There's a myth that our unemployment problem is due to a mismatch of skills ["We need new ideas for job creation," Opinion, Feb. 28]. We supposedly have a shortage of graduates in the STEM fields -- science, technology, engineering and math -- as well as in skilled manufacturing. We think that if only we could increase the skills of our population, we would solve unemployment.
However, Microsoft founder Bill Gates bemoaned the reduction in student enrollment in computer science, even as he outsourced jobs to India. President Barack Obama calls for more training, at the same time as he seeks more H1B visas to fill high-tech and manufacturing jobs. Columnist Anne Michaud sees a problem with inefficient and ineffective training programs.
Why has it become so rare for American companies to train or retrain their workforce? There is a long history of on-the-job training. Union construction tradesmen go through apprenticeships of three to five years.
This generation of young Americans went to college on the promise that American employers would seek their brilliance, work ethic and dedication, only to find that their skills aren't needed. It's not that they chose the wrong major in college, it's the race to the bottom incubated in corporate greed and globalization, enabled by politicians of both parties whose economic, labor and trade policies enrich only the wealthy. No amount of job training will reverse our problem.
Joel Herman, Melville