Help Wanted: Skills Recession

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Center for an Urban Future recently released a report about New Yorkers lacking the skills to compete in today's industry. The center's director, Jonathan Bowles and executive director of the Workplace Strategy Center Julian Alssid talk about the "skills recession" and a need to invest in training.


Julian Alssid and Jonathan Bowles

Comments [11]

Planck B

These jobs pay mid range at best and represent the people on the factory floor while the people sitting at the top of these healthcare or IT businesses rake in huge profits.

But, those shareholders wouldn't have a product without the skills and heart of these committed workers, and the families and communities that produced them.

And, now we're pumping more tax money into these healthcare profit machines. And IT businesses, banks the biggest users, we're already subsidizing with our tax money too!

"Nurturing the middle-class" has been undermined for 30 yrs. The Middle-class cost the Top 1% shareholders of these healthcare, IT, banking, and military companies too much money since the 1950s, and they started gutting it in the 1970s.

Glad to hear you're waking up to this now. Too late!

Your guest says the surgical tech guy will "do alright", but he has immediate needs right now to bridge this crisis caused by the Top Park Av people in NYC, and their years of weekly trips to Washington on Acela, US Airways shuttle, or private jet!

Mar. 25 2010 10:53 AM
Rick Bruner from Morningside Heights

Statistics. I am in my mid-40s, and I feel very fortunate to have made my career in Internet advertising, as it promises to be a growth sector for years to come. My focus is analyzing the effectiveness of the ads, and I see strong demand there for data analysts. And not just in my ad segment, but with so much about our world going digital, people who understand how to identify patterns and trends in large sets of numbers have bankable skills for the future, and the jobs pay upper-middle-class salaries.

Feb. 15 2010 02:42 PM
inquisigal from Brooklyn, NY

Jgarbuz makes a really good point; the way the media and the US government discuss the job market, you'd think the only kind of jobs that exist in the world are white collar office jobs.
This does everyone such a grave disservice; I agree that not everyone is cut out for office work - I'm not - and it's high time that both the media and the US education tzars start talking about the thousands of other jobs that exist that don't require the illusive and largely useless 4 year-degree.

People are being fed a huge lie about the need for a 4 year-degree, and what being "successful" really entails. Something tells me that all the plumbers, contractors, and exterminators in this city live a better life than all the disgruntled office workers Facebooking all day long!

Feb. 15 2010 12:50 PM
Regina Cahill, Dean TCI College of Technology from 320 West 31st street, NY 10001

As the Dean of the Division of Facilities Technology at TCI College of Technology, I would like to plug a little known resource for just the kind of hybrid training required for jobs of the future as discussed on your show today. In addition to Associate Degrees in Business, Human Services, Information Technology and Electronics; TCI has two year college degrees in HVAC&R and Facilities Management. This long running program is based at TCI, with our origins in the Marconi Institute and followed by the RCA Institute. We have just celebrated 100 years of technical based training.
Students are required to take general education courses as well as those in the technical discipline. Our graduates are filling the ranks of HVAC&R service, installation and design while the graduates of the Facilities Management curriculum have found employment in the diverse area of building and service management.
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Feb. 15 2010 12:33 PM
Andrew from Brooklyn

How does the cost of living factor into the supply side of this kind of labor? Is it even worth it to get an AAS if you can't afford to live in the city on what these "middle skill" jobs pay?

Feb. 15 2010 11:56 AM
Jgarbuz from Queens, NY

When I was in high school in the early 1960s, most operated under the old Dewey "comprehensive" education system where high schools offered 3 or 4 diplomas: (1) The Academic diploma for those relative few going on to college; (2) The Vocational diploma for those going on to work with their hands; (3) The Business diploma for those who were going to go into office work; and (4) The General diploma for those who basically showed up.
This "comprehensive" middle school system was destroyed by those who insisted it was racist, because it tended to "track" Blacks and other minorities into then less lucrative working class skills, and who substituted it with the crazy idea that everyone should go on to college. That's what hollowed out the middle level skills of the American work force.

Feb. 15 2010 11:55 AM
Andy Axnot from Brooklyn

Interesting segment, but, despite Brian's attempts, very short on specifics. It's not enough to name an industry, name job titles and salary ranges. I know of lots of jobs out there that require all sorts of skills, but only offer somewhere in the $10/hr vicinity.

Feb. 15 2010 11:53 AM
John Lobell from NYC

It is not a skills mismatch -- how about graduating kids even from high school with strong math and science, and the ability to show up on time.

Feb. 15 2010 11:49 AM
inquisigal from Brooklyn, NY

What I find most distressing, is the focus in our society on "getting a college education" as a mandatory means to getting a good job, and the fact that many areas of study in college bear little resemblance to how that field operates on the job, in real life.

Many popular fields draw many, many students, but the jobs available in those fields can be very one-dimensional (as your last guest confirmed). I think there is a huge disconnect between students' expectations in the work world, and what most "work" really involves.
I have many friends in their late 30's who are completely changing fields, and taking classes to learn new skills, because of this fact.

Feb. 15 2010 11:47 AM
Jon from NYC

The reason why I land a programming job is because all the programming positions demand (f.ex.) 5+ years of experience in language X, Y, and Z. I've been programming for ages, although not for any company, so I can't say "I worked at so-n-so's in topic x".

This is a vicious cycle: if I don't have the experience, I can't get the experience.

Feb. 15 2010 11:46 AM
Alice from Westchester

What about the ads for jobs that demand all kinds of skill sets.......and then offer $11 or $13 dollars per hour?????

They can ask for all the skills they want....but how about PAYING for them!

And then when you actually apply for the job having the skill set they require, you don't HEAR from them!

Feb. 15 2010 11:43 AM

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