We have a few storm clouds on the horizon.
First, this was an OK-not-Great jobs report. I suspect some of the weakness is due to the fact that there are still plenty of openings, but skills-wise businesses are hitting the bottom of the barrel. We’ve heard complaints for years that many Americans aren’t trained up to the levels required by a 21st Century economy — and nothing has been done on the education front to fix that. And our federal- and state-level jobs training programs are an incomprehensible, spaghetti-like mess.
Here’s a funny fact; watching “An Inconvenient Truth” twenty times during your public education years doesn’t qualify you for anything…anything at all.
The story suggests that training might be done by the companies that need to hire workers. But we have already been there and done that.
Fifty years ago the Bell System started me on the path to a long and profitable career. From classes in how to use and maintain hand tools (ever sharpened a slot screwdriver?) to installing exterior and interior phone cables and drops. Later on multi week courses in power and grounding (always useful to this day), work flow for project management (didn’t cover going nose to nose with the union dickheads) and many other topics.
The suggestion from the post that new employees would assume a debt for that training is based on the observable fact that younger workers don’t want to work for the same company for twenty years or more. Many would take the training and immediately apply for a job with another company; and the companies that didn’t go to the expense of running training programs would have lower costs and be able to pay higher starting wages.
When you have been with the same company for over twenty years then billing the employee for the training you need to send them to is unnecessary. There is proven loyalty between the employee and the company. A ridiculous idea today. Sadly.
Maybe a new 21st Century paradigm is needed. One of the many (soon to go bust) State Colleges could scrap the flower arranging and the ‘Angry Womens Studies’ courses and offer to teach vigorous job training disciplines. But (of necessity) combined with remedial math, writing and reading courses to bring the benighted students of today’s funk factories the bare necessaries of modern life. Then the debt assumed by the student would be ‘banked’ by a holding company (perhaps with Federal support). After graduation the student would be expected to have a certain ‘grace’ period where they would only pay interest on the debt. If hired by a company and that company was willing to begin paying off the principal at a fixed rate per year, after a full year of employment with that company. The student/worker could quit and go back to paying the interest only if they chose but I think any worthwhile person would want to stick it out. Assuming a reasonable ten years for full payback of the principle; at the end of that period you would have a citizen with hire-able skills and ten years of job history in their pocket. (Or five year payback and only five years of job history…after the politicians get done with it.)
There are worse ideas out there. Such as a “$15 minimum wage” or the GBS (Guaranteed Basic Stipend); paying people to breath and to vote (of course).