In an economy where so many in the housing and construction industry have lost their jobs, how in the world can anyone claim that there is a skilled workers shortage? In an article by Manpower Inc., this topic was discussed. The article explains that there is not only a shortage now but, as the economy recovers, there will be an even larger shortage of skilled workers. Why is this so? The report claims that “negative stereotypes” and “inadequate training” toward skilled labor have permeated our society and our government.
Blue collar jobs have taken a bad rap for quite some time, and young people have been encouraged to attend college rather than learn a skilled trade. Is it possible we have been perpetuating this trend by encouraging the commercialization of colleges in the name of progress? The age of technologies and communications has produced a hunger for more and more of everything.
In an article by Alan Thein Durning (1993), advertising and commercialization is explained as the bane of our society. Durning points out that advertising is creating a “hunger” for more and more, and plants seeds for things we may not have even considered yet. This need to have more and more or to “keep up with the Joneses” is creating societies that over-consume. Because advertisements are no longer just informing and educating the public, they are encouraging commercialization and consumerism, all in the name of progress or economic growth.
So how can we redirect our mindset toward a more positive outlook on skilled blue collar jobs? The answer to this question relies heavily on advertising and collaboration between businesses, trade schools and other academic institutions, and government. Without cooperation between all of these institutions, progress will either be very slow or non-existent.
A CBS news report states that the U.S. will be 3 million skilled workers short by 2012. This is an alarming number, considering we are in this country’s worst recession. So why are there so many skilled jobs available? According to Linda Filingham, owner of a metal parts factory, “It’s hard to fill these jobs because they require people who are good at math, good with their hands and willing to work on a factory floor.” How many Americans do you know who are really good with math and are willing to work in a dirty environment on a hard manufacturing-type floor?
The Southern Company, an energy company that serves the Southeast, addresses all of these issues. This company, as well as others across the nation, are partnering with community colleges to help train new workers in these highly skilled labor positions.
This is just one example of how the U.S. is dealing with the lack of skilled blue collar workers. If you are unemployed and are interested in finding out more, or need to improve your job situation, start by searching local technical colleges and community colleges in your area.
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Authors’ Disclaimer: While every caution has been taken to provide my readers with the most accurate information, please use your discretion before making any decisions based on the information in this article.
Durning, A. T. (1993). An ecological critique of global advertising. In Pojman, L. & Pojman, P. (Eds), Environmental ethics: Readings in theory and application (pp.713-720). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.