Asians dominate Silicon Valley jobs

Asian-Americans hold half of tech jobs in Silicon Valley, according to an analysis of Census data by the San Jose Mercury News. Asian tech workers grew from 39 percent in 2000 to 50.1 percent in 2010, while white workers, once a majority, are now 41 percent of the Bay Area’s high-tech workforce.

The dramatic shift in the changing composition of the high-tech workforce represents a new generation of homegrown and imported workers drilled in science, technology, engineering and math studies. But the shift in workplace demographics — at least among tech companies — fails to reflect the gains of California’s Hispanic and Latino population, which lost ground in tech jobs along with African-Americans.

The “failure of STEM education” has created a “crisis,” writes Dane Stangler in Inc. CEOs can’t find skilled workers because young people aren’t learning science and math well enough to learn technical jobs or succeed in STEM majors. And there’s not much economic opportunity for young people who can’t use math or understand science.

Stop Sallie Mae’s unemployment penalty

Stop Sallie Mae’s unemployment penalty demands a Change petition.

Federal financial aid is geared to full-time, degree-seeking students, complained Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s audience at Tallahassee Community College. Colleges can’t train 2 million skilled workers without aid for people seeking short-term job training or part-timers who need literacy or English classes to qualify for a job.

The workforce development fantasy

President Obama wants community colleges to turn out 2 million skilled workers. It’s not that easy, writes a community college dean.

Employers complain, but don’t train

Employers complain they can’t find skilled workers, but they’re demanding too much and refusing to train new workers, a management professor writes.

Also on Community College Spotlight: Manufacturers can’t find skilled workers with math, science training.

Manufacturers seek skilled workers

Manufacturers are hiring — but they want skilled or trainable workers to run very expensive machines.

Also on Community College Spotlight:  When a sawmill in rural Maine laid off 200 workers, the nearby community college started job training classes in mid-seemster.

Many paths to a job

On Community Spotlight: Students think they need a four-year college degree to get a decent job, but it ain’t necessarily so.

Also: A Manpower report sees a global shortage of skilled trades workers.

Wanted: skilled or trainable workers

Some manufacturers are hiring again, but having trouble finding skilled workers, reports the New York Times. The low-skilled jobs have been replaced by automation or sent overseas; most won’t be coming back. Many laid-off workers won’t be rehired because they don’t have the reading and math skills needed to learn high-level job skills.

Now they are looking to hire people who can operate sophisticated computerized machinery, follow complex blueprints and demonstrate higher math proficiency than was previously required of the typical assembly line worker.

Manufacturers say that “training is not yet delivering the skilled employees they need,” reports the Times.

Here in this suburb of Cleveland, supervisors at Ben Venue Laboratories, a contract drug maker for pharmaceutical companies, have reviewed 3,600 job applications this year and found only 47 people to hire at $13 to $15 an hour, or about $31,000 a year.

. . . All candidates at Ben Venue must pass a basic skills test showing they can read and understand math at a ninth-grade level. A significant portion of recent applicants failed, and the company has been disappointed by the quality of graduates from local training programs. It is now struggling to fill 100 positions.

Quickie training may not be enough to make laid-off workers competitive. In a Colorado Community College Systems study, adult students who completed a one-year vocational certificate barely raised their pay, while those who earned a two-year vocational certificate made substantially more. Those who completed an associate degree in applied sciences in manufacturing raised their pay by 84 percent.

I remember when the big auto plants near San Jose closed. Laid-off auto workers had great trouble retraining because many had very poor reading and math skills. Some took a very early retirement. Others scraped together a living doing fix-it work. Very few were able to retrain for a new job paying anywhere near what they’d made as unionized auto workers.