Things to remember about workforce issues

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., was in Fairmont this week as part of her regular tours of every county in the state. She visited Kahler Automation and discussed, among other things, the ongoing labor shortage.

“There’s so many job openings right now in Minnesota,” she said. “Yet we’ve got kids getting degrees they can’t use, and they have a huge student debt load.”

Her comments echo what other lawmakers, educators and business people have been saying. Much thought and effort these days has shifted into efforts to educate young people for today’s economy. This may involve skills training in high school or two-year degrees at vocational schools.

All of which is good. But there is more that needs to be noted in all of this.

First, all those jobs exist because the economy is booming. Because it has been freed up by tax and regulatory reform, and because businesses have confidence in President Trump and the Republican-held Congress, which passed the tax cuts and cut the red tape. If pro-business lawmakers are not re-elected this fall, don’t expect the same confidence in the market.

Second, college — as an “industry” — has gotten stupid. It is an overpriced monstrosity with many pointless courses of study tied to left-wing politics rather than market realities. College should be about education for meaningful careers and lives, not (crazy) political indoctrination.

Third, college is still the right choice for many students. Like those seeking futures in the sciences, law, medicine, engineering and other traditionally esteemed fields. Bright students should be led toward bright futures. A potential doctor should not be encouraged to become a welder. So it is great to see schools such as Fairmont Area offering 20 college courses, which aid students in two ways — getting them college credits prior to college and saving them money.