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home : opinion : opinion July 23, 2016


9/23/2012 6:01:00 AM
Column: $50,000 jobs - and no takers?

Rich Thurlow
Editor


Who knew that Dear Abby had the answer - though it's not one that solves the problem.

There's a shortage of a few good men - and women - who possess the skills needed to work in many of the manufacturing jobs available here. These are $1,000-a-week jobs, and that's pretty good pay around here.

I figured if the local workers can't fill the void, surely there must be enough people across the country who would love to come to our part of Arizona.

And then Abby set me straight in Monday's Miner. Her column reads in part:

"In years past, skilled trades were handed down with pride from one generation to the next. However, as baby boomers have been retiring, fewer young people have been stepping forward to take their place. In fact, according to a recent talent shortage survey by ManpowerGroup, more jobs for skilled tradesmen go unfilled than any other category of employment.

"Why? Because there aren't enough trained replacements to fill openings for electricians, welders, mechanics, plumbers, roofers and more."

Later on we learn that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, "for every three tradesmen who retire, only one person is stepping up to fill the gap."

Finally, Abby points out that "people in the trades earn good money."

That's the part that has me baffled. How is it that recent generations have had a shortage of people with specific aptitudes? Or is it that our education shortcomings are such that we aren't getting students to a level where they can learn to be an electrician or a plumber?

Whatever the cause, the news is troubling.

•••

Policy is always subject to change, as is the case with individual candidates and their public schedules.

In the past, the Miner has been more than happy to publicize events that feature a number of candidates, such as the forums hosted by political clubs.

We have shied away from publicizing when one specific candidate was going to be at a specific location to meet with voters for a couple of reasons. First, it could be taken as a plug by the paper. Second, keeping up with all the candidates and all their activities - if they chose to submit them to the Miner - could be overwhelming.

For the time being, the idea that we're providing a public service is outweighing those other concerns. That's why District 4 Supervisor candidate James Clark's meet and greet Saturday at Meadview was on Page 2 of Friday's Miner.

Candidates, until we're swamped with notices, we will gladly put your "meet and greet" campaign events in the Miner. Just get the information to us well ahead of time, and please leave a contact number for verification.

•••

So, what's the latest on SB1070? Did I hear that some court somewhere has decided it's OK to, in the course of routine police business, inquire about immigration status?

Yes I did.

The Associated Press report on the ruling referred to it as a "contentious" issue, and others have called it controversial. I don't know why.

Every official contact I've had with law enforcement - and there haven't been many - I've been required to show my driver's license. As I remember, it was a lovely spring day in 1989 in Wyoming. I was cruising along on a paved county road and had just turned to the passenger and said something like, "You can drive as fast as you want here" when I saw the flashing lights. But I digress ...

Opponents have skipped over the part about how routine showing identification is.

The AP put it this way: "Critics have assailed the provision as un-American, saying it paves the way for ethnic discrimination and racial profiling, providing officers a justification for stopping people based on how they look."

That's a curious way to describe how the law works, especially since that's not how it works.

I'm sure we'll be hearing more about SB 1070.

•••

You've heard of killing the goose that lays the golden egg, but have you ever met someone stupid enough to try it?

Of course not. Such a goose has never existed.

The next best thing, though, might be the Skywalk at Grand Canyon West, where someone is surely doing stupid stuff at an attraction all but guaranteed to rake in millions every year.

I don't know enough about it to tell you if it's the tribe or the developer who is responsible for the stupidity, and perhaps both fit the bill.

But now that lawyers, arbitrators and judges are involved, I wouldn't want to be seen standing around with bloody feathers on my hands.


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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, November 24, 2012
Article comment by: Make A Move

@ Skilled trade

I somewhat agree. I have to add that as we wind-down from the two wars, where are those servicemen going to work? You already see it on the news and in the unemployment figures. How about manufacturing plant take these servicemen at face value. A high percentage of these folks didn't have the chance to get a degree because of the wars but have the skills to repair equipment at their plants with little training. Drop the requirements for degrees in their ads and watch the people flock to those jobs.


Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: Tj Denton

Anson, im not going to argue my life accomplishments with you. But i have never recieved a penny of government assistance. My God has blessed my life incredibly. And i was simply stating that. Not sure why you use that to try and belittle and judge the citizens of mohave county. You should show respect to all people regardless of their financial situation. Your true colors are showing anson

Posted: Saturday, September 29, 2012
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

“i do extremely well here in arizona and have no complaints about this place economy wise”

Food stamps, welfare and free health care are not really “doing well,” oh wait, that is “doing well” in Mohave County.


Posted: Friday, September 28, 2012
Article comment by: tj denton

how do you know what i wish pseudonym?
i do extremely well here in arizona and have no complaints about this place economy wise


Posted: Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Article comment by: Jeff Grays

The lack of replacement's in the trades, are due to : most of the younglings do not care to break a sweat or get off their butts.
The lack of controlled parenting lets them sit on their duff and not work and play/become addicted to video games. The commercial if you remember it..Get up and Get out ! The kids smacking on the TV became breathless screaming and banging on the TV in 2 minutes.was a true stab at getting them motivated. Total lack of initiative or "gumption" to do anything that requires labor or commitment. I am sure this offends a few. I don't really care. As a study of Human Nature for over 50 yrs . this has become my view.


Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Article comment by: Jack Dundee

Lots of really dumb comments here! If you are not to stupid or lazy to learn a trade you can make a good living in Kingman & the surrounding area! If you say you are good at what you do but the employer will fire you if you don't work 60-70 hours a week........face it...you ain't that good! Mechanic jobs go a begging because there are lots of Technicions & few mechanics. Same for machinists & welders. Learn a trade & get so good at it that people line up to hire you! That is a fact!

Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Article comment by: Doing Research

@Concerned Cit
@Same Old
@Trained

You're all talking about treating the symptoms though, not the cause.

Very few people know what they want to be when they're 14 years old. Anyone with true passion for a field at that age will find it on their own. But why aren't our schools better able to either A) guide our kids to careers they'll like and excel at or B) diagnose very likely options early on?

I agree - college is not for everyone. Why waste everyone's time when we should be looking for how to send the right people to the right place?

@Strum

But people will not hesitate to claim we live in the midst of a Bolshevik revolution if you unionize - or even practice collective bargaining. Careful who you share these ideas with, comrade!

@TJ

Last I checked Chicago is doing exceptionally well in all those areas in which you wish Arizona was doing well. Condos built over the last few months a block from my former co-worker just sold for $300K+ each. Construction and housing sales in action. Even with unions and a Democratic governor and mayor - and without a hammer and sicle on the city's flag!


Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Article comment by: Ted Ketchum III

My family and i moved here in Dec.2011 i have over 10 years in warehouse supervisor and have some collage under my belt.And have a class a lic.and 20 years of customer service.But i am still looking for a job.So is it that you have nobody to fill these jobs or no cheap labor.

Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Article comment by: tj denton

yeah bobo, unions are so amazing. doing real good over there in chicago huh? lazy union members spend more time picketing and crying than they actually work.

Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Article comment by: Just For Quick Cash!

Rich, there are plenty of qualified people in Kingman to fill those High Paying Jobs. Unfortunately they are the ones that have chosen to go make some quick cash then quit rather than live a life of constantly being treated like slaves. Maybe the thought of a decent 8 hour day, 5 days a week is what the "People" in the Industrial Park need to take at look at.14 hr+ days, 7 days a week get old real fast! Yes, I worked out there. Hire more people and reduce the burden on just a few people may be the answer to "thier" problem.

Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Article comment by: gun owner 000

Some of the postings have hit the nail on the head, so to speak, around here. The words "skilled" and "educated" are tossed about freely. But, look at today's fresh crop of high school grads. Most of them want to go to college, and get a degree in something like computer games or designing tattoos. Yes, there are real, well paying jobs out there. But, the employers typically pay as little as they can get away with, or attempt to work a qualified employee to death, given the chance.
Most of the qualified, experienced people of the workforce have been driven out by age, harassment, or stupidity (or any of the three combined). And where are the replacements? Sitting at home, drunk, smokin' dope, or playing "Angry Birds" on their "Smart Phones"
Too bad. The employment scene is flooded with hordes of college graduates, with Master's Degrees in Philosophy, and "Music Appreciation", Tradesmen are sorely lacking.


Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Article comment by: CC DUBYA

It's like I been sayin' all along. There just ain't enough family members to fill all these huge payin' jobs here in the thriving metropolis of Kingman. Therefore these people will have to resort to hiring their special friends.

It is utterly stupid to say that Kingman has high paying jobs and just doesn't have qualified people here to fill them. It is a flat out lie. Evidently people here still believe you can put lipstick on a pig and turn it into a super model.


Posted: Monday, September 24, 2012
Article comment by: YAH RIGHT

Rich said: "We have shied away from publicizing when one specific candidate was going to be at a specific location to meet with voters for a couple of reasons. First, it could be taken as a plug by the paper."

Yet it could be said that you strategically left out names (based on partinship) of certain articles where meet and greets were written about or picked and chose who to quote.

Sorry, but KDM did NOT stay out of the politics of this election. It could be said by many that you manipulated the small amount of media coverage that you offered.

Robert Lane for instance?


Posted: Monday, September 24, 2012
Article comment by: mr. parker

Actually, Rich you and skilled trade,and concerned citizen have nailed it. As a relative newcomer here, I checked MCC's curriculum and found that they offer training in auto body and mechanical repair. They offer certificates in HVAC, electrician training,welders and even truck driving. And a myriad of health care choices.

Before the democrat congress was beginning their recession causing spending, we had a period of low unemployment under Bush, companies in WI were hiring truck drivers and welders(with appropriate paperwork) from Ireland and Poland.Many other legal immigrants worked driving taxis and in restaurants. Some even opened their own businesses and their families slept in the rear of the stores.

Now cheap fly by night contractors pay illegals cash to work construction every morning from the front of Home Depots' and Lowe's. E verify and SB1070 will help stop this abuse during this time of increasingly high unemployment in the Obama Recession.

The sad fact is, a lot of Americans think that they are above such honorable work. It's much more fun to party all night and collect SS disability for generalized anxiety disorder or for alcoholism and drug abuse. while dealing a little dope to make ends meet. BTW, MCC offers training programs for counselors treating addictions.

@former taker, I honestly don't know why you would start your own business and leave a field doing something you actually liked. It's usually the opposite. BTW, MCC offers a program in small business and entrepreneurship. Maybe that would help.


Posted: Monday, September 24, 2012
Article comment by: BOBO CLOWN

Was Union for 20 years have real money coming in from retirement got my SS & on comparing it to what these Right to Work Dummies get I feel like a millionaire living here. Dump that dumb RIGHT TO WORK CRAP & get some unions in here & you will see this area grow & prosper as NY, LA, SF. etc. have in the last 100 years or there abouts

Posted: Monday, September 24, 2012
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

I guess this column achieved some form of political aim! I cannot see that much of it had any value or worth to the average Mohave County citizen telling them they are to poorly educated to qualify for these $50,000 jobs, or that SB 1070 is the biggest issue facing america today! I guess when one has a billy pulpit to write ones view one gets a bit arrogant! Where is the schools in the county to educate someone to qualify for these $50,000 jobs, why would anyone care about SB 1070 so far from the southern border? I guess we all have our opinions and the old corny saying on opinions holds true today!

Posted: Monday, September 24, 2012
Article comment by: Skilled trade

I think a common trend that may be affecting the lack of skilled trade is the national push towards 4 year college degrees. Working as a plumber, electrician, or roofer - despite the excellent pay - does not appeal to the vast majority of 18 year olds picking our which college to go to, or which degree to pursue. Recent articles in Newsweek have addressed this issue, stating that college may not be worth the debt. Hopefully the trend will be back towards experience and a simple community college/state university degree.

