Why I’m sending my kids to electrician’s school.

Because this problem isn’t going to get any better any time soon.

Ferrie Bailey’s job should be easy: hiring workers amid the worst stretch of unemployment since the Depression.

A recruiter for Union Pacific Corp., she has openings to fill, the kind that sometimes seem to have all but vanished: secure, well-paying jobs with good benefits that don’t require a college degree.

But they require specialized skills—expertise in short supply even with the unemployment rate at 9%. Which is why on a recent morning the recruiter found herself in a hiring hall here anxiously awaiting the arrival of just two people she had invited to interviews, winnowed from an initial group of nearly five dozen applicants. With minutes to go, the folding chairs sat empty. “I don’t think they’re going to show,” Ms. Bailey said, pacing in the basement room.

Or maybe it’ll be plumber’s school.  Or welding.  Doesn’t really matter: until people don’t have to spend tens of thousands of dollars a year to get poorly educated for white-collar jobs that don’t actually exist, some sort of technical training is looking more and more attractive. We’re always going to need electricians and plumbers, and they can improve their minds on their lunch breaks.  Which they’ll get, because we’re always going to need electricians and plumbers.

Heck, the way the gender gap is accelerating these days in white-collar employment they’ll end up marrying well, too.  I am going to laugh my butt off if we end up back at the 1950s model, only it’s the woman with the 9-t0-5 office job and the man with the part-time work/primary caregiver role…

4 thoughts on “Why I’m sending my kids to electrician’s school.”

  1. Heh. Over at the Professor’s he quotes an email from a guy pushing veterans for such jobs, and explaining how to find them.

    Even if Ms. Bailey were willing to consider knuckle-dragging baby killers (who joined, after all, because they were too dumb to get a civilian job — not your ideal worker, eh?) the UP is Union. People might get past the shop steward, but for most folks with the skills needed, the prospect of contributing 10% or more of their wages to Obama’s campaign fund does not appeal.


  2. There’s a place inbetween my town and the county seat, that is always hiring… welders. Pisses me off too, because I wished I knew how to weld even before I kept seeing that sign.

  3. I agree wholeheartedly with sending kids to vocational schools. Our town spent mega dollars on a new vocational center to teach trades. The problem is just as you state: the educators diss and downplay voc ed as the last resource reserved for the kids who just can’t do anything else.

    These professions are looked down upon by the elites who guide the students, yet who do you think they call when they have a plumbing or electrical issue? Do they want the “dumbest” kid in the class working on their wiring, or someone who had a real passion and affinity for it?

    One other note: My husband was thinking about changing fields a few years back. He has decades of experience with building, constructing, fixing, and electrical, and is very, very good at it.

    For him to become an licensed electrician, he has to go to school, then apprentice for several years, and then, and only then, can he be certified. The trades have a lock on these careers. After many calls and emails to our state’s resources, I was basically told that, no, there is no fast track, he couldn’t “test out”, even if he were able to demonstrate his knowledge and ability to apply it.

    So, if it isn’t the outdated and useless school system holding kids back, it’s the unions death grip on the trades keeping adults from moving into a new and lucrative career, as they have to give up their current job to be a lowly apprentice. What a joke.

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