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kojax
 Post subject: Re: Skills shortage?  |  Posted: Sun Jan 04, 2015 3:22 am
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Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:43 am
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 billvon wrote:Average janitorial wage in the US in $25,834 (salary.com)Living wage for Fresno, California for a single person is$19,132 (livingwage.mit.edu)Delta - $6702Tuition at Fresno City College$1324 - (fresnocitycollege.edu) for less than half time studentBooks and supplies estimate $1262 (from same website)Transportation estimate$1258Total $3844 in increased expenses for collegeLeft over -$2858 a yearDon't forget to include asking where this guy is going to find the time. However, while we're on this topic I have to concede that the situation looks even more optimistic if the janitor were to pursue a trade instead of a collegiate degree. Maybe become a machinist, or a locksmith, or something like that? Then use his new, higher wage, to go to college?The trouble is that too many people have kids too young, and then their expenses begin to sky rocket. It's hard to weigh saving money against buying the kid something to help them in school. If you honestly can't afford it, then you can forgo stuff to stay in budget, but you'll be tempted to spend any money that is available helping them to get a good start in life, instead of helping yourself. A janitor with kids will likely remain a janitor his whole life.
billvon
 Post subject: Re: Skills shortage?  |  Posted: Sun Jan 04, 2015 6:29 am

Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2014 5:23 pm
Posts: 86

 kojax wrote:Don't forget to include asking where this guy is going to find the time.Or who he will get help from if he has problems with the coursework, or how he will afford to drive to school if he has a gas guzzler, or what happens if he gets sick and can't take a final . . . . yes, there are a lot of challenges faced by anyone trying to get an education. It's certainly not the easy option.Quote:The trouble is that too many people have kids too young, and then their expenses begin to sky rocket. It's hard to weigh saving money against buying the kid something to help them in school. If you honestly can't afford it, then you can forgo stuff to stay in budget, but you'll be tempted to spend any money that is available helping them to get a good start in life, instead of helping yourself.Definitely - and that's just one of the choices he might make early on that might make it harder to get an education. You can't hit "reset" on every decision you make in life.
kojax
 Post subject: Re: Skills shortage?  |  Posted: Sun Jan 04, 2015 11:02 am
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Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:43 am
Posts: 582

Rory
 Post subject: Re: Skills shortage?  |  Posted: Sun Jan 04, 2015 4:16 pm

Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 6:02 am
Posts: 1921

 Well now in the UK tuition fees are upto £9,000 per year, and that is what Oxbridge and red brick/Russell Group Universities tend to charge. So if you want an undergraduate education from an institution with a high REF status then that is £27,000 just for tuition - then accommodation and living expenses will generally be in the region of £10,000 per year. So... £30,000 on living expenses for the duration of the degree. Total £57,000. A janitor (we tend to call them cleaners or caretakers in the UK) typically earns minimum wage which is currently £6.50/hour. A janitor working 9-5 would earn approximately £11,000 per year - the first £10,000 or so is tax-free so let's assume that the janitor pays no tax. Even if by living extremely frugally the janitor was able to save half of his wage every month (which is approximately the amount that unemployed welfare recipients live on) then it would still take him 10.36 years to be able to afford the costs of education. Call me cynical but I don't think anybody in their right mind would think that a good strategy. _________________If you are doomed to be boring - make it short. Andre Geim
billvon
 Post subject: Re: Skills shortage?  |  Posted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 7:12 pm

Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2014 5:23 pm
Posts: 86

 Rory wrote: A janitor (we tend to call them cleaners or caretakers in the UK) typically earns minimum wage which is currently £6.50/hour. Ah, that's part of the difference, then. Your average janitor here makes 70% more than minimum wage, and of course education is far cheaper.In any case, if such people want to advance into a different job, the best way to help them do that is to make education more affordable. Basic (community college level) education should be as close to free as we can make it.
iNow
 Post subject: Re: Skills shortage?  |  Posted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 5:21 am

