Letters to the Editor

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JOBS: Companies expect public to pay for training

Letter by Andreas Udbye, University Place on May 22, 2012 at 5:24 pm | 9 Comments »
May 23, 2012 10:06 am

Two pieces on the same page (Thomas Friedman column and Viewpoint, 5-22) bemoaned the supposed lack of qualified and trained American workers.

Friedman fell for Microsoft’s old complaint about not being able to find people for thousands of unfilled jobs, and Vigor Industrial’s CEO lamented the fact that he cannot find workers with the requisite skills. Both companies and many others seem to expect that the education and public sector should provide them with “off-the-shelf,” ready-to-go labor with any skill sets at any time.

This is hardly realistic in a complex workplace with increasing specialization and rapidly changing technologies and tools. Colleges can only prepare their students to a certain level, after which the employers need to take charge and provide relevant on-the-job training.

I suspect many companies have cut back on training programs and apprenticeships, expecting the rest of us to carry the burden of properly preparing candidates. This is not realistic.

With today’s unemployment rate, there are millions of well-educated, talented and eager Americans out here. Take the effort to hire them and train them. That is how companies ultimately develop the desired skill sets.

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