Saturday, November 27, 2010

"I am an economist and I am here to classify your unemployment status...Oh, you already are getting re-training on your own? I am going to have to go back and research this to see if in theory you are making the right decision!"

     There is lots of discussion in the economic blogoshpere about the nature of unemployment in the US.  Are workers skills still relevant and all is needed is an increase in demand for what they do/did to get them back to work in the same or similar jobs (Demand-side argument). Or has the nature of today's jobs, and the skills needed to do them, changed such that worker skills are obsolete and not applicable to the current and future work force (Supply-side argument)?
     As the ivory tower academics and Washington policy makers talk amongst themselves, this article suggests people are are not waiting around for someone to tell them what classification of unemployment they fit into.  Enrollment in community colleges is up sharply as people upgrade skills or, more likely, re-train for a career that is  altogether different from what they were doing.

Washington Post: Workers seek new skills at community colleges, but classes are full

In one small anatomy lab, there's a craps dealer training to become an anesthetist, a cocktail waitress who wants to be a dental hygienist, and a former stripper seeking to become a nurse.

"People are always going to be going to the dentist," explained Misty Stevenson, 36, the aspiring hygienist, a mother of three and a cocktail waitress for 16 years, explaining her career choice after her income plunged during the downturn.

The trouble is getting a seat in class.
All over the United States, community college enrollments have surged with unemployed and underemployed people seeking new skills.
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