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The state of job training around the world: What job training?

Nations around the world are still clawing their way back from the Great Recession. Now, five years later, industrialized countries are still down about 16 million jobs. A new report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) finds that many of those without work are in need of a skills upgrade.

Marketplace's economics contributor Chris Farrell joins Morning Report host David Brancaccio to discuss the state of job training around the world.

About the author

Chris Farrell is the economics editor of Marketplace Money.
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I'm so tired of hearing about how workers need to shell out for more training. Where are the JOBS? If employers were that hard up for skilled workers they'd go back to offering their own job training programs the way they used to 50 years ago. It's cruel to keep telling people it's their own fault they can't find work because they don't have the right skills, when in fact that just isn't the problem.

You are heading in the right direction but we have a lot of work to do. I head a non-profit professional society that provides curriculum and certification for skills training in a technical field. I work with others in similar areas to try to understand and coordinate activities. We have a lot of problems. It needs change in our educational system ASAP.
First and foremost, we need to get over the "everybody needs a college degree" obsession. Your electrician, plumber, contractor, etc. do not need to spend 4 years getting a college degree and assume loans that will be a life-long albatross around their neck. You must start in the elementary and middle schools to ensure that kids know that these are valuable jobs in society and as equally important as getting a college degree where - I say sarcastically but it's so true based on my two 30-something kids classmates - that college degree will probably be wasted when you can only get jobs at coffee shops and retail.
Secondly, we need to add skills courses back into junior and senior high. When I was in school 50 years ago, I could take art and photography as an elective, as I did, but you could also take woodworking, auto mechanics which included metalworking and welding, electrical, and, of course, in those days it was for the girls, home economics which included cooking and sewing, but also some very important topics like nutrition and household finance.
We are facing shortages of tradespeople because those who got started with classes in school and learned these trades are my age and are retiring. Many went through apprenticeship programs run by unions, but American business people have been so anti-union that they have killed the unions and many of these programs - and then have the gall to complain that they can't find skilled workers to hire.
Listen up corporate America, you can't outsource your home plumbing and electrical work to China or India. The people who make your TV, phones, traffic signals, roads, elevators, public transportation and practically everything you depend on everyday work for you have to be educated and be paid enough to live and work in your area.
For those whose politics makes them against any government spending programs, including education, I offer the bumper sticker from the MA teachers's union: "If you think education is expensive, consider ignorance."
And finally, the worst are the academic snobs and corporate colleges. Everybody does not need a college education. Particularly nefarious are the lobbyists for the "for profit" colleges who have used government programs to rip off the government as well as the students while not offering useful education.
My work has taken me around the world. I have met and worked with educators everywhere. The ones who are successful are those that know practical education is the basis of a successful society.

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