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“This is about much more than ‘creating’ jobs. This is about the consequences of not closing the skills gap.”

TV construction personality Mike Rowe has penned an interesting piece in POLITICO in support of a renewed focus on skills training as a means of dealing with the American jobs crisis. As opposed to simply worrying about creating jobs, Rowe suggests, making sure people have the skills to complete the tasks that are currently not being completed may be of paramount importance.

Rowe uses as a reference point his grandfather, a guy who “became a plumber, a mechanic, a mason, a carpenter and a Master Electrician” without going to high school. Rowe isn’t advocating for education avoidance, rather the necessity of personal development among members of the community who could perform jobs that are vacant:

“Right now, our manufacturing sector is weak,” Rowe writes. “Our infrastructure is crumbling. And yet, even with record high unemployment, we have 200,000 manufacturing jobs and more than 450,000 trade, transportation and utilities jobs left vacant.”

Rowe gives a hat-tip to President Obama…

Last year, President Barack Obama announced the “Skills for America’s Future” initiative — helping connect businesses to community colleges, to give students the right training and skills to get and keep a job when they graduate. It enables employers to recruit qualified workers, and gives students the skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century.

This program is a good start. But we need to do more. We need to engage the entire country in a larger conversation about the value of skilled work.

…but concludes that political action alone won’t overcome the problem:

The tradesmen I know don’t need a spokesman. It’s the rest of us who need to worry. Because a few years from now, an hour with a good plumber will cost more than an hour with a good psychiatrist. At which point many of us will probably be in dire need of both.

Read the entire piece HERE.


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