM PDT by rbg81 (DRAIN THE SWAMP!!)
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To: Kaslin
Is IBD as pro-open borders as the WSJ?

by 2012, there will be a shortfall of nearly 3 million skilled worker positions in America.

There are at least 10 million trainable unemployed Americans right this minute. And $Billions in tax dollars are being spent on training programs. Sounds like these businesses need to talk to the training bureaucrats.

11 posted on 06/29/2010 5:38:18 PM PDT by DManA
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To: rbg81

No, they just want cheap foreign labor. It has two advantages: lower costs and depressed American wages.


12 posted on 06/29/2010 5:38:24 PM PDT by kabar
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To: rbg81
I suspect that many of these companies want the people to just materialize without having to go thru the hassle of training them.

I don't buy that. Any company will train employees if the benefit outweighs the cost.

13 posted on 06/29/2010 5:39:26 PM PDT by BfloGuy (It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect . . .)
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To: Kaslin
Yet, the nationwide shortfall of 500,000 welders is causing huge delays or cancellations for funded repair projects.

I wonder if the writer investigated that beyond the fact that someone told him there was a shortage of welders. I can remember, not so long ago, when welding was a high paying craft and knew several who became welders. I wonder what the pay for skilled welders has done over the past thirty or forty years, if it's still good pay, or if the pay has been undercut by cheap immigrant workers, both legal and illegal.

All this article does is bemoan something, but presents little to explain what has actually happened to cause this shortage. Or maybe he's building another case for more foreign workers. And I seriously doubt that "negative media images" is the main cause of this shortage.

14 posted on 06/29/2010 5:40:32 PM PDT by Will88
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To: DManA

Because it’s cheaper to hire an illegal immigrant and train them on the job then it is to hire an American and train them the right way to do things.

They’ve been hiring immigrants especially with construction jobs for over 20 years. And notice how the quality sucks since then? Most of the houses built today are sloppy. The walls are crooked. The plumbing is done half-assed. They buy cheap dry wall from China that falls apart and ruins the electrical.

This is one big reason the government does not want to seal the borders. The GOP doesnt want to hurt those businesses that employ those illegal immigrants. And the Democrats want those votes.


15 posted on 06/29/2010 5:42:03 PM PDT by jerry557
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To: DManA
if you take and pass a specific training course at your own expense

It was once the norm that many people went to welding school, earned a basic certification, then sought a job. I commented on welding in #14 and really wonder how it has gone from a very desirable and high paying trade to one supposedly with a shortage of 500,000.

16 posted on 06/29/2010 5:46:09 PM PDT by Will88
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To: jerry557

Here’s a suggestion for these anonymous companies so desperate for employees. Call up one of the thousands of companies in the country that have recently laid off skilled workers. They are easy to find, they are in the paper every day. Call up their HR department and ask for some names. I’m sure they’d be happy to give them to you.


17 posted on 06/29/2010 5:46:49 PM PDT by DManA
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To: Kaslin

I’ve hired hundreds of engineering and technical folks over the years and I recruiting now. My advice for any aspiring student today: Learn “how” to do something, don’t learn “about” something. Learn a professional, scientific, engieneering or skilled trade. I could wallpaper the building with the MBA’s that apply, but they can’t create anything we can sell.


18 posted on 06/29/2010 5:48:57 PM PDT by IamConservative (Liberty is all a good man needs to succeed.)
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To: Pining_4_TX

We have legions of young people who have no clue as to what they want to do, so they go to college and get a degree, any degree.

This is a problem. There is also the problem of companies that require college defrees for even menial labor positions.


19 posted on 06/29/2010 5:49:45 PM PDT by freedomfiter2
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To: IamConservative

“...and I am recruiting now...”
-
What kind of skill set?
Where geographically?
I might can send you some leads.


20 posted on 06/29/2010 5:56:03 PM PDT by Repeal The 17th (If November does not turn out well, then beware of December.)
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To: grey_whiskers

You’re right! I worked as a field tech in Manhattan’s financial district. The mid to late 80’s is when I started
to see the disdain toward blue collar work and workers.


21 posted on 06/29/2010 5:56:38 PM PDT by Roccus (......and then there were none.)
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To: Kaslin

This is what my hubby does he is skilled labor with a Journeymans card. He is also now 52 so just a little younger than what this talks about. The plant he works in tends to not let their skilled labor go. If a plant closes those workers are relocated to other locations ASAP.


22 posted on 06/29/2010 5:58:06 PM PDT by chris_bdba
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To: DManA

IBD is more conservative than WSJ. They are in So Cal so I would think they realize the damage open-borders have caused.


