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Author Topic: Mike Rowe in front of Congress on Skilled Labor  (Read 1248 times)

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Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Mike Rowe in front of Congress on Skilled Labor
« on: January 12, 2012, 09:11:13 AM »
Mike Rowe testifies before US Senate about the skilled trades

He's right..we've marginalized skilled labor. I have been sneered down the nose of a LOT of my brother's friends when I met them during his run for office. Why? Because I sorta fell into that category..that and at the time I was a serviceman. I don't look on my 'work costume' as a suit even now. I am training to be a networking tech, which might require me to wear a suit and sit at a desk, but even now I hope that I have to crawl in and about stuff, fix wiring and use tools rather than shuffle papers.


Offline Avis habilis

Re: Mike Rowe in front of Congress on Skilled Labor
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2012, 09:21:18 AM »
Preach it, Mike. I've known some skilled builders & those guys really are magicians.

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Re: Mike Rowe in front of Congress on Skilled Labor
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2012, 09:45:37 AM »
They are, it's true.  And it's equally true that many of those jobs and skillsets have been marginalized, and quite heavily... especially in the last 20-30 years.  It really wasn't that long ago historywise that a degree was something most people couldn't afford.  Higher education was mostly for rich families, or those few lucky enough to qualify for some sort of grant or sponsorship.  And in that time, yeah, you could be all but guaranteed a job when you graduated because graduates were still rare.

But now?  Everyone seems to expect that you follow these steps.  A: Graduate High School.  B: Go to college.  C: Continue your education OR D: Go right into a good-paying job in your field.  Failure to do this means that you are... well, generally viewed as something of a failure, or have settled for second best, or are lazy, etc.  Doing construction, being a plumber, a welder, all of that carries now the stigma of 'labor'.  As though labor was a bad thing, and apprenticeships are only taken by those who don't have the skills or intelligence to do something else.  Nevermind the sort of skills and talents it takes to be a good welder.  Hell, I worked with an arc welder for only a summer at Subaru-Izusu (sp?) Automotive when I was 19, and it took a surprising amount of knowhow and talent to do well.  And that was just an arc-welder at one station in the process.

There's just too much focus now I think on office jobs and the like.  Which makes sense in a way, as you're indoors and not doing heavy lifting, not coming home all sorts of dirty and worn out from your work.  But you make good money for that work, and it's honest, and I've never seen anything shameful in it.  Hell, my brother-in-law to be works in construction, and he works his ass off for the money he makes, which already has him a house with his fiancee.  Maybe it's not where everyone wanted him to end up, or thinks he's settling, but he likes the work and makes a good living doing it.  How many people wish they could say the same?

Hell, I do.

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Re: Mike Rowe in front of Congress on Skilled Labor
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2012, 10:37:39 AM »
I think that it's awesome he is calling attention to this. 

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Mike Rowe in front of Congress on Skilled Labor
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2012, 10:46:55 AM »
I like the British they offer options you can go to university and pay for that, go to a trade school or apprentice in a huge number of professions from skilled labor to office work and quite a few here in jobs that would demand college degrees to some level. [Examples: Banking Services, Archival/Library, Veterinary Nursing, Financial Advising and so forth.]

I don't understand why manual labor is bad I have union coal miners in my family earning Middle Class wages averaging sixty thousand dollars a year or more depending on the position. And people are saying these sorts of jobs are bad last time I looked college graduates are not making that much and these are jobs you learn on the job through union apprenticeships.

High schools are the worse thing they don't offer or encourage such training when many students are not college material but they left with workforce skills they would like be employable, it used to be the norm to give studetns a technical focus or academic focus in high school. Both demanding. Both sound. Both giving the young person a future. And college decades ago was not overly expensive my cousin left school in the 80's with a few thousand in debt he paid off rather quickly if I recall $4000 total and paid for the rest with a part time job and some help from his family that was modest. Now it would be far more costly.

Offline Serephino

Re: Mike Rowe in front of Congress on Skilled Labor
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2012, 12:59:40 AM »
He makes lots of good points.  There is so much importance placed on going to college and getting lots of fancy degrees.  People who go to trade schools are often viewed as too stupid to be a doctor or lawyer.  My grandpa was a dairy farmer most of his life, and he is a very smart man.  One would be surprised how much actually goes into farming.  One of my uncles is a carpenter.  He isn't rolling in money, but he built his own house, which I think is pretty cool.

My high school participated in the County Vo-Tech program.  Anyone who wanted to could go there for one of their programs for half a year.  We went there for a day my Freshman year to see what all they offered.  And the great thing is by the time you were done your senior year you could get licensed in that field.

