Young And Unskilled?

I've been working in the field running a turnaround on a small production plant.  As the week has gone on something struck me.  All the senior field guys are over 50.  All the skilled laborers, the welders, the foremen, the operators are all over 50.  It doesn't seem to be an issue of the older guys simply refusing to retire either.  The younger guys in general do not have the skill set to do these jobs.

The younger guys in general have a tendency to take their time starting work and knock off early even if the job is not yet complete.  If something isn't working they will keep on trying it instead of looking for a better solution.

I am not sure what happens when the 60 year old skilled workers have all retired.  What happens when all the kids that should be working with a wrench or screwdriver or welding torch don't know which end to hold because they've all been told that college is the answer.  Instead of a rewarding career building, making, and fixing they are sitting at home trying to figure out what to do with a business or liberal arts degree.  What happens when we figure out that we can't outsource these jobs to China?  What happens when there aren't enough Americans that know how?

1 comment:

  1. Good point. It was brought home to me when Trinidad Junior College started a utility lineman program, because all the experienced linemen/women were over 50.

    Too many kids bought the message of "go to college and you will make more money." When I was teaching at CSU-Pueblo, I used to fantasize about mass executions of high-school guidance counselors, since about a third of the entering freshmen did not belong there--not because they were intellectually incapable but because, deep down, they did not want to be there.