Column: $50,000 jobs - and no takers?

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.