Did someone say jobs?
From the Chicago Tribune:
Shortage of skilled workers holds back Chicago-area manufacturersExecutives on panel discuss industry challengesNovember 16, 2012|By Alejandra Cancino, Chicago Tribune reporterChicago-area manufacturers who participated in a panel discussion Thursday said the shortage of skilled workers will crimp their growth next year.Tim Jahnke, president and chief executive of Elkay Cos., an Oak Brook-based maker of stainless steel sinks, faucets, water coolers and plumbing products, said the situation is so severe that his company may have to forgo about $10 million in sales — unless he's able to ramp up production.Elkay is operating only one shift, and to increase production Jahnke would need more midlevel skilled welders, which he says he can't find.Steven Kersten, owner and president of WaterSaver Faucet Co. and Guardian Equipment Inc., said the days when manufacturers could hang "help wanted signs" are over.Companies need to get involved in worker training, and Kersten said his company is doing just that. In addition to in-house training, the company has hired an English instructor. The company also partners with Austin Polytechnical Academy, a West Side high school whose goal is to train the next generation of leaders in advanced manufacturing.Kersten said many applicants for jobs at the Chicago-based company do not have basic skills such as being able to understand instructions or how to use a computer or measuring tools....
I have a two-minute speech, a 20-minute speech, a six-hour-speech and an epic, Der-Ring-des-Nibelungen-length opera on this subject.
Suffice it to say that, right this minute in the Chicagoland area there are around 30,000 manufacturing jobs going unfilled.
Imagine that? I mean, it's certainly not a magic bullet, but whatever cause consumes you -- antipoverty, social justice, salvaging the middle class, making sure every kid gets a great education -- the fact that there are a lot of decent, well-paying jobs going begging at the same time unemployment lingers around 8% like the party guest who never leaves should piss you off.
The good news?
All we have to do to fix this is to overhaul the entire, dysfunctional, underfunded, over-bureaucratized, patchwork "system" that gets people of all ages ready for the jobs that are really available.