Edmonds Military Wire: Experts claim ‘no shortage of jobs’

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By Michael Schinder

“We have a lack-of-skilled-labor problem.” At least that is what one expert in Washington, D.C.  told me this past Friday. As we were discussing the issue of Veterans and jobs, the conversation digressed to the overall issue of employment in America…or lack thereof. According to this economist, whom I will not name — but suffice it to say that he holds a senior executive position with the Veterans Administration — we have plenty of jobs.

With unemployment hovering between 9 percent and 18 percent (depends on what factors one uses to determine “true” unemployment), the “Occupiers” taking to the streets in protest of corporate greed and “no jobs,” it may seem reasonable to believe that America has a job shortage. But studies suggest the opposite.

A report co-authored by Deloitte, Oracle,and the Manufacturing Institute found that high-tech U.S. companies are suffering from a shortage of qualified skilled technical workers.

In our own back yard, some 40 percent of Boeing workers will be eligible for retirement within five years. “That’s some 60,000 employees eligible to retire. . . . We just don’t see the (recruitment) pipeline meeting our needs,” says Rick Stephens, senior vice president for human resources at Boeing.

So what is it? No jobs or no skilled talent? What of this issue of veterans not being able to find jobs then? When you look at the stats, 99 percent  of our military has a high school diploma or higher – that compared to only 86 percent of the civilian population…yet, our vets have a higher unemployment rate.

Hmmm.

Regardless of what the experts say, if you or someone you know is looking for work, outside of a personal connection (which is always the fastest route to employment) there are two resources worth mentioning: RecruitMilitary.com and USMilitaryPipeline.com. Both sites cater to veterans and their families – and they go beyond just a “job board.”

I guess what the experts are really saying is, “Pay attention in school – you’ll need a degree just to be considered for even the low- tech jobs.”

Michael Schindler, Navy veteran, and president of Edmonds-based Operation Military Family, is a guest writer for several national publications, author of the book “Operation Military Family” and “The Military Wire” blog. He is also a popular keynote and workshop speaker who reaches thousands of service members and their families every year through workshops and seminars that include  “How to Battle-Ready Your Relationship” or “What Your Mother-in-Law Didn’t Tell You.”  He received the 2010 Outstanding Patriotic Service Award from the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.

1 COMMENT

  1. Ron – concur with your sentiment, but I’m very happy to report that the current GI Bill rates more than adequately compensate for education at just about ANY college or university, outside the Ivy League. In addition, the GI Bill now not only compensates for tuition, fees, and books, but also provides a stipend to offset housing costs!

    The GI Bill now can also be used for technical schools and certifications other than four year colleges, which really opens up the opportunities to returning service members, who may be more hands-on-oriented.

    Your identification of complicating factors like H-1B visas, and our nation’s eager embrace of China into the WTO (under the assumption that they would follow the rules) do indeed set up our young people for failure. As a nation, we’ve made a massive amount of money off of these practices, but have failed to reinvest it into our future. Hence, the door is swinging shut on the future for many of our young people, whilst we debate the morality of capital gains tax rates.

    I have seen the statistics showing that veterans have a higher unemployment rate, and that’s an alarm as well. But, facts without analysis only raise more questions. I’d like to see an analysis of these numbers to drill down to causes and outcomes. We can fix a cause to create desired outcomes, we can’t fix a statistic.

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