Well Said….

By June 27, 2005General

We’ve long contended that we have the smartest readers of any blog — or any publication , for that matter. Well, it’s been proved again. If you scroll down to the entry that says, “Energy – Food for Thought“, you’ll see a comment posted there by Richard Becker, an Industrial Education teacher from Colorado. He wrote to talk about the importance of manufacturing and a skilled workforce to all aspects of the economy. We thought it just hit the nail on the head, said it better than we could (and God knows we’ve tried….), and so herewith it is reprinted with his permission. Thanks again to Richard Becker for his insight and eloquence.

Part of the problem in the failure of many to understand natural gas requirements as energy is they are still laboring under the ’80’s misconception that manufacturing is “obsolete smokestack industry” and therefore does not exist to use energy. Energy is not only used to heat manufacturing facilities in colder climates, but energy is used to heat treat steel for tool & die, mold production and other uses.

They are also ignorant regarding natural gas (along with petroleum) as a source of raw materials for plastic material. Polyethylene — used to produce kitchen items and other applications — comes from natural gas.

The energy production opponents are also naive to the extent they fail to realize that even computer “high tech” hardware itself cannot exist unless assembled from precision components that are the direct and indirect result of machine tools and other manufacturing processes. Nothing suddenly materializes at a warehouse or retail store shelf!

As a former high school Industrial Education teacher, who tried to make a difference ’66-’72, I am now involved in an education reform effort. The objective is to convince the schools that, contrary to the naive academic beliefs since the mid ’60’s, an educated direct labor workforce is essential because manufacturing never was “dead”, only “wounded” but has recovered with CNC and other computerized processes.

Without an educated direct labor workforce, this nation will remain dependent on imports due to the need for importing that which is no longer made in the United States.