Current Reading

This blog is primarily for me to blog my responses to books that I'm reading. Sometimes I blog about other stuff too, though.

I'm currently reading Notes on the Death of Culture: Essays on Spectacle and Society by Mario Vargas Llosa.

Word cloud

Word cloud

Sunday, March 5, 2017

How narratives are formed

One should always take it with a grain of salt when CEOs complain about skill shortages (maybe they'd get more skilled people if they offered more money), but here I'm less interested in the CEOs' claims than in the response to them.

Here's what CEOs said about the challenge of filling jobs:
One executive said in discussions with White House officials that his company has 50 participants in a factory apprenticeship program, but could take 500 if enough were qualified. But he said that in his experience, most students coming out of high school lack the math and English skills to absorb technical manuals.
That certainly accords with my experience.

Here's what the sub-headline says:
Manufacturing leaders urge President Trump to encourage high-tech skills training.
Basic math and English skills are not high-tech.  They're essential to a high-tech job, but they themselves are not high-tech.  And that's the problem: People want the hot and new, not the fundamentals.  CEOs say that they will train people for high-tech manufacturing if they have basic math and reading skills, journalists translate that into high-tech skills, and no doubt some shill in higher ed is busy explaining that this is why we need people with advanced degrees in STEM...because a CEO wants a reasonably competent high school grad who can be trained to work on the production floor.

On the other hand, I find it fascinating that the CEOs are talking about technical manuals.  Normally we assume that it's higher ed that's stodgy and unable to Get With The Times, but here we see business executives saying that they need people who can read manuals while the most progressive kool-aid drinkers in higher ed all say that we need to embrace the post-literate society and de-emphasize books in favor of videos.  I find this amusingly ironic.

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