"But the immigrants have a mismatch of skills: They are qualified for yesterday's jobs, which are the kinds of jobs that are going away."
LA Times reporter Teresa Watanabe writes (April 21 2008):
Lack of skilled workers will lead to fiscal crisis, experts say By Teresa Watanabe
With baby boomers preparing to retire as the best educated and most skilled workforce in U.S. history, a growing chorus of demographers and labor experts is raising concerns that workers in California and the nation lack the critical skills needed to replace them.
In particular, experts say, the immigrant workers needed to fill many of the boomer jobs lack the English-language skills and basic educational levels to do so. Many immigrants are ill-equipped to fill California's fastest-growing positions, including computer software engineers, registered nurses and customer service representatives, a new study by the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute found.
Immigrants — legal and illegal — already constitute almost half of the workers in Los Angeles County and are expected to account for nearly all of the growth in the nation's working-age population by 2025 because native-born Americans are having fewer children. But the study, based largely on U.S. Census data, noted that 60% of the county's immigrant workers struggle with English and one-third lack high school diplomas.
The looming mismatch in the skills employers need and those workers offer could jeopardize the future economic vitality of California and the nation, experts say. Los Angeles County, the largest immigrant metropolis with about 3.5 million foreign-born residents, is at the forefront of this demographic trend.
Someday, it might even occur to the LA Times that the first thing to do when you find yourself in a hole isâ€”stop digging.