Take for instance the story of Mike Hutchins, a 58 year old unemployed automotive engineer. He went to a local community college to get some training to be a civil engineering technician. The NYT noted that Hutchins has been unable to find a job as a technician. Despite talking to labor experts the NYT never came up with a good explanation for the problems Hutchins is having. [Job Retraining May Fall Short of High Hopes, By Michael Luo, New York Times, July 6, 2009]
The reason is very simple: Given a choice, employers will never hire a 58 year old for an entry level position when they can hire a 22 year old. Employers no longer put a value on years of experience so the fact that Hutchins has been in engineering for decades doesn't help him. If anything his years of experience are detrimental because employers will worry that he might leave to find a better paying engineering job.
As long as there are young people entering the labor market the odds are against those like Hutchins who are hoping that some extra education will help them to find a new job. While it is true that there is a limited number of young people in the U.S. companies don't have to rely on local labor supplies—H-1Bs are mostly young and male, which is exactly what employers want. The flood of young workers into the U.S. is a major problem for aging baby boomers because age discrimination is very prevalent, especially in high-tech.
Government programs that attempt to educate people to "trade down" for lower level jobs are doomed to failure. Even the NYT acknowledges that 60% of these retrained professionals get jobs in something related to their new education.
I included a Huffingtonpost blog where a jobless reporter is interviewed. Her mistake is similar that of Hutchins—she going back to school to get a teacher's certificate at the age of 41. She will have the same problem as Hutchins when it comes time to find a real job.[Down, Not Out: Laid-Off Journalist Tries The Back-To-School Strategy]
The Huffingtonpost website censors replies that are contrary to liberal dogma. They have thought police that censor anything they deem to be politically incorrect. As an example, I tried posting this as a comment but they wouldn't post it:
It's rather ironic that a reporter for FT.com is unemployed considering that magazine is a shortage shouter that advocates offshore outsourcing and the importation of foreign guest worker immigrants with visas such as H-1B. Jennifer West will have a tough time finding a teaching job since schools are not interested in hiring entry level teachers that are over the age of 40.I'm not sure, but the keyword that probably triggered the Huffingtonpost censors was probably "immigrants" or "H-1B". If you want to test their system, try posting a comment anywhere on the site with term "illegal alien"—that's a red flag alarm for the Huffington thought police. Using terms like "illegal alien" or immigrant can actually get you banned from the web site!
It's unfortunate for Jennifer and the readers of that website that they aren't allowed a diversity of opinion that could further their understanding of the employment problems they are experiencing. Huffingtonpost preaches "diversity" but practices something closer to fascism.