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The Labor Gap: Mike Rowe’s Visit to Congress

Bill Hall | August 25, 2017

There's always something to be said about skilled trade and vocational work. But TV personality Mike Rowe got it right: companies need to make jobs cool again.

Rowe attended a meeting with the House Education and the Workforce subcommittee in Congress. He urged the board to think about new laws about the subject. Such laws should enable federal funding for the technical and trade training of young people.

The proposed programs can serve up to 11 million students.

The numbers can substantially fill up the labor gap the country is experiencing today.

They can help students receive the knowledge and skill sets to aid them in forging their career paths.

The programs will also provide real-life experience in several fields. These include plastic custom injection molding, automotive service, health care, law enforcement and more.

The proposed law is a valuable investment in helping the workforce become skilled and competent. It's also a worthwhile endeavor to help prepare students for their post-secondary education.

The law in question also aims to counter the mounting labor gap across all states. In manufacturing industries, like those that offer injection molding service, 6 out of 10 jobs are unoccupied due to the skill gap.

In fact, 84% of manufacturers are on the same page that there is now a talent shortage. Worse things will happen if these projections continue. By 2020, roughly 6 million positions will remain unoccupied.

The panelists agreed of several reasons why the skill gap is becoming hard to ignore. One of the primary reasons is that most young people in the workforce are unprepared for these jobs.

Also, many are persuaded to put vocational and skilled trades on the bottom of their career lists. In today’s educational system, a lot of high schools don’t even have vocational courses.

This is partly due on how most Americans view a career in trades as consolation prizes. This misguided belief poses a clear danger to the country’s economic security.

The skilled labor gap will not go away if students are constantly told that a four-year degree is the only way to succeed.

While Mike Rowe brought attention to the labor gap and proposed a solution on the national scale, here in Hall County we are addressing the issue with coordinated efforts from government and education resources.

With more than 16,000 students enrolled in area schools and colleges, Gainesville-Hall County has become a hub of developing skilled labor.  Hall County Schools and Lanier Technical College operate and promote programs that focus on vocational careers to continue developing skilled labor resources.

The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce reports that quality of life and employeement opportunities in the area are often cited by skilled workers relocating to Gainesville-Hall County. 

As such, it’s important to make skilled trades work something to aspire for.

There must be a nationwide PR facelift to change the image of the manufacturing workforce.

The makeover must be coordinated and implemented in all fronts to make it a success.

Schools, government, employers, and nonprofits must work together. This plan can elevate the technical training and trade skills of students. This will help them have rewarding careers in manufacturing.  

Topics: Labor Gao

Bill Hall
Bill Hall on August 25, 2017

Bill is the Founder and President of Murray Plastics, Inc.