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Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:40 pm
Posts: 5728
Location: Iowa

 billvon wrote:Basic (community college level) education should be as close to free as we can make it.I certainly agree, but do wonder... Why stop at basic education and community college? Are you thinking maybe that nothing beyond that is politically feasible, or do you have some other reason why to limit it there and not include university, too? Perhaps you never meant to imply a limit at all and I'm just reading something into your words that you didn't intend to convey? _________________iNow"[Time] is one of those concepts that is profoundly resistant to a simple definition." ~C. Sagan
Rory
 Post subject: Re: Skills shortage?  |  Posted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 8:48 am

Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 6:02 am
Posts: 1921

 There might be the implicit attitude that those unable to pay, regardless of their academic ability, do not deserve to be provided with the highest stabdard of education - or, even if they do deserve it, you don't particularly want them to receive it. It's the same reason why, when presented with prospective students of equal academic ability from different social classes, Oxbridge will disproportionately favour the upper class kids. I think this boils down to the fact that those making the decisions are themselves from an upoer class background and they can't see past the threat to their own social standing caused by social mobility to regard smart working class kids as an asset. As a working class candidate you are very quickly made to feel unwelcome. _________________If you are doomed to be boring - make it short. Andre Geim
kojax
 Post subject: Re: Skills shortage?  |  Posted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 3:53 am
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Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:43 am
Posts: 582

 We're still stuck with the other question though: will education level the playing field?There is no guarantee it will. Supply and demand is what sets prices, even for labor. If a skillset is scarce, it will command a higher price than it would if it were common. Your average high school graduate today is probably more educated overall than high school graduates 100 years ago. And 100 years ago having a high school diploma was not nearly as commn an achievement as it is today. What happens when a college degree gets to be as common as a highschool diploma?If everyone has a scarce skillset, then either A: The economy would need to have so many specialized roles that every form of specialist is scarce. (Very nearly 1 role per 1000 or 10,000 people, so as to keep the pool of applicants small for every possible career path.) or B: The skillsets would no longer be scarce, and therefore would likely no longer command a high market price.Consider, for example, how much money automechanics make. It's a trade that requires a good amount of skill and training. But really how well does it pay? This is how much:http://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jo ... nic/salary The most plausible explanation for the generally lower wage is that too many people know how to do it. I think it is not because it isn't a useful skill, nor because it isn't difficult to learn.
billvon
 Post subject: Re: Skills shortage?  |  Posted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 5:14 am

Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2014 5:23 pm
Posts: 86

 iNow wrote:billvon wrote:Basic (community college level) education should be as close to free as we can make it.I certainly agree, but do wonder... Why stop at basic education and community college? Because that provides the basic skills needed to escape low-paying jobs, if the worker desires to do so. It is not necessary to provide the education needed to get to a PhD, for example - by the time someone has the education to consider becoming a PhD candidate their employment opportunities have greatly expanded. Quote:Are you thinking maybe that nothing beyond that is politically feasible, or do you have some other reason why to limit it there and not include university, too? Perhaps you never meant to imply a limit at all and I'm just reading something into your words that you didn't intend to convey?This might be another terminology difference. Community college is "university" level education - it's just not as prestigious. Many community colleges offer full bachelor's degrees, and some offer MBA's and the like.That being said, funding bachelor's degrees at other schools might also be a good idea. Community colleges provide basic post-primary education, which is the ticket out of a great many low paying jobs - so that should be the first priority.
Rory
 Post subject: Re: Skills shortage?  |  Posted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 11:19 am

Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 6:02 am
Posts: 1921

 kojax, yes, that's one of the points I was trying to stress earlier, that even if a minimum wage employee somehow sacrificed the majority of their income over decades to be able to fund their studies, the resulting qualification and skill set would not out-compete that of fellow graduates (of which there are many) and actually his/her social background will diminish the chances of securing a first graduate-level job, and of progressing in the field. If you speak with a broad accent then the types of people in a position to make a hiring decision will tend to assume that you are not capable of having valuable ideas. billvon, so why don't working class people of academic ability deserve an Ivy league education? _________________If you are doomed to be boring - make it short. Andre Geim
iNow
 Post subject: Re: Skills shortage?  |  Posted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 5:19 pm

