Saturday, October 16


One point made by Bush in the last debate has triggered an ongoing fury among out-of-work or threatened-with-unemployment IT workers and advertising professionals -- Bush's oft-repeated contention that community college retraining will position the unemployed for new opportunities.

For the three unemployed advertising/marketing/information technology professionals I spoke with afterwards, this was an insult and an indication of just how unacquainted with the real world of America business our "CEO president" really is. One, a research-and-analysis expert with a Ph.D. in behavioral science and long-time marketing executive told me, "Exactly how is community college supposed to advance my employablity when I'm already a recognized expert in the field? Is the president suggesting that I switch from a 25-year career to a job as a pest control technician?" He's trying desperately to find a TEACHING job in a community college.

Another, a $90,000-per-year network manager (not excessive, merely a competitive salary in terms of our overall IT personnel budget) in our very large IT department, told me despite his M.S. in computer science, he's scared to death we'll cut back like other companies and leave him with a mortgage he can't pay; he'd gladly take a pay cut (as long as it's not too large) to keep his position and prevent him from being unemployed for a year or more like so many of his colleagues outside the company whose jobs have been exported to overseas operations. But he was outraged that the president suggested community college as his only solution to the outsourcing of American technical/professional jobs. "I encourage our company to take advantage of community college outreaches to the business community to help them develop curricula that would make their students employable by us -- that is, to establish classes that teach pest-control techniques, mortgage loan origination processes, basic accounting procedures, home construction. I don't suggest that community colleges could take the place of universities and graduate school programs that develop engineers, diplomats and law enforcement experts, mathematicians, inventors, science researchers and urban planners. If I lose my job and can't find a comparable one, am I supposed to return to my youth and community college and retrain as a daycare helper?"


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