Pol’s call for increased college funding while business desperately needs skilled trades

If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.
Milton Friedman

According to the Detroit News, plea for more college aid are intensifying:

Aditya Sathi pays $12,800 annually in tuition as a full-time University of Michigan student. If he had attended the university 10 years ago, his bill would have been $7,224 — or almost half of that.

The 77 percent tuition jump reflects similar increases at the state’s other 15 public universities after an estimated $1 billion cut in state support to higher education during the past decade. The reduction in aid accelerated during the recent recession when state revenues began to fall faster. Local lawmakers pulled back support to universities, leading schools to increase tuition.

As a result, Michigan ranks 39th in the nation for higher education support per student and 10th highest in tuition, according to a 2012 report by Business Leaders for Michigan, a group of chief executives and others.

With priorities soon to be set in the next state budget, Sathi is joining a growing number of voices urging state lawmakers to increase aid for higher education to ensure Michigan’s future prosperity.

“Education is a huge investment in the economy of the future,” said Sathi, 22, of Novi. “Students today are going to change the country tomorrow. Some fail to recognize that.”

As pointed out previously here at MCT, when the government intervenes in the economy by subsidizing higher ed by direct support to Colleges and Universities on one hand, then subsidizing student loans on the other, Colleges are insulated from market forces. They have zero incentive to control costs and even less incentive to provide a quality education to its students.

It sounds counter-intuitive, but the best thing we can do for higher education is letting the market do it job, forcing Universities to innovate and compete for potential students educational dollars.

One other very important point to our 22-year-old student, Aditya Sathi, is the real shortage in the labor pool today is Skilled Trades. While it is to be expected that our student doesn’t know about the shortage of skilled tradesmen, it is strange that our Business Leaders for Michigan don’t. What’s worse, is this shortage is only going to get worse as more and more skilled tradesmen retire and there are very few up and coming tradesmen to take their place:

MILWAUKEE (May 29, 2012) – ManpowerGroup today released the results of its seventh-annual Talent Shortage Survey, revealing 49 percent of U.S. employers are experiencing difficulty filling mission-critical positions within their organizations. Although slightly lower than the 52 percent of employers struggling in 2011, a significant percentage of total U.S. employers continue to face hiring challenges despite continued high unemployment. U.S. employers are struggling to find available talent more than their global counterparts, where 34 percent of employers worldwide are having difficulty filling positions.

According to the more than 1,300 U.S. employers surveyed, the positions that are most difficult to fill include Skilled Trades, Engineers and IT Staff, all of which have appeared on the U.S. list multiple times since the survey began in 2006.

Rather than politicians throwing more money at colleges, how about cutting businesses costs so they can go back to the future and maybe reinstate the old-fashioned apprenticeship programs.

  • geek49203 February 5, 2013 at 12:21 am

    “Students today are going to change the country tomorrow. Some fail to recognize that.” Yup, gotta love how those notable college grads like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson — hell, even Colonel Sanders! — changed the world! (pause) Wait, you mean that NONE of those have a college degree? What about Mark Zuckerberg — What ya mean he doesn’t have a college degree? How about Larry Ellison of Oracle, Paul Allen, Michael Dell? You mean they got rich and changed the world w/o a sheepskin? (Dell went back to U-Texas after he endowed a building or something I hear). How about Anna Wintour? Surely to head up Vogue, and be one of Barry Obama’s supporters, you gotta have a degree, right? And to run Whole Foods, you gotta have a MBA, right? What you mean, NONE OF THEM HAVE A DEGREE? David Geffen… Ralph Lauren… Ted Turner…? Oprah and Rush? (Oprah got her degree later)???? I mean, you have GOT to have a degree to “Change the world”, right?

    • steve February 5, 2013 at 6:32 am

      …Henry Ford, Mark Twain, George Eastman (the Eastman of Eastman Kodak) are more people who didn’t have a College degree. Thomas Alva Edison took it one step further, he was home-schooled. By his mother.

      It is so true (as you point out) having a college degree does not equal success. Hard work, creativity, innovation are the real keys to success. Kids today (and their parents) seem to forget this. They seem to think (as our 22-year-old student pointed out) that “o.k. I went to school, who is going hire me so I change the world.” While he spends the next 15 years paying back his student loan.

      • geek49203 February 5, 2013 at 8:23 am

        Talent. Don’t forget talent. If you don’t have the aptitude for a job, then no college program in the world will save you. We need to find people’s TALENT and then adjust their courses accordingly.

        BTW, it’s not 15 years. For most of these kids, it will be 25. Ask me how I know. For starters, when they start repaying, they’ll be forced to defer for a few years, which will then balloon at an alarming rate the amount that they owe. They’ll finance for 20 years on top of that. So it will be 20 years, and on average, at least 25% more than they think they’re gonna pay.

      • steve February 5, 2013 at 6:19 pm

        Very good point about talent.

        As a kid I was fascinated by music and wanted to play an instrument. However around 4th or 5th grade I was ‘redirected’ to something more suitable. Yes, I was that bad.

        I was trying to be charitable about student loans taking 15 years to pay back.

  • Jim at Asylum Watch February 5, 2013 at 8:24 am

    But, community organizers can become President of the United States of Socialist America.

    • steve February 5, 2013 at 6:22 pm

      A career as a community organizer requires an advance degree. How else can you become fluent in Marxism.

  • geek49203 February 5, 2013 at 9:01 am

    My favorite rant is when one of the MLive editors laments that we’re not sending enough kids to college. I then remind them that Advance was started by a guy w/ no college, and is now headed by his college dropout son. And that their industry’s brightest and best are often people with no degree. And that the average J-school grad can’t find a job in field (about the same odds as having sex w/ a supermodel I think), while the average welder or electrician has tons of work.

    • steve February 5, 2013 at 6:24 pm

      I then remind them that Advance was started by a guy w/ no college, and is now headed by his college dropout son. And that their industry’s brightest and best are often people with no degree.

      What did the MLive editors say to that?

      • geek49203 February 6, 2013 at 8:09 am

        What did the MLive editors say to that?

        “Let the debate begin” or something like that. By then I’m sure he was fully aware that his CMU degree (which was in political science as I recall, not communications) wasn’t that marketable, as the takeover of the local dailies by MLive had begun in earnest. Given the track record of MLive, this is like having the Montreal Expos take over MLB, or Henry Clay Ford become the NFL commissioner.

      • steve February 6, 2013 at 6:24 pm

        Henry Clay Ford become the NFL commissioner

        That is a frightening thought…

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