A legislative committee looking to pin the blame for Wisconsin’s lackluster job creation statistics on someone else other than Scott Walker has found a new scapegoat: Wisconsin high schools. Yep, it is all the high schools’ fault for not properly preparing students for the business world of today.
Manufacturers in southeastern Wisconsin say they have a problem. They claim that jobs are going unfilled because they can’t attract suitably trained employees, and they blame the public schools for inadequately preparing students for the “real world” of work.
Uh-huh … these would be the same manufacturers who don’t want to pay taxes that go towards paying for our schools.
They complain about job applicants not arriving at an interview on time or being able to pass a drug test or having a felony conviction on their record. They also complain about a poor work ethic among job seekers. But they don’t have any actual data or evidence to back up these claims. They are all just strongly and oft-asserted opinions.
Funny thing—I seem to remember those same complaints about my generation when we graduated from high school. As a matter of fact I am willing to bet you would hear this same complaint about every generation since the dawn of time:
“Ugh, grunt, ughgh.”
Loose translation: “These kids today … they just have no work ethic. They never show up on time for the mammoth hunt, they don’t take care of their atlatl, are nothing but a bunch of thieves and spend too much time smoking leaves.”
Of course saying, “Back in my day we worked for a living,” is not enough for these corporate welfare shills.
Walker signed [a] law that shifts the labor and training costs of a probationary employee at a private company onto the public by tapping unemployment insurance and state worker compensation funds should the worker get injured on the job.
Here’s how it works: The state compensates a worker for their probation period at a private corporation with a paltry amount of unemployment insurance. The corporation receives the value of the workers’ labor, and gets a chance to vet the worker before deciding if they actually want to offer them a job. Since the worker is not actually employed by the company, they have no rights with regards to injury, working conditions or grievance processes. They are covered under the State of Wisconsin’s workers compensation policy.
So let me get this straight … now the state takes on the cost of an employee during what would normally be considered a probationary period? Seriously? Whatever happened to keeping government out of business?
Now in the words of the late pitchman Billy Mays, “But wait, there’s more!”
The Special Committee on Improving Educational Opportunities in High School […] is directed to develop legislation to create and enhance opportunities for both lower and higher achieving students in high school […] the committee shall: evaluate current options available to high school students for both career and technical education and post-secondary enrollment, including the Youth Options Program; examine both career and technical education and post-secondary enrollment options available to high school students in other states; and determine how to promote coordination between high schools, technical colleges, universities, and employers to ensure that high school students have the skills necessary to meet the workforce needs of employers in this state.
Or as Progressive magazine writer Rebecca Kemble so eloquently put it:
In other words, they will work on developing laws that use the public education system to orient, train, and track kids into the corporate working world at a young age. Rep. Farrow mentioned that he would like that tracking to begin in first grade. But Tim Sullivan, who appeared before the committee as Scott Walker’s recently appointed “Special Consultant for Business and Workforce Development,” has even more ambitious ideas: “In workforce development we say, you begin at birth and end at the grave.”
You begin at birth and end at the grave … that is the future the Republican Party has for our children. They are just a commodity to be bought and sold to our corporate masters. There will be no more artists, philosophers, writers (unless it is business related), or free spirits who go the ways of the wind. No, the future the GOP wants is one where our destiny is decided at birth and we work in that job until the day we die.