Monday, September 03, 2007

High Wages Require High Skills

Tucson, Arizona. (Workers at a call center) More than one out of every twenty workers in Tucson report to a call center. How many do you think work for fast food? Then add the Walmarts. What do the grocery stores pay? The Arizona Daily Star ran an opinion piece today suggesting that Pima County needs good companies and high-paying jobs. Oh really? Those having read Something Else would probably break out laughing if they read today’s article.

I rarely read the comment threads, but the thread (so far) is pretty good. Some people get it. The first comment caused me to laugh out loud.

We need to hold a conference in Vienna with the civic and business leaders of Portland, Oregon to help us.

Haagh Huwaaagh!! Indeed, and after we get back from Venice, let’s pay a snake $25 grand (whatever) to fly into town so he can speak advanced cloth and sell us books.

I’m not sure why Teya Vitu is holding back on taking note of the pathetic results produced by six-figure salaried Roach in the past two years. He takes credit for Pella, a project well in momentum and virtually a done deal before he arrived, and for the Mexican cannery that moved into the Slim Fast building, a deal pretty much driven and delivered by PICOR, not TREO. I remember when Weathers took credit for Citi-Cards when Bruce Wright and John Grabo (PICOR may have been in on that one as well) did most of the heavy lifting.

Returning to high-paying jobs, programs can be created that raise wages. I am currently conducting a very thorough and in-depth literature review of business education partnerships. Alberta, Canada, believe it or not, is years ahead of the pack, and lots of communities have created the equivalent of SAIAT, a training organization that can deliver customized, short-term training for the already employed to improve their skills and wages.

Columbus worked with Ohio State University to create CETE (Center for Education and Training for Employment), the Rolls Royce of the concept. Boston also went through its university to create its Corporate Education Center which delivers customized training programs for organizations, among much else. Houston chose to use its community college as the vehicle, creating the Corporate Training and Continuing Education Center. From their Web site: If SPACE or training are in short supply. . .. Albuquerque also created an institute that fulfills the customized fast response training mission. Look at its Web site.

All of those organizations receive funding to fulfill their missions. ALL OF THEM.

You raise the wages of a community by improving the skills of its workforce. You raise the skills of the workforce by training it. THEN better companies come.

I did that, personally, your humble blogger at the front of the room, teaching real Tucsonans real skills. For $18 grand I could raise the annual earnings of sixty people over $300 grand. I am talking about real people whose names and faces I remember, Kathleen, Jose, Betty, Maria, Raul. I had another program where for about $110 grand I could raise the wages of about 90 people over $1 million a year. I did it. No cloth.

For my efforts I was thrown under the bus. A rather thorough history and the gory details are available for free to anyone interested at the link above or to the left. Reality is much more than a story.

4 Comments:

Anonymous dustin said...

The more I think about this problem, the more circular it feels. Nobody with high tech skills will stay because there is nowhere to apply them. If nobody stays, what is there to draw companies to town? I suppose I'm simply out of my depth.

9/03/2007 2:23 PM  
Blogger Liza said...

"For my efforts I was thrown under the bus."

I'm writing a story for you, x4mr. It addresses the above.

9/03/2007 4:09 PM  
Blogger Sirocco said...

One of the first thing any company looks at when deciding to open operations somewhere is the availability and education of the workforce in the area.

They are not the only factors of course - taxes, cost of land and facilities, etc., all figure in too - but availability and education are certainly among the primary demographic statistics which businesses make decisions on.

If your workforce is low-tech, you aren't going to attract high-tech jobs. It's really just that simple.

9/04/2007 6:46 AM  
Anonymous Scarlett Letter said...

TUSD teacher salaries.
'Nuf said....

9/04/2007 9:22 AM  

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