Unskilled labor is undervalued too.  People looked down their nose at my boyfriend for working at McDonalds.  Hey, someone has to flip your burger...  Now he unloads trucks for Walmart.  Like, you know when you go to the store and all you have to do is find what you want on a shelf?  Those items didn't get there by magic.   

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Mike Rowe in front of Congress on Skilled Labor
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2012, 07:41:19 AM »
A good fast food worker has to have many skill sets, and if they work at it can make the company a career McDonald's usually promotes from within and you just need an associates degree to go into management training and they don't care in what. You could do a general studied associates in the humanities and go up the food chain a few notches. I'm sure other chains are the same way. I never got the unskilled label you try to keep track of six orders at once and get all of the them right, deal with customers sometimes who are not nice and learn every station at a place then tell me its unskilled.

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Mike Rowe in front of Congress on Skilled Labor
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2012, 09:01:08 AM »
Been there done that. Worked every station, know how to fix every station, was trusted to do stck deliveries and even inventory and make suggestions on orders. And was told that i would never be a manager in the company. The owner refused to move work staff up to management, he hired from other franchise branches.

I don't resent it now, but I did then. I mean I was 19 and doing twice the work of the day manager for a 1/4 the pay and fixing her mistakes. Same for the next two jobs I worked while trying to make my way thru college. When I worked for Dominos, I worked FIVE stores a week and put 300k on my car in 18 months.

When I joined the navy it took me six years and five ranks to make the same money (Thank you Bill Clinton for two 10% raises in a row)

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Mike Rowe in front of Congress on Skilled Labor
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2012, 09:04:57 AM »
I was talking company owned stores, franchises are still small businesses. Just saying its not unskilled work and in Britain is a career path under an apprenticeship by the way but here at BK you have an associates and work for a company store you can go up to management in time. Assuming your management material.

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Mike Rowe in front of Congress on Skilled Labor
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2012, 09:57:28 AM »
I was talking company owned stores, franchises are still small businesses. Just saying its not unskilled work and in Britain is a career path under an apprenticeship by the way but here at BK you have an associates and work for a company store you can go up to management in time. Assuming your management material.

I don't call 10 stores a 'small business' anymore. Both the McDonalds and the Dominos I worked for were HUGE in scale. I mean TBO (Two Brothers and Others) was a huge franchise before they sold it off. (I was in the navy when they did it). The only groups bigger on the southern section of the Eastern Seaboard than TBO was corporate stores (Which are right nasty from what I heard) for Dominos.

Ironically making me a manager would have been cheaper towards the end. I had literally done everything on the assistant manager chart and most of the manager's training was done too. I could make a pizza in 20 seconds and could do a whole tray in a minute and a half, order the stock, built a promo plan (helping the store manager) that increased sales by 25% over a 2 month period.(Went from worst store to 3rd best out of 10 in the county). Helped present the cost/benefit range for school dellivery 2 days a week to the local school board (Made a TON of cash off those deliveries)
« Last Edit: January 13, 2012, 11:25:31 AM by Callie Del Noire »

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Re: Mike Rowe in front of Congress on Skilled Labor
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2012, 11:16:09 AM »
'Unskilled worker' is one of those self-contradictory statements.  You know, like 'non-working mother'.

Offline OldSchoolGamer

Re: Mike Rowe in front of Congress on Skilled Labor
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2012, 11:50:11 AM »
The bottom line is that, at least according to the actions of the majority of Republicans in Congress, actual labor is for chumps.  The real rewards under American capitalism rightfully go to the banksters, the hedge fund managers, and the other high-level grifters and gamblers.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Mike Rowe in front of Congress on Skilled Labor
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2012, 01:01:02 PM »
Problem is for a nation to have a healthy economy and be prosperous it must generally mine natural resources, produce things people want to buy and produce food while a service industry supports the rest as does the military and other peripheral things.

If a nation loses sight of the core areas they lose out long term China for example is exploiting mining and fuel extraction, making goods and producing food this even in other nations supporting these with other secondary areas (education, banking, retail and the like). And they are a formidable nation in this regard. But much of this demands workforce skills be taught and not necessarily college you can learn welding, mechanics, mining, oil platform work and many others outside of college. Brazil is hiring every master tradesman and tradeswoman they can get to teach these skills since they are desperate for skilled workers in many areas and companies are paying top dollar. An uncle a Master Machinist is working for a Brazilian company teaching earning $200k US with no college degree just thirty years as a highly skilled professional who taught apprentices for the union when asked. Odd they think his "skilled work" is vital to the nation and they are right if they can machine parts there they keep those jobs there and make more.


Offline consortium11

Re: Mike Rowe in front of Congress on Skilled Labor
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2012, 02:09:46 PM »
Before people get too excited about the British method of doing things I'd like to point out that it isn't all happiness and roses.

