Auto workers retool — or exit middle class

Tesla took over the NUMMI auto plant in California, but isn’t hiring many laid-off workers. New manufacturing jobs require technical training and skills that old-style factory workers don’t have. Some are retraining, but many don’t have the reading and math skills to retool themselves.

In Britain, would-be rock stars can earn a two-year degree in heavy metal music.

After the auto plant closed …

PBS will air As Goes Janesville: A Small Town Struggles in the Recession this evening. The documentary includes a profile of a laid-off assembly-line worker who enrolled in a Wisconsin community college to train as a medical lab technician.

Graduating baby boomers

Forget about those 18-year-olds. Community colleges are recruiting baby boomers who need retraining to stay in the workforce.

Also on Community College Spotlight: Career-minded students are more likely to earn a credential if they go to a technical college, which focuses on occupational training,  rather than a community college.

Alabama colleges mourn tornado victims

Alabama’s community colleges are mourning students killed in the devastating tornadoes. Graduation ceremonies have been postponed or cancelled.

Also on Community College Spotlight:  Michigan’s community colleges are learning how to retrain laid-off workers — many with poor reading, writing and math skills — so they’re not “left behind.”

Retrained, still unemployed

On Community College Spotlight: Laid-off workers who complete federally funded retraining still have trouble finding jobs. It’s even tough for nursing graduates and green jobs remain scarce. Plus, the education gap is growing.

Ain't no cure for the summertime blues

Well-paying summer jobs and prestigious internships have vanished, reports the New York Times. Parents can’t afford to fund “art tours of Tuscany” for college students. The young are getting restless.

To a high-achieving generation whose schedules were once crammed with extracurricular activities meant to propel them into college, it feels like an empty summer — eerie, and a bit scary.

“Things have changed drastically,” said Ron Alsop, author of “The Trophy Kids Grow Up: How the Millennial Generation Is Shaking Up the Workplace,” a book that only last year portrayed young workers as entitled and in a hurry. “It has to be a huge wake-up call for this generation.”

Numbers provide the backdrop to the story — not just the grimly familiar national unemployment rate, 9.5 percent in June, but the even scarier, less publicized unemployment figure for 16- to 19-year-olds, which has hit 24 percent, up from 16.1 percent two years ago. Internships available to college students have fallen 21 percent since last year, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Stop blaming parents for young workers’ sense of entitlement, writes Jessica Grose at XX Factor. It’s the economy, stupid.

For a while now, Generation Y has been portrayed as a bunch of sneaker-wearing lazybones who skateboard to the office and demand a four-day work week. But I would argue that the way Gen-Y workers used to behave had nothing to do with indulgent parents who told us we were infallible. The way young workers behaved in the first half of the decade had everything to do with the economy. In the mid-aughts, people of all ages were being entitled and demanding of their employers … because they could be. In a market where jobs are abundant, it’s logical for workers to try to get the most perks possible—whether or not their Mommies told them they were special.

By the way, federally funded retraining doesn’t help older workers get new jobs or increase their pay, concludes a Labor Department study. I remember similar results in the ’80s. Job training is very hard to do effectively; it’s even harder to predict the real “jobs of the future.”

Funemployed? Take a starve-cation, advises Iowahawk.