Letter: Shortage of Tradesmen
It has been well-publicized there is a critical lack of tradesmen in this country. Carpenters, ironworkers, masons, welders, machinists, mechanics, electricians, plumbers, pipefitters, heavy equipment operators, even unskilled laborers are all in short supply. We have plenty of lawyers and businessmen.
Nobody wants to work with their hands nowadays. Everybody wants to sit behind a desk with an assistant to take care of their every need. When the keyboard punchers need something fixed, they try to contact a tradesman and discover they’re hard to find.
I don’t know whether you’ve noticed or not, but many of our immigrant population are tradesmen. The current administration is attempting to exacerbate the situation by deporting them. I wonder if the ICE agents can take their place.
As a reporter for the Glenwood Post, I was interviewing a local contractor who was taking heat about hiring immigrants and he said, ”When it comes to unskilled laborers, if you hire white citizens, there’s a good chance you’ll get bums. If you hire immigrants, you’ll get workers.”
I was talking to a Chinese friend about the recent bridge construction. “In China,” he said, ”this bridge would be finished in a week. They’d have thousands of workers working around the clock until it was done.”
“The key word is workers,” I said, “We don’t have that many.”
It all starts in the schools. Everything’s about college prep today. The kids in vocational education are ignored.
Automation has replaced many tradesmen activities, but there’s still work to be done. Let’s leave the immigrants alone, invite more in, encourage shop in high schools, and remove the stigma of working with your hands.
Fred Malo Jr.