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Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:40 pm
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Location: Iowa

billvon
 Post subject: Re: Skills shortage?  |  Posted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 3:40 am

Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2014 5:23 pm
Posts: 86

 kojax wrote:We're still stuck with the other question though: will education level the playing field?On what variable? Raw talent? People with more raw talent (intelligence, good judgment etc) will almost always be more successful than people without talent, assuming equal education. So no, it won't level the field that way.Home environment? Again, no - someone from a poor home environment (low priority placed on education, no support, no role models) will almost always do more poorly than someone from a good home environment, again assuming the same education.All education can do is to level the _educational_ playing field. Even with excellent free education for all, some will opt to not avail themselves of it, and some will not be _able_ to avail themselves of it, and some will not have the intelligence to benefit from it.Quote:Your average high school graduate today is probably more educated overall than high school graduates 100 years ago. I don't know about that. Here are the directions for an eighth grade test from ~100 years ago:http://bullittcountyhistory.org/bullitthistory/bchistory/schoolexam1912.htmlHow many 13 year olds today could pass that?Quote:The most plausible explanation for the generally lower wage is that too many people know how to do it. I think it is not because it isn't a useful skill, nor because it isn't difficult to learn.That's likely - but keep in mind that that might be _due_ to the task becoming easier, or demand going down, or because it is now possible for someone in India to do it.
Rory
 Post subject: Re: Skills shortage?  |  Posted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:02 am

Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 6:02 am
Posts: 1921

 billvon, I think kojax meant (and kojax please correct if I misinterpreted): would education level the economic playing field? I.e. if you granted all lower class individuals interested in receiving an education, the same standard of education as is currently only received by those with the ability to pay (upper classes), then would the economic fortunes of both classes of graduate equalise? Personally I don't think that they would, due to discrimination against working class individuals in the workplace, and also due to market forces (supply of graduates in the labour market being high and demand for graduate-level labour being low). _________________If you are doomed to be boring - make it short. Andre Geim
kojax
 Post subject: Re: Skills shortage?  |  Posted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 1:17 pm
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kojax
 Post subject: Re: Skills shortage?  |  Posted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 2:54 pm
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Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:43 am
Posts: 582

 iNow wrote:kojax wrote:The most plausible explanation for the generally lower wage is that too many people know how to do it. ...or because those who control the wages are no longer pressured by workers organized in groups / unions...or because unemployment is so high that the laborforce supply is high while laborforce demand is low and hiring companies have no incentive to compete with higher wages...or because regulations on companies have been slashed...or because owners are no longer in the shops, but instead conglomerates that own every shop within a given geograpy...or ad infinitum...So, CORRECTION: "Too many people having the skill" is ONE plausible explanation, but not necessarily THE MOST plausible. Surely, any reasonable observer would acknowledge that all of these factors contribute to the wage stagnation we see.Mechanics were still earning a pretty low wage even in the 1990's, when the economy was doing better. A union might be able to mitigate the effect a bit, but even having a union won't enable you to fully overcome a supply/demand imbalance. I'm presently working for the US Post Office, which has a union, and they've allowed the company to slash wages to the point where you can be 2 years in now, and you will still be earning less than what the starting wage was for a temp 6 years ago. It seems that demand for mail has gone down even more than aggregate demand overall, because of email and stuff.But I definitely agree those things also affect it, especially the consolidation issue. The major advantage of a consolidator is their ability to force low prices out of the providers of their inputs, be it wages, materials, services - you name it. Anything specialized to the point where it can't be put to use in another industry (no option for "substitution" of employment) begins to become undervalued once one corporation gains too much market share for an industry. They then pass on most of the savings to the consumer. So, good for the consumer. Well.... unless the consumer was getting their income by providing one of those inputs....
iNow
 Post subject: Re: Skills shortage?  |  Posted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 3:35 pm