23 posted on 06/29/2010 6:00:56 PM PDT by Frantzie (Democrats = Party of I*lam)
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To: IamConservative

Would you hire a young person out of high school and be willing to train him or her?


24 posted on 06/29/2010 6:02:26 PM PDT by Kaslin (Acronym for OBAMA: One Big Ass Mistake America)
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To: freedomfiter2

We are also having an issue with:
1) Workers who do not want to take jobs that are “beneath them.”
2) Employers who look down on applicants who did take jobs that were “beneath them.”

I read an article by a career councelor that said that most HR departments will trash a resume of someone who did take a lower-level job or a job outside the feild. That is standard practice. HR will only consider applicants that want a parallel move. Forget about training.

THAT RIGHT THERE is fueling some of the unemployment out there. When workers know this, they would rather stay unemployed than take a lower job.


25 posted on 06/29/2010 6:02:54 PM PDT by jerry557
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To: DManA

Check your local tech college. Ours here offers a course in Journeymen Maintence Mechanics which pretty much covers most everything mentioned.


26 posted on 06/29/2010 6:03:11 PM PDT by chris_bdba
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To: Pining_4_TX

Good post and a great thread. One of my first entry level jobs was electrical assembly, wiring, soldering, etc. After many different jobs in those early working years, I came back to electronic assembly with a very good company. I was good enough at it to move up and lucky enough to take advantage of my employer’s tuition refund program to complete night school. I still work with manufacuring but sadly it typically involves overseeing subcontractors doing the kind of work I used to do inhouse. Faster, better, cheaper was the mantra. Outsourcing, global sourcing, etc. have slowly drained the capability from our most important and unique manufacturers. THat was just my example.

But those trade skills are the portable ones, the carpenters, plumbers, electricians, auto mechanics,hair stylists/colorists, tree surgeons, veterinary technicians and others that are at least as noble and certainly necessary and rewarding. I strongly support the trades, just not most of the unions that have taken so much of them over.

I never considered myself college material in high school and would like a system that gives students an opportunity to take a year off after school, do volunteer work or other work for a period of time and then go to school. Scholarship programs have their place but nearly all of them are geared for those entering college immediately after high school. Book learning is not life learning and I agree that getting a college degree is not the be all to end all. You only have to look at the current administration to see ample proof of that.


27 posted on 06/29/2010 6:04:35 PM PDT by SueRae (I can see November from my HOUSE!)
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To: BfloGuy
-- Any company will train employees if the benefit outweighs the cost. --

Companies that invest in training often, maybe usually, lose the trained worker to a competitor, or some other greener pasture. "Loyalty" is absent, in both directions.

28 posted on 06/29/2010 6:04:54 PM PDT by Cboldt
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To: grey_whiskers

Some places still do it. Where hubby works they still take apprentices in when needed and they go through 4 years of school work and IIRC something like 300 hours of OTJ training. They get a raise going in (.75¢) and after getting their Journeymans card get something like a $5.50 per hour raise.


29 posted on 06/29/2010 6:06:56 PM PDT by chris_bdba
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To: Pining_4_TX

Good post and a great thread. One of my first entry level jobs was electrical assembly, wiring, soldering, etc. After many different jobs in those early working years, I came back to electronic assembly with a very good company. I was good enough at it to move up and lucky enough to take advantage of my employer’s tuition refund program to complete night school. I still work with manufacuring but sadly it typically involves overseeing subcontractors doing the kind of work I used to do inhouse. Faster, better, cheaper was the mantra. Outsourcing, global sourcing, etc. have slowly drained the capability from our most important and unique manufacturers. THat was just my example.

But those trade skills are the portable ones, the carpenters, plumbers, electricians, auto mechanics,hair stylists/colorists, tree surgeons, veterinary technicians and others that are at least as noble and certainly necessary and rewarding. I strongly support the trades, just not most of the unions that have taken so much of them over.

I never considered myself college material in high school and would like a system that gives students an opportunity to take a year off after school, do volunteer work or other work for a period of time and then go to school. Scholarship programs have their place but nearly all of them are geared for those entering college immediately after high school. Book learning is not life learning and I agree that getting a college degree is not the be all to end all. You only have to look at the current administration to see ample proof of that.


30 posted on 06/29/2010 6:11:12 PM PDT by SueRae (I can see November from my HOUSE!)
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To: Roccus

“... disdain toward blue collar work and workers ...”

I think that parallels the disrespect culture gives to women who are homemakers and-or stay-at-home moms.

