The subcontractor’s perspective: A refreshing blog

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art rouse
Art Rouse's blog for subcontractors
art rouse
Art Rouse’s blog for subcontractors

Art Rouse, representing the North Carolina Subcontractors Alliance, Inc. in Charlotte, NC, writes a refreshing blog reflecting the values and focus of sustainable, successful subcontractors. He doesn’t post that often — but when he does, he has something to say.

This posting, for example, describes the challenges the local subcontractors’ group had in determining an ideal national affiliation. It raises questions and difficult issues for anyone in a local group affiliated with an existing national organization — and shows the North Carolina group’s rational solution to the issue.

His most recent posting touches on training and job/skills matching, regretting the shortage of skilled labour and arguing that colleges and universities are turning out workers without the skills the economy needs.

So, it appears to me that much of the unemployment problem is not due so much to a lack of jobs, but to some of the following:

  1. Lack of technical and career training in high schools. Not everyone needs to, or should, go to college.
  2. College students are getting degrees in fields not applicable to industry’s needs today.
  3. Unwillingness to re-train and switch to a new field
  4. Unwillingness to relocate to where the jobs are. Cars are built in the South by robots, not just in Detroit.
  5. A general unwillingness of people to start and the bottom and work hard.

I will expand on some of the above topics in future postings, but my best advice is to get the education and training to prepare yourself for a career that can sustain you and your dependents. For future college students, one career counselor recently recommended that you get your degree in a career subject such as engineering, computer sciences, geology or chemistry, then minor in business administration or education. Save the arts and social subjects for electives.

While I agree with Art that there should be some thoughtful consideration before “falling” into an arts/humanities degree, there can be more complicated nuances in the jobs/trades matching framework. Otherwise, (shriek) I in some ways utterly failed — graduating with a BA in history, which certainly did not lead to a job as a historian. Then again, I used the university environment to gain my trade skills (as a working journalist) and went out into the world for my postgraduate experience by living through history, an African war, as a writer/newspaper sub-editor. Practical skills? Maybe not. But certainly value in determining life directions.

If we can match our passions and abilities, almost inevitably, in my opinion, we’ll discover satisfying and rewarding careers — if we focus on “jobs in demand” we may end our lives in quiet desperation.

Although the blogging frequency isn’t too high, I think this is still a worthy entry in the 2015 Best Construction Blog competition. You can nominate your own blog or blogs of others you like here.

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