Daily Archive : Monday September 4, 2017

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    Students work with technology in a manufacturing-based curriculum at the College of Lake County called Mechatronics.

    Editorial: Focus on resources, perceptions to promote alternatives for career success

    A Daily Herald editorial says the path to filling a huge gap in technical and skilled-trades employment is through more targeted training and changes in perception of those careers.

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    Lynne Hybels

    Show young immigrants America’s promise is real

    Guest Lynne Hybels: Nearly a decade ago, the church my husband and I founded launched a Spanish-language service. As the demographics of our suburban community changed, we wanted to reach as many people as possible with the message that has always been at the heart of our ministry: that all people matter to God.

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    Mark Klein

    A change in perception can build America’s skilled workforce

    The skills gap is real — and Americans still haven’t seen the worst of it. According to SkillsUSA, a national organization that provides career and technical education to more than 360,000 high school and college students, there are 5.6 million unfilled skilled jobs today — 75 percent of which don’t require a four-year degree. That’s more than 4 million open U.S. jobs that don’t require a college education!Here in Illinois, we continue to lose thousands of manufacturing jobs:• According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016, Illinois finished with the weakest jobs growth rate and lost 11,000 manufacturing jobs — one of the highest manufacturing job losses and worst in the region. • This trend is continuing in 2017. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in March that the Chicago area lost more than 1,000 manufacturing jobs since March 2016.On top of the staggering number we face today, the National Association of Manufacturers reports that nearly 3.5 million new manufacturing jobs likely will be needed over the next decade, 2 million of which are expected to go unfilled due to the skills gap. At the same time, demand for housing construction will also continue to increase. If we cannot fill these positions with skilled workers, business and homeowners will see more delayed projects and higher home prices. Many programs and organizations are addressing pieces of the skills gap, but what we need most is a change in perception. Americans need to be shown how fulfilling and lucrative a career in the trades can be. Unfortunately, as a country, we’re actively discouraging young people from considering careers in the trades. Key influencers in shaping career paths — parents, teachers and guidance counselors — are stuck in a loop that preaches traditional, four-year degrees as the best path to success. But more people are realizing that a college degree, even with the enormous price tag, doesn’t guarantee a job or decent pay.We need to break the decades-old loop and challenge young people to explore the trades. It’s critical for those key influencers to teach the advantages of skilled trades and how they might be a better fit for some lifestyles — job flexibility, potentially high wages and the opportunity for creativity and pride of ownership. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, the average U.S. manufacturer worker earned $81,289 annually in 2015, including pay and benefits. That’s higher than the average salaries for many positions that require four-year college degrees. As for featuring the trades academically, studies show that technical and vocational programs increase student engagement and keep students interested in school. We need to give students opportunities to explore careers in the trades and advocate for vocational education programs to be reintroduced to schools so that they know all their career options. Businesses should also be encouraged to invest in talent by offering internships, apprenticeship programs, summer jobs and co-op study opportunities on the local level to provide real-world, on-the-job experiences. At Klein Tools, we believe in investing in our youth for a better future. We are proud to support thousands of technical schools through our partnerships with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC). Our annual “Electrician of the Year” program generates awareness of the skilled trades and recognizes how electricians contribute to their own communities. And we offer internships in our manufacturing facilities in Mansfield, Texas.Here are some ways companies within skilled trade industries can help change perceptions: • Market your jobs and products through the eyes of a millennial.

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    Absurd sugar tax will live in infamy
    A Bartlett letter to the editor: Regarding the AP story in the Herald Aug. 11 concerning the federal government stepping in to tell Cook County they may not tax people with the beverage tax who are using food stamps (on SNAP), because they can’t afford it: Now here is the irony.

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    Time to reflect, react, resist on behalf of truth
    A Wheeling letter to the editor: As seen and heard from Day One of this strangely deceptive subterfuge known as the Trump presidency, when you do not respect the truth. you are unable to stem the lies that follow.

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    How is Trump not one of the ‘elites’?
    A Wheeling letter to the editor: Regarding Mr. Marc Thomsen’s letter from Tuesday, Aug. 29, where he ends with ”and struggle to understand the over-the-top opposition to President Trump, which often seems like the tantrum of a sore loser spoiled child.” Really?

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    GOP tilting too far toward laissez faire
    An Arlington Heights letter to the editor: Economically, the far left is communism and socialism with government control of production of goods with very little individual rights.

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    Get up to speed on climate change
    A Bartlett letter to the editor: I take issue with the opinions Jim Slusher expressed in “When wonder transcends politics” on Aug. 31.

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