Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Return To Skilled Trades?

Recently, I have read a lot of blogs and articles voicing the concern that America is loosing its desire to "work" and that we are outsourcing all our manual or manufacturing work overseas.  If you have ever seen the show Dirty Jobs on the Discovery and/or Science channel, you'll recognize Mike Rowe. Below is a fidoe he made concerning this topic: http://www.mikeroweworks.com/2009/07/mikes-mission-video/

This video introduce mikeroweworks.com and his plea to keep the "honesty" in an honest day's work. The synopsis of his plea is that his experiences as a traveling short-term apprentice for trade-type jobs has lead him to conclude that Americans are avoiding hard work or "dirty jobs" and that America is loathe to do the type of work to keep American strong. He feels that we have all become American Idles (not Idols).

So this begs the question:  "What is the likelihood that the tide can be reversed to show that jobs once considered "dirty (brown), honest jobs" which now fall under the umbrella of "blue collar" or manual labor, can be considered good, well paying, skilled labor?

I believe that this can happen. As Mike puts it: Brown before Green.

One thing about "skilled" trades: they CANNOT be shipped overseas! Yes, you MIGHT get immigrants to come in and suppress some jobs, but as things get MORE complicated, the skill set requirements for "manual" labor becomes more demanding, and untrained, uneducated laborers will not be able to compete for those jobs.

As an example, my oldest son has foregone college to become an auto mechanic that pays $40/hour! As he goes through the trades he can be earning $75/hour. He is bright enough to be an engineer, but feels "safer" with the skill trades, and plus he saves $200,000 in college costs while generating $100,000 in revenues. It will take him 20 years to make up that difference at zero interest, and 30 years at 6%!

So, economically, it is starting to make sense to look at the "trades" again.  Money, my friends, changes everything.

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