LETTERS to the Editor
Skilled Labor Controversy
I read with great interest your two-part article by Cheryl Adams, “Skilled Labor: Help Wanted” [March] and “Cure for Workforce Woes” [April]. My interest peaked when I read that parents are part of the reason that young adults do not go into the printing industry. Boy, is that the truth.
Only the reason is that these kids have seen their parents laid off, downsized, globalized and right-sized out of the industry. So why would a young adult go into an industry that has abandoned their parents that helped build this industry? You bet, “It isn’t your daddy’s print shop any more.” Dad was let go, and the industry doesn’t want him or mom back.
The same industry that has lobbied the federal government to uphold trade agreements that send jobs to other nations wants the government to earmark money for trade schools and community colleges to train younger workers. If industry leaders are passionate about solving this issue, they should pay for it themselves. Not once in either of the stories did I read about apprenticeship programs. These old-school methods are the best way to train people. It is a winning combination for both the company and the worker. Yet the printing industry wants community colleges to teach printing.
Community colleges have also learned that their insurance premiums have gone up because it is risky to have inexperienced students learning on outdated printing equipment that’s been donated by printing companies looking for a tax break. This is not an efficient allocation of funding for schools that have shifted their priorities to high technology.
Industry leaders that are ardent about the labor shortage they created should hire back the people that they got rid of. By rehiring these workers, their children will see that there is a future in this industry and may decide to make printing their career. As a result, the industry will expand its employee base and have a more diversified worker base for decades to come.