Thursday, January 12, 2017

Why's that glue factory truck here?

In the midst of a classic "skills gap" interview in The Buffalo News, an unintentionally funny comment from the executive director of the Buffalo Niagara Manufacturing Alliance:
Q: The Buffalo area has a strong industrial track record. Why is this such a problem? 
A: You also saw a major reduction in the manufacturing work force locally, so the industry may not have been seen as a sector people wanted to push their children toward. Manufacturing is essentially 50 percent of where it was 30 years ago. What’s happened is, we’ve ridden the horses that we had working and they’re ready to go to pasture. But we haven’t had any of those horses breeding and bringing in fresh, young talent.
Perhaps another metaphor would have been more appropriate?

(Also, it is fascinating to note that Mr. Coleman's analogy seemingly places the responsibility for workforce development on the employees, and not on the employer.)

9 comments:

  1. And all they have to do is to raise the salaries, the hood monkeys shall breed again.

    But there are managers in CROs who still think 65k is appropriate salary for a PhD with 5+ years of experience. Whereas Carnegie Mellon just published data that their UNDERGRADS even without any completed degree that take their computer security hacking classes are being offered on average 108k starting salary right from the school, the signup bonus is not included in the number.

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    1. anon electrochemistJanuary 12, 2017 at 4:40 PM

      Milkshake, do you have a link for that $108k?

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    2. "Undergraduate computer science students at CMU will earn, on average, $108,000 in their first year out of school."

      https://www.cyberscoop.com/david-brumley-nsa-carnegie-mellon-university/

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  2. Coming from a town in the Rust Belt, I saw firsthand what those fat Union paychecks went mostly toward: college tuition.

    I'm not sure if you can breed racehorses from draft horses, but that might explain the empty stable...

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  3. Employers have been shifting employee benefits and training onto employees for awhile - I assume if employers can repeat often enough that training is not their job but the employees, then people will believe it (it works with everything else). In a market where employees are short-term and expendable, it doesn't make sense for them to train them for the competition.

    Of course, in that case, why would employees want to spend their money and time getting skills that aren't helpful elsewhere? When the glue truck has a regular route through your neighborhood, why would horses want to come to your pasture?

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    1. "Employers have been shifting employee benefits and training onto employees for awhile..."
      Also academia. I've seem so many employers lament that college doesn't sufficiently train the work force - which is, of course, because the purpose of education isn't *intended* to train workers. It's to educate them.

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    2. But employees pay for their own education, mostly. At some point (because of loss of public funding a public unis and expansion of administration at private unis) universities act like for profit moieties, and if their students don't get jobs, they don't pay back loans or get donations. Eventually, unis will follow the money, and institute vocational training instead of education. What that means for society is left as an exercise for the reader.

      As long as someone else pays for what businesses want, it's OK. I guess that's true of lots of people and things - there's just the presumption by businesses that someone else should pay for training their employees, and there doesn't seem to be much public disagreement with their opinion.

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    3. I found it surprising that my girlfriend pivoted her career to something in health insurance (from international banking), is providing her with 9 months of training before she actually starts 'flying solo' at work. As a chemist who was essentially thrown into a lab, mostly learning on the fly, I thought that was a nice luxury to have.

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  4. Well, seems to be just the point doesn't it? "Glue truck? What glue truck? There's no glue truck here."

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