1) Not so long ago we were aiming at having 50% of young people in University education... and came pretty close. On paper that sounds excellent, in reality it meant that a degree was no longer enough for many jobs (especially typical graduate jobs) and if you either chose a less well regarded degree or went to a less well regarded university it was easy enough to find yourself at 21 years old with £20k+ debts and little to show for the last three years of your life with regards to career prospects.

2) The apprenticeship model isn't all it's cracked up to be... there's a reason the old GNVQ (last offered in 2007) were cruelly entitled "Generally Not Very Qualified." They may have covered things that didn't necessarily require a degree (although as more of the working population got degrees and degrees broadened out even that changed) and allowed you a structured system to both learn and earn but they're certainly not something Britain should be particularly proud of.

For a genuinely effective apprenticeship system Germany almost certainly remains the most high profile success story.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Mike Rowe in front of Congress on Skilled Labor
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2012, 03:16:16 PM »
Yes but Germany tracks students and try that here. Britian leaves the choice up to the parents and the young person as to how to go forward more like our model here that is you can go to a university, go to a trade school or go to an apprenticeship or combine these.

In Britian its more like the US and there is room for improvement but is that the models issue or maybe the system needs reforming. For example once could go to that as a first option while taking added classes many American colleges offer online options what if you did this apprenticed in retail and while doing that earned a certificate in retail management from a good online program over three years? Seems to me its up to the student to some degree to build on the apprenticeship model in a choice system.

Germany is better but they track students and give a minority a university education, I can't picture that working in the US or Britian. In Britian maybe this would be better and I propose this for the US a technical high school to cover two thirds of students with a heavy focus on learning workforce skills for three years followed by two years of an apprenticeship leading to a dual Technical High School Diploma and a Certification on a area of work from a reputable professional organization. Let children then have to apply to an academic program based on standardized tests and references just like a private school make sure the top third of students regardless of any factor get into a top academic college prep program. You could offer a community college prep for the others who might want to go to college.

Not tracking any student could apply to the academic program schools just the system would select the most capable for it.

Offline Serephino

Re: Mike Rowe in front of Congress on Skilled Labor
« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2012, 01:02:52 AM »
Before people get too excited about the British method of doing things I'd like to point out that it isn't all happiness and roses.

1) Not so long ago we were aiming at having 50% of young people in University education... and came pretty close. On paper that sounds excellent, in reality it meant that a degree was no longer enough for many jobs (especially typical graduate jobs) and if you either chose a less well regarded degree or went to a less well regarded university it was easy enough to find yourself at 21 years old with £20k+ debts and little to show for the last three years of your life with regards to career prospects.

2) The apprenticeship model isn't all it's cracked up to be... there's a reason the old GNVQ (last offered in 2007) were cruelly entitled "Generally Not Very Qualified." They may have covered things that didn't necessarily require a degree (although as more of the working population got degrees and degrees broadened out even that changed) and allowed you a structured system to both learn and earn but they're certainly not something Britain should be particularly proud of.

For a genuinely effective apprenticeship system Germany almost certainly remains the most high profile success story.

That is a good point.  If you have say 15 people with a degree in a certain field, and only 4 job openings in that field, that degree ends up being a pretty piece of paper.

Offline NotoriusBEN

Re: Mike Rowe in front of Congress on Skilled Labor
« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2012, 02:08:22 AM »
Kids just dont want to do heavy lifting anymore. Everyone is looking for the easiest job they can find to skate through life, and whose to blame them? Everyone wants the easy life.

Problem is it doesnt work that way. You need career ditch-diggers (and a lot of kids are probably only qualified to do just that given America's education anymore). I work as an infrared technician, so I go to a lot of different sites around America and helping with predictive maintentance on electrical systems, lighting, and machinery. Id have to say the average age of my liasons on those sites is about 40+ years old. Sometimes there are young ones, but probably 80% are ready to retire in the next decade. Pulling breaker panels off of *LIVE* electrical equipment is dangerous and hard work, and I help my liasons do that on top of my job of scanning for heat issues, amp readings and recording images and data.

Unfortunately, a lot of kids just understand what hard work is. It's pretty sad when a guy twice your age is working circles around you.

There are a lot of other socio-economical issues that tie into this, but Mike hit the nail on the head for the most part. Its balls that anything other than a degree is considered a failure or second rate.

Offline Zeitgeist

Re: Mike Rowe in front of Congress on Skilled Labor
« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2012, 08:39:22 PM »
The bottom line is that, at least according to the actions of the majority of Republicans in Congress, actual labor is for chumps.  The real rewards under American capitalism rightfully go to the banksters, the hedge fund managers, and the other high-level grifters and gamblers.

I reject that notion. Many on both sides of the aisle have contributed to so-called 'crony-capitalism'. Exhibit numero uno being Barney Frank.