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Location: Iowa

billvon
 Post subject: Re: Skills shortage?  |  Posted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:18 pm

Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2014 5:23 pm
Posts: 86

 Rory wrote:I think kojax meant (and kojax please correct if I misinterpreted): would education level the economic playing field? I.e. if you granted all lower class individuals interested in receiving an education, the same standard of education as is currently only received by those with the ability to pay (upper classes), then would the economic fortunes of both classes of graduate equalise?Definitely not, although they would likely move in that direction. I don't know who you consider "lower class" but let's assume you meant low-income people. They might be low-income for a variety of reasons:1) They do not have access to educational opportunities they could use to improve themselves2) They do not wish to continue in school3) They do not have the intelligence, skill or ability to do very well at most endeavors4) They prefer their lives the way they are5) They are discriminated against based on their sex, skin color, religion or handicapOf those things, making education universally available will only change one. It is (IMO) quite important to provide people with that opportunity, but that alone will not "equalize the classes." Indeed, nothing will completely - although we can reduce the gap.
iNow
 Post subject: Re: Skills shortage?  |  Posted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 5:08 am

Original Member

Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:40 pm
Posts: 5728
Location: Iowa

 Reminded me of this quote:"In 100 years we have gone from teaching Latin and Greek in high school to teaching Remedial English in college." - Joseph Sobran _________________iNow"[Time] is one of those concepts that is profoundly resistant to a simple definition." ~C. Sagan
iNow
 Post subject: Re: Skills shortage?  |  Posted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 11:50 pm

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Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:40 pm
Posts: 5728
Location: Iowa

 Another perspective:http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/23/opini ... power.htmlQuote:there’s a new form of issue-dodging packaged as seriousness on the rise. This time, the evasion involves trying to divert our national discourse about inequality into a discussion of alleged problems with education. And the reason this is an evasion is that whatever serious people may want to believe, soaring inequality isn’t about education; it’s about power. <...> I keep seeing is people insisting that educational failings are at the root of still-weak job creation, stagnating wages and rising inequality. This sounds serious and thoughtful. But it’s actually a view very much at odds with the evidence, not to mention a way to hide from the real, unavoidably partisan debate.The education-centric story of our problems runs like this: We live in a period of unprecedented technological change, and too many American workers lack the skills to cope with that change. This “skills gap” is holding back growth, because businesses can’t find the workers they need. It also feeds inequality, as wages soar for workers with the right skills but stagnate or decline for the less educated. So what we need is more and better education. <...> It’s repeated so widely that many people probably assume it’s unquestionably true. But it isn’t. <...> there’s no evidence that a skills gap is holding back employment. <...> the notion that highly skilled workers are generally in demand is just false. _________________iNow"[Time] is one of those concepts that is profoundly resistant to a simple definition." ~C. Sagan
Rory
 Post subject: Re: Skills shortage?  |  Posted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:18 pm

Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 6:02 am
Posts: 1921

 Absolutely - it doesn't make sense to claim that there is a skills shortage when more young people than ever (at least, in the UK) are completing higher education. I am a real-life example: ask me to run an agarose gel, perform a Western blot, culture some cells, review the literature, write a paper, design an experiment, solve real world problems and I can do it, as I have done in my previous jobs. Will anybody employ me to do it? Na-da. Will anybody consider me to work in a low-skilled job as a factory worker or waitress? Maybe - as long as I don't expect contractual rights such as fair pay, guaranteed hours, a pension or job security. UK and US labour market you make me _________________If you are doomed to be boring - make it short. Andre Geim
kojax
 Post subject: Re: Skills shortage?  |  Posted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:21 am
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Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:43 am
Posts: 582

 It depends on what kind of skill you are after. The "conjure demand from nowhere" skill is in high demand right now. But not very many people have that skill. A few governments out there are willing to mint money and spend it on useless projects (or wars.) But outside of that, most of the money that would go into demand is getting sopped up into the investment sector in the form of debt/investment, where it gradually circulates less and less until it stagnates.
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