Not so glorious results of re-training camp

Posted in Decline and Fall at 12:19 pm by George Smith

From the Los Angeles Times today, a story on the obsession with being sent to re-training camp community college as a cure-all.

In Michigan domestic manufacturing, except for cars and tanks, has disappeared. Electrolux, in Greenville, closed its plant, destroying employment in the town. All the jobs went overseas.

So to re-training camp, Montcalm Community College, to get people ready for the jobs of the future! In this case, solar panel manufacturing.

Problem, the jobs of the future are too few. And American companies still ship the jobs out.


Solar panel technology was invented in the United States. So was the key technology for advanced batteries for electric vehicles, for which Michigan is also developing a number of factories.

But in each case, sales and production are tiny compared with European countries.

Even if clean technologies were to bloom, it’s not clear that they would produce large numbers of new jobs.

The Uni-Solar plant is the size of 10 football fields but so highly automated that it requires only a few dozen workers at any one time.

“That was supposed to be the big savior for this area, and it never happened,” said Mike Wills, a former Electrolux employee who works as a supervisor at God’s Love Closet, a men’s shelter where he once lived.

The shelter didn’t exist before Electrolux closed, making it one more sign of how the effects of joblessness spread through a community.

“[The] U.S. usually has left matters to the private sector, and its multinational companies have moved tens of thousands of jobs overseas,” it reads.

It’s not the training. That is a rationalization.

In fact, a company could train people to do its work as easily, or even more quickly, than a community college. The US guitar and amplifier manufacturing industry didn’t send all its jobs to China because that country has community college training its workers to make rock and roll consumer electronics.

It’s all bullsht. The Los Angeles Times doesn’t state this. However, the story makes clear that re-training camp has a pretty good failure rate.

Underlying this story are choices made about what kind of country this is going to be for the future.

And that’s the equivalent of Swiss chocolates-maker to the world.

When it’s not arms manufacturing, it’s going to be the artisan goods, high-end and high-priced things made in small runs made for the rich and the haves of the world. And, even in this, there won’t be an edge. Europe can make the stuff just as easily as we can.

Paradoxically, in Europe — and in Canada, where the Greenville solar panel factory moved a lot of its jobs, there are laws in place to discourage companies from going out of country and to encourage retention of a labor force.

But not here. Corporate America hates you.

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