No, it is the Cult of Liberal Intelligentsia™ that is responsible for the demise of traditional labor and trades that Mike Rowe speaks so eloquently of. Cloistered away in the Professorial Halls they look down their long crooked noses at the little people.

My son is involved in a national program called Skills USA, where he has immersed himself into their leadership track. This program however partners with businesses to cultivate traditional trades. There is hope. This generation (he's seventeen), I have hope for. We lost the previous one to liberal narcissism.

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Mike Rowe in front of Congress on Skilled Labor
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2012, 09:10:02 PM »
I reject that notion. Many on both sides of the aisle have contributed to so-called 'crony-capitalism'. Exhibit numero uno being Barney Frank.

No, it is the Cult of Liberal Intelligentsia™ that is responsible for the demise of traditional labor and trades that Mike Rowe speaks so eloquently of. Cloistered away in the Professorial Halls they look down their long crooked noses at the little people.

My son is involved in a national program called Skills USA, where he has immersed himself into their leadership track. This program however partners with businesses to cultivate traditional trades. There is hope. This generation (he's seventeen), I have hope for. We lost the previous one to liberal narcissism.

Not just them.. look at what happened to meat packers and butchers. Once upon a time that used to be a very GOOD business to be in. Even the guys working at the slaughter houses.

Now it would be illegal for Upton Sinclair to release The Jungle in some states. Even though it's clear that the 'big meat' producers are definitely back to that style of practices. The Republicians, under guise of 'smaller' governement, have trimmed the 'fat' of the FDA's investigation branch down to the point that any attempt at oversight and investigation of food produciton is a joke.

Offline Zeitgeist

Re: Mike Rowe in front of Congress on Skilled Labor
« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2012, 09:18:27 PM »
Not just them.. look at what happened to meat packers and butchers. Once upon a time that used to be a very GOOD business to be in. Even the guys working at the slaughter houses.

Now it would be illegal for Upton Sinclair to release The Jungle in some states. Even though it's clear that the 'big meat' producers are definitely back to that style of practices. The Republicians, under guise of 'smaller' governement, have trimmed the 'fat' of the FDA's investigation branch down to the point that any attempt at oversight and investigation of food produciton is a joke.

I don't disagree. Faux Conservatives have done their share of damage themselves. Government does need to be smaller but more efficient and practical. If Obama's plan of combining some government departments goes towards this, I'll be the first to applaud it.

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Mike Rowe in front of Congress on Skilled Labor
« Reply #20 on: January 14, 2012, 09:33:58 PM »
I don't disagree. Faux Conservatives have done their share of damage themselves. Government does need to be smaller but more efficient and practical. If Obama's plan of combining some government departments goes towards this, I'll be the first to applaud it.

Not smaller.. right sized. Every 'downsized' point I've seen in the last few decades has come back and bit us in the ass. HARD. No regulation on mortgage issues, let anyone get involved? Oh that didn't bite us in the ass. No sir. Smaller inspector forces in the FDA and now no one knows where the GMO stuff that isnt' approved for human consumption is creeping into our food, or how we are getting more and more and more tainted food from inside the US. Then there is the destruction of our airlines as a functional system and leaving us with a group of fortress hubs and price wars/gouging that has crippled us. Then there is the fact that most of our domestic oil production is leaving the country for more profitable markets.

Now we got the Tea Party attacking unions as the 'new evil' and pushing for the elimination of anything that could be possible regulatory in industry, education and environmental issues.

Offline Zeitgeist

Re: Mike Rowe in front of Congress on Skilled Labor
« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2012, 10:21:12 PM »
And, here we depart. I cannot share your notions, nor do I care overly much to debate them. We disagree. But that is okay :)

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Mike Rowe in front of Congress on Skilled Labor
« Reply #22 on: January 15, 2012, 01:53:42 AM »
And, here we depart. I cannot share your notions, nor do I care overly much to debate them. We disagree. But that is okay :)

Fair enough.. I can deal with that. I don't think 'Smaller Government' is automatically 'Better Government'. For example.. every single base I served on had at LEAST 1 superfund site on it. Downsizing has made it harder for each and everyone of them to be cleaned up. Just look at the outbreaks of botulism and other food poisonings from meat packing and how that has effected the quality of people's food. Consider how the government has  passed law after law requiring more things done without any true teeth to it.

I find it funny that most of the men and women in office who want to 'downsize' the government are in the pocket of folks like the Koch brothers who are clearly trying to roll back a century or more of law for their benefit and everyone else detriment.

For example, the folks in Congress are constantly hammering the Post Office for being inefficent. I got one thing that would possibly reduce their overhead costs by a goodly percentage. Cut out ALL congressional 'free postage' as well as the DoDs. It would be amazing how much lower the Post Offices losses would be after than.