From Finance to Welding to Nuclear Power Plants

CBS News reports many more stories on workforce skills and training than the other TV networks (or so it seems to us), and the correspondents have a good sense of the issues.  On Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, for example, a story comparing the two presidential candidates’ records on eduction and training was packaged within a report on manufacturing jobs in Florida, blue collar careers more attractive given today’s financial turmoil.

Like a lot of guys with a finance career, Peter Halpern was watching the economy and worrying about supporting his wife, Eva, and daughter, Katrina.

To deal with the heat and pressure, Halpern turned … to heat and pressure.

“When the sparks are flying, and the tools are grinding, and you hear the noise,” he said. “I love it.”

After years in the white-collar world, Halpern is becoming a welder.

Halpern folded his investment firm and enrolled in a worker training program in Pinellas County. Prospects for employment are good, especially given the demand for workers to help refurbish and build new nuclear power plants.  As Lee Middleton, Halpern’s welding instructor, says:

All the baby boomers are retiring, and there is nobody to replace them. Now all these people are realizing this and they’re coming for the money and the benefits – and the future,” Middleton said.

At $30 an hour, plus lots of overtime, you can reach six figures quickly.

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