Emo Capitalists Don't Want To Train Workers

A blog about business and economics.
Feb. 16 2012 11:00 AM

Emo Capitalists Don't Want To Train Workers

Karl Smith and Scott Sumner both have reasonable responses to this weird Yahoo article about factory owners whining that they can't hire enough machinists but the weirdest thing is that one of the whiny factory owners has the answer:

For more than a year, [Dennis] Winslow has been looking for manual machinists, quality control inspectors and machinists trained to use computer-controlled systems.
He said he may be forced to hire people who are not fully skilled, and then train them.

On a firm level obviously one solution here is to just pay higher wages and hire away someone else's machinist. But there are still only so many machinists to go around. At some point the reasonable thing to do is to find a less-skilled worker who has less bargaining power and lower wages, hire him, and teach him to do the damn job. I was neither the first nor the last entry-level worker at the American Prospect who had some fundamental gaps in my skill set but who was still a worthwhile hire since I was working for cheap. On the job, I gained a lot of valuable skills and training. It worked out great.

Note that it would be an extraordinary achievement if the central planners in charge of American high schools were able to perfectly guess the exact nature of the skills that employers will want. It would be equally extraordinary if a bunch of 16-year-olds had the foresight and wisdom to track themselves into the exact right kind of vocational training. But if we pull together and focus we can create generations of high school graduates who know their reading, writing, and 'rithmetic and then employers with specialized needs can hire them and train them to do jobs.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.



The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10


Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.