Posted: Sunday, September 23, 2012
Article comment by: Sturm Gewehr

Oh yeah, $1000 a week? Lemme tell you about the realities of earning $1000 per week around here. To earn that you might as well give up your home,your family, any semblance of a life away from work will vanish. You will be workin 12 hours a day six days a week. You will be worked like a dog and treated like one as well. You will drag your butt home, dead tired, stuff something in your face, shower, then crash. Before you know, it it'll be time to hit it again, and you'll do that till its all a blur.
You will be told with a minimum of notice that six twelves are out until you're caught up with production. From then on you'll be working six twelves PLUS an eight hour shift until............and if you don't like it.........
Pick one of those plum manufacturing employers Rich, and fill out an application. You will literally sign your home life away.
I want a job, not a new life. I wanna work, but not be worked until I'm a zombie, then dumped because I have an accident caused by fatigue.
That's the reality (around here) dude.


Posted: Sunday, September 23, 2012
Article comment by: Avg Joe

How did this article go from $50,000 a year skilled job shortages to arizona politics?

Posted: Sunday, September 23, 2012
Article comment by: Former Taker

Why do you continue to carry on with these misleading numbers? How about a little dose of reality for a change like explaining what it means when stating average pay at $50k/year.
I was one of those making that average pay, but to put it in perspective I was probably the fourth or fifth highest paid person at our location out a total of 70 to 120 employees depending on the number of temps being used.
Production workers who make up 70 to 80% of the workforce make between 20 to 25k /year. (probably 50 to 100 actual employees)
Production Supervisors, Electricians, Mechanics, Sales support personnel make between 32 to 45k/yr. (less than 20 actual employees)
Electrical/Mechanical Supervisors, Manufacturing Engineer, Safety/Environmental Manager & Asst. Plant Manager between 45 to 70k/yr. (4 employees)
General Manager & Plant Manager probably 100k plus but you would have to ask them.
Now Laron might be an exception to the rule and pay their millwrights pretty well, but as whole out in the industrial park there are not that many opportunities to make the 50k you like to throw around, otherwise I would be dropping the headaches of running my own business to go back into the line of work I enjoy most.


Posted: Sunday, September 23, 2012
Article comment by: David Rogers

Rich let me help you on your lack of thought or knowledge about why our new generation lacks the specific aptitudes or education shortcomings. First let’s start with the telecommunication and high voltage (power companies). These companies have been the largest contributor to the lack of young skilled labor. These companies have reduced the journeyman programs within their companies to zero. Now sir it is coming back to bite them in the butt. This was due to supporting the shareholders and not the health of the company. The management of these corporations has failed America and now their stock holders. I hope this issue is a wake-up call. American workers built these corporations and their governance needs to support the American worker

Posted: Sunday, September 23, 2012
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

“Or is it that our education shortcomings are such that we aren't getting students to a level where they can learn to be an electrician or a plumber?”

The ability to learn specific trades is still there, but when you live in a state that has cut education funding to the point that any type of trade instruction is diminished to the point of non-existence – then you do not have a base of trained individuals to work from. As President Clinton said, “It’s arithmetic.”

“That's a curious way to describe how the law works, especially since that's not how it works.”

Actually that is exactly how the law works and as the court cases start showing up demonstrating that is what is transpiring the truth will finally come out.


Posted: Sunday, September 23, 2012
Article comment by: Trained Observer

Instead of herding kids toward college or trade schools for medical assisting and computer repair, why isn't there more emphasis on skilled trades? Mechanics and plumbers usually do well during bad economic times when they are laying off engineers. Everyone has to get repairs. Where are the high schools and classes that can prepare people for these trades? Will we have to import these jobs from China soon?

Posted: Sunday, September 23, 2012
Article comment by: Same Old Thing

Boy do I feel dumb. Here I thought it was SB 1070. Can't be a typo either. Rich "I hate poor people" Thurlow did it twice.

He must be right. Who needs college?


Posted: Sunday, September 23, 2012
Article comment by: Concerned Citizen

I have a possible answer, and without sounding too political, we have had educators and talking heads for decades beating the drum for a "college" education. And while I have no problem with education, going to college and getting a degree in art history or university studies (if you play football) doesn't really prepare you for earning a living in the real world. We should finally admit that while college is important to some, like aspiring engineers and chemists, and doctors, the typical individual needs skills that will feed him and his family, and provide some kind of long term security. An interesting book on the subject is Shopclass as Soulcraft, written by a highly educated guy that gives it all up to open a motorcycle repair shop....a great read, and a great explanation of where we are annd how we got there.



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