Some of that might trace back to people born in the ‘60s who believe their parents did everything wrong, although their parents worked hard, gave them security and often scrimped to give them a college education.

I am now a blue collar worker. DH still works on the farm. Interesting that farmers still get a little bit of respect, but tell someone you work on an assembly line and you get sort of a stink-eye look.


31 posted on 06/29/2010 6:17:18 PM PDT by Cloverfarm (This too shall pass ...)
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To: chris_bdba

I know. This story is a total crock.


32 posted on 06/29/2010 6:20:52 PM PDT by DManA
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To: Will88
"It was once the norm that many people went to welding school, earned a basic certification, then sought a job. I commented on welding in #14 and really wonder how it has gone from a very desirable and high paying trade to one supposedly with a shortage of 500,000."

My son starts training at Tulsa Welding School in August. 7 months and he will be a Certified Master Welder. He is a talented welder already and has taken mostly shop classes during his Junior and Senior years in High School. While he could have a decent paying job right now, the Certification and ability to pass a variety of welding tests will bring his earning potential up several 10s of thousands of dollars. From what we are hearing TWS is almost 100% full. Kids are getting smart and taking the Tech School route, it will just take a few years for them to make it into the work force.

A welder can make upwards of $100,000 or more per year if they really hustle and put in the overtime. And the cost of training is less than $20,000. What I've observed is that many young men are put off by getting dirty. They want clean jobs.

33 posted on 06/29/2010 6:24:19 PM PDT by buschbaby (Beware! I'm one of those scary stay-at-home mom Tea Partiers. I'm threatening to clean up your mess)
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To: DManA

Of course it’s a crock. If an employer tells someone he’s having trouble finding a skilled employee, it’s his fault and he probably wants to hire an unskilled illegal anyway. /s


34 posted on 06/29/2010 6:25:36 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: buschbaby
During the years while the Alaska pipeline was being built (1974 - 1977 according to Wiki), I knew a few guys who'd become welders. They were making around $18 - $20 per hour working on a pipeline in the Southeast, and often talked of going to work on the Alaska pipeline (year round) for $90 per hour. The $20 was very good pay in the mid-'70s, and the $90 in Alaska was astronomical. I just wonder if welders pay has kept up with inflation since, or if immigrants have undercut the pay growth.

Still hard to believe there is a shortage of 500,000 welders.

35 posted on 06/29/2010 6:34:27 PM PDT by Will88
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To: buschbaby

It is true. Welders can earn very good money. I had that opportunity. I could have gone to specialized welding school, possibly up to nuke welding in the NAV. But it also occurred to me that no matter how much I earned as a welder I would spend many many days just “burning stick”. And while I am good at framing and finishing, rocking and mudding, plumbing and tile and electrical, I chose an engineering degree instead.


36 posted on 06/29/2010 6:35:22 PM PDT by 70times7 (Serving Free Republics' warped and obscure humor needs since 1999!)
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To: Kaslin

The article’s sentiment is noble. Paper-pushing is on the whole a lot less socially useful than a skilled trade. The HR practice of using college degrees as a screen for white collar employment when an IQ test could do just as well is perverse, to say the least. On the whole, society wastes a shocking amount of money and productivity sending to college people without the aptitude (or, in some cases, the inclination, however much aptitutde they may have) to pursue an intellectual career.

All of that said, I’m not convinced there’s anything like an actual shortage of any skilled trade you could name (including welding or carptentry). Construction, facilities engineering, manufacturing — you set up a job site you usally have no lack of experienced tradesmen applying, and if you need to train some, you have no lack of people signing up.


37 posted on 06/29/2010 6:44:13 PM PDT by only1percent
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To: Paved Paradise

Everybody who went to college thought they could just sit behind a desk 8 hours a day and make a 100K, they didn’t want to do manual labor.


38 posted on 06/29/2010 6:46:26 PM PDT by tiki
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To: Kaslin

Cliff Clavin is writing for IBD?


39 posted on 06/29/2010 6:46:55 PM PDT by decimon
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To: Kaslin
"The average age of skilled workers in many trades is 54-56 years old..."

Back in April I was working on fiber optic installation at a major DOD project. When I joined the crew I was wondering if they might razz me as being the "old man" on the crew.

Fat chance! Even at 62 with white hair & beard, I was only the 4th oldest on the crew!

40 posted on 06/29/2010 6:50:40 PM PDT by BwanaNdege ( "Hapana Obama - the speechgiver-in-chief will surely be his own unmanned drone!")
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To: freedomfiter2
We have legions of young people who have no clue as to what they want to do, so they go to college and get a degree, any degree.

