Workers who were considered “skilled” for the better part of a career and have since been displaced by automation need new jobs that pay a decent wage.
But first they need to be retrained to do the new jobs they’d like to apply for.
The problem with the election cycle as it enters what I like to call the “economy” phase is that both candidates are too busy touting their economic plans which feature the creation of millions of new jobs.
“New jobs” are something of interest to everyone—even those lucky enough to have decent paying jobs presently.
Retraining displaced workers is key to a true economic recovery, however. Retraining is going to take money, though, and before presidential candidates can tout their “jobs plan,” they are going to have to address what kinds of training programs their plans would include.
Assembly line jobs at auto plants, where previous generations of workers had jobs for life, today represent some of the types of workers who need retraining. It is not a stretch to say it is difficult to retrain these kinds of workers who essentially are being replaced rapidly by robots that can stay on the line indefinitely, or at least 24/7 for several weeks at a time before requiring maintenance.
The question is always what other jobs can displaced workers do? And how is the kind of work identified that these individuals may be best suited for?
When I joined the Navy I took an aptitude test to see what kinds of jobs I could perform with both minimal and maximum training. It also identified what jobs my current knowledge and skillsets would be appropriate for.
Today, personality components of similar aptitude tests also help identify the kinds of jobs that a person would be eligible to do skills-wise, while also ensuring the position is a good emotional fit with their personality profile considered.
For example, if the person is deemed an introvert, a sales job may not be the best choice. Conversely, if the individual is an extrovert, he might not perform well in a role with minimal interaction with other people.
The two presidential candidates are both saying they would impose an exit tax or tariff on new companies who would offshore their jobs. They also say they want to take back the jobs from companies who have already left the United States.
These jobs will not be coming back no matter what either candidate is saying. I know offshoring has been going on for at least 20 years and the exodus of jobs due to automation and vast pools of cheap labor available overseas will continue to pose challenges to any job revitalization initiatives that either candidate proposes.
What needs to happen first is to identify what exactly the new jobs are and where they are coming from. As recently as five years ago, healthcare was supposed to be a catalyst for new job creation. But, not everyone is cut out for working in this field.
Healthcare along with great infrastructure projects like road repair and new bridge building have been nothing more than Band-Aids. They have provided jobs to some workers fortunate enough to get training in various healthcare-related fields. Construction workers already skilled have had jobs during the massive road and bridge repair projects underway across the country.
As construction projects are completed and the healthcare industry becomes saturated with staff, these two areas will cease being potential landing spots for displaced workers.
You cannot get a straight answer about what the new jobs are we should be doing. The Internet was supposed to be an industrial revolution-type jobs creator, but has largely disappointed. The Internet has merely served as an example of just how vast automation’s footprint will be over humankind and the workforce.
So, once we have identified what the new jobs are and what industries they will be coming from (anybody?), next up should be the creation of a workforce that can fill these jobs. Anyone receiving unemployment benefits should be available for some kind of training when they have to change careers due to their jobs becoming obsolete or extinct.
Before anyone can be trained, though, they will need to be assessed for aptitude and skills. Once these first two steps can be taken, then prospective job candidates can begin the task of applying for open positions.
It should be noted that rock star, NBA star and yes, celebrity CEO, while indeed possible for a miniscule segment of the population, should not be considered viable career paths for the rest of us.
Aptitude tests should be administered for all candidates, too, no matter their formal education. I once considered applying for a job that listed “executive poise” as one of the requirements on the job application. I took that to mean having the ability to read off a teleprompter.
At the end of the day, I like to eat and accordingly would prefer not to miss any meals. I might be crazy, but I also like to think there are a lot of people that prioritize daily life this way.
Wannabe presidents need to tell us what the new jobs are, where they will be coming from and how the average person who is highly self-motivated can best position themselves for one of them.
Proposing to create several million new service-worker jobs is not going to ever be received kindly by the general population in the country struggling just to keep moving forward. Many Americans have lost their way, or are in fear of doing so.
Whichever presidential candidate identifies industries that create quality jobs with corresponding training programs for eligible candidates, will surely conquer the “economy” phase of the election cycle and beyond.