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REAL WORLD EVENT DISCUSSIONS
The "One Percent" Workforce Threatens U.S. Growth
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 8:48 AM
Gettin' old, but still a hippie at heart...
Quote:America is producing an undereducated and underperforming workforce that will not be able to drive economic growth.
As of right now, with the unemployment rate at an improved but not impressive 8.3 percent, 3.4 million jobs remain unfilled, according to the latest BLS data. One reason is that underwater homes prevent some job seekers from moving to where the jobs are. But another reason is Americans don't have the skills required in today's job market. Manpower surveys of more than 1,300 U.S. employees find the jobs most difficult to fill include skilled trades, sales representative and engineers. And let's not kid ourselves: Those skills are not just math and science related. They are language skills and proficiency in everything from history and geography to literature and philosophy.
Top companies like Google and Apple are looking for the best and the brightest – people who can "think different," as Steve Jobs said. If tech companies aren't the litmus test, try the television industry, which on the surface does not seem to hire high IQ candidates. It is, however, loaded with above-average, smart and dedicated people. One reason – if producers, directors, editors, or on-camera talent do not perform, they're out. Plain and simple. Or try manufacturing. Caterpillar has hundreds of unfilled job openings for sales representatives, machine operators, et al, but can't find qualified people to fill them.
Jobs for the less educated are going away. The knowledge economy has officially kicked in, and we're woefully behind the curve. Clerical workers are being replaced by cloud-based software programs; store clerks are being replaced by self checkout systems; and most dramatic, manufacturers are creating assembly lines that are 100 percent robotic. Cisco's Superbowl ad, showing "assembly lines that fix themselves," is fair warning that when possible, companies will hire a robot that doesn't need salary, a union, health care or a pension before they'll hire a human being.
The result is that we're heading for a 'one percent' workforce. A workforce not of rich people, but of an educated elite that cannot be replaced as easily by technology. Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich predicted this conundrum in his prophetic 1991 book, The Work of Nations: Preparing Ourselves for the 21st Century. He said, "Each nation's primary assets will be its citizens' skills and insights. Each nation's primary political task will be to cope with the centrifugal forces of the global economy, which tear at the ties binding citizens together – bestowing ever greater wealth on the most skilled and insightful, while consigning the less skilled to a declining standard of living." Closing the income gap will be impossible if we don't close the skill gap, but the burden for closing that gap should not be placed on the shoulders of teachers alone.
Without a parent or parents who set a child's expectation for achievement, and who understand and foster the learning benchmarks that are essential to success, the child is set up to fail.
President Obama should be commended for pushing high schools and colleges to improve the quality of their course work and to make education far more affordable for the average American – although his proposals only scratch the surface of the problem. The failure of our schools to educate our children may reflect the quality of our teachers. But it surely reflects the quality of America's parents. Parents have off-loaded the responsibility for educating their children onto the schools. In so doing, they have sent a message to their kids that striving for excellence is not important, that being diligent is useless. http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2012/02/14/The-One-Percent-Workforce-Threatens-US-Growth.aspx#page1 all its flaws (and they are numerous), one aspect of Obama's budget is right on target:Quote: The Education Department – which is on some Republicans’ cut list -- grows by about 2.5 percent over last year, or about $1.7 billion. The increase includes creation of a three-year $8 billion fund to assist community colleges in providing training and coursework in fields where U.S. companies’ labor demand is the highest, including transportation, health care, and certain types of manufacturing. Half of that funding would come from the Education department and the other half from the Labor department. The Pell Grant program, which helps poor students and the Race to the Top, which supports state and local efforts to reduce achievement gaps in schools, are also winners. http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2012/02/14/Obamas-Campaign-Budget-The-Winners-and-Losers.aspx#page1Hey Republicans: Let's cut education funding even more!
Yeah, education in America sucks for many reasons, but simply cutting it isn't the answer. I like the idea of more money for training, rather than just esoteric studies, but there's a lot more things that need to be done. And cutting education isn't one of them.
Quote: The Education Department – which is on some Republicans’ cut list -- grows by about 2.5 percent over last year, or about $1.7 billion. The increase includes creation of a three-year $8 billion fund to assist community colleges in providing training and coursework in fields where U.S. companies’ labor demand is the highest, including transportation, health care, and certain types of manufacturing. Half of that funding would come from the Education department and the other half from the Labor department. The Pell Grant program, which helps poor students and the Race to the Top, which supports state and local efforts to reduce achievement gaps in schools, are also winners. http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2012/02/14/Obamas-Campaign-Budget-The-Winners-and-Losers.aspx#page1
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 12:40 PM
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 12:48 PM
Quote:Originally posted by Fremdfirma:
Side note: if you're looking for people that can "think different", the US Public Education system is exactly the WRONG place to find them, since it has been reduced to rote memorization, social indoctrination, and the crushing out of all creativity and dissent.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 1:02 PM
Quote:Originally posted by Storymark:
It may not have worked for you, and is certainly a system with many flaws. That does not make it the Orwellian nightmare you make it out to be.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 4:24 PM
"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." -- William Casey, Reagan's presidential campaign manager & CIA Director (from first staff meeting in 1981)
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 9:58 PM
Beir bua agus beannacht
Thursday, February 16, 2012 7:44 AM
Thursday, February 16, 2012 1:57 PM
Thursday, February 16, 2012 2:36 PM
Quote:Originally posted by RionaEire:
They have been at the store for years but new ones aren't being put in and most people still go to the regular checkout lines,
Thursday, February 16, 2012 2:38 PM
Thursday, February 16, 2012 3:05 PM
Quote:Originally posted by Storymark:
Not in my town. The grocery stores just doubled their auto-check-outs, and other stores that didn't have them are adding them.
Thursday, February 16, 2012 3:55 PM
Quote:Originally posted by Kwicko:
Of course, what this doesn't take into account is the fact that we're the world's largest consumer nation, most of our economy is based on consumption, and paying people minimum wage or less is not a good way to increase consumerism, but conservatives aren't really that good at thinking ahead, as the Iraq war and our Afghanistan adventure have proven...
Thursday, February 16, 2012 4:02 PM
Quote:Originally posted by Fremdfirma:
my point is that every broken child, every tortured teen, every mangled soul that comes out of our mostly dystopic "educational" system is not only our responsibility, but a future threat to all who are not, you see ?
Thursday, February 16, 2012 6:55 PM
Thursday, February 16, 2012 7:26 PM
"Well, so long Earth. Thanks for the air... and what-not." -Philip J. Fry
Friday, February 17, 2012 5:26 AM
Keep the Shiny side up
Quote:Originally posted by Niki2:
Top companies like Google and Apple are looking for the best and the brightest – people who can "think different," as Steve Jobs said.
Friday, February 17, 2012 7:21 AM
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