We expect every student to pursue college after high school. And it just shouldn't be this way. For many young people, it's a waste of time and money.

When I was in high school back in the 80s we had a community vocational school or "votech"as it was called that taught careers in everything from plumbing, carpentry, welding, auto-mechanics and so on. Counselors and teachers could identify students that probably wouldn't be college-bound after high school and point them in this direction. They'd spend the morning at the regular high school and then they'd go spend the rest of the day at votech. At the end of their senior year, they'd graduate with an actual skill. Many of these students went on to make serious money.

Gradually, the district did away with this program. For whatever reason, they decided that all students should be prepped for college --whether they had any intentions of going or not.

41 posted on 06/29/2010 6:52:17 PM PDT by Drew68
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To: Kaslin

“The problem is most employers do not want to train people, so they rather hire professional people from foreign countries without realizing that these people went through training themselves.”

Word.

I have a friend who is an excellent mechanic. He’s been in the business for 15 years. He wants to get his certification, but his employer won’t sign the forms for his apprenticeship.

I’ve even offered to pay for his tuition so he can blast through his levels, but the whole process is held up by the one signature.


42 posted on 06/29/2010 6:55:08 PM PDT by BenKenobi (I want to hear more about Sam! Samwise the stouthearted!)
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To: buschbaby
Good for your son. I love hearing stories like this -- about young fellows like that who pursue a craft they love and are very good at what they do at a young age.

Has he considered getting into some kind of specialized welding that will make his skills even more valuable? I was thinking of something like marine welding that might require him to work with unusual conditions or on unusual types of equipment.

43 posted on 06/29/2010 6:55:44 PM PDT by Alberta's Child ("Let the Eastern bastards freeze in the dark.")
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To: central_va

A friend of mine installs, maintains and repairs air conditioners and heaters and he makes between $70 to $100k/year depending on how hard he feels like working-last year he took three months off because he just didn’t feel like working. His house, truck, tools are all paid off, he carries no credit cards and had plenty saved up to be able to sit around the house and take a couple trips.

My nephew is a certified BMW mechanic who makes over $70k a year. he has a master’s degree in Archaeology. He took no loans out to get it-he funded his college education by working fighting wildfires for the NPS/BLM/USFS, cataloging and preserving artifacts during the summer and as a bartender during the school year. He found out very soon after graduating that the chances of maintaining steady employment and income as an Archeologist is problematic (even those with PhD’s can’t find steady work in the field) so he went back to school and learned how to be an automobile and motorcycle mechanic.


44 posted on 06/29/2010 7:21:34 PM PDT by Nahanni
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To: Alberta's Child
"Has he considered getting into some kind of specialized welding that will make his skills even more valuable?"

Not yet. That is part of what we hope he gains at school. He would like to try out Alaska, so I see him going into the pipeline or oil well industry, but who knows? By attending this school he will be able to try out all variation of welding and see what fits best.

45 posted on 06/29/2010 7:32:44 PM PDT by buschbaby (Beware! I'm one of those scary stay-at-home mom Tea Partiers. I'm threatening to clean up your mess)
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To: Kaslin

As one of these highly skilled journeyman, I have found that many companies need my skills, but its much cheaper to just send the work to China.


46 posted on 06/29/2010 7:49:04 PM PDT by Cadhack
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To: SueRae

I will go you one better. Instead of 4 years of high school I suggest 2 years at which time the students all decide if they are going to go to college or enter trade school. Firing the Unions and channeling some of the money saved from this move into trade schools for those students who want to become carpenters, welders, mechanics etc. The college bound would continue their second 2 years of HS.


47 posted on 06/29/2010 8:05:58 PM PDT by calex59
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To: Pining_4_TX

I would think the sissification of American males has something to do with it too. They’d rather be perpetual college students or corporate eunechs than get dirty and work with their hands.


48 posted on 06/29/2010 8:41:04 PM PDT by Huck (Q: How can you tell a party is in the minority? A: They're complaining about the deficit.)
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To: Will88

Plus to be a welder or a crane operator you have to join a UNION, and I’d rather eat my own turds and drink my own piss than join a stinking union.


49 posted on 06/29/2010 8:43:13 PM PDT by Huck (Q: How can you tell a party is in the minority? A: They're complaining about the deficit.)
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To: calex59

Good idea. Only, let the trade schools be privatized.


50 posted on 06/29/2010 8:44:06 PM PDT by Huck (Q: How can you tell a party is in the minority? A: They're complaining about the deficit.)
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