Future-Proof Jobs: Looks Like They Require Skills

Fun, interesting feature in the May issue of Popular Mechanics, “10 Future-Proof Jobs You Can Get Right Now.” Now, who wouldn’t want to be an undersea welder, but for the landlubbers there are other promising careers. Say…

Combined Heat and Power Mechanic

Jim Bondi is an old-school electrician who embraces new-school energy production. After eight years working on projects that included solar installations, he joined Pennsylvania-based E-Finity, designing combined heat and power (CHP) plants. A CHP unit saves energy by burning fuel to produce electricity and using the excess heat for climate control and producing hot water. “With the nation’s rising energy demand and the increase in environmental stewardship, CHP is an economic and environmental no-brainer,” Bondi says. The Department of Energy hopes the industry will grow enough to add a million workers by 2030.

How to Do It: CHP suppliers provide training. Electricians and mechanics with experience on jet and helicopter engines, which are similar to CHP turbines, find their skills are a natural fit.

Earning Potential: Salaries are $30,000 out of the gate; they top out at $75,000.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post has a story that notes the downside of the jobs demanding high-skills, especially positions funded by the federal stimulus bill. From “Shortage Of Skilled Workers Hurts D.C.“:

Long before the economy soured into the worst financial and unemployment crisis in a generation, D.C. officials knew that tens of thousands of residents did not have the training to compete for mid-skill jobs in construction, maintenance and other professions that pay a livable wage.

The problem has hurt the city for years. The government struggled to find qualified residents to work on multimillion-dollar construction projects it funded, such as Nationals Park and the convention center.

The lack of skilled residents will cost the city in the coming months, when the government and nonprofit groups will compete with hundreds of other municipalities for a share of the $500 million in grants to train workers for the emerging “green” economy. To qualify for the stimulus funds, municipalities must demonstrate that they can train adults fast and put them to work on shovel-ready projects.

Green jobs, green jobs, green jobs — seems like a distraction, or at best, just a PR lure to attract some potential worker. Walk before running, addition and subtraction before vector analysis.

In related news, a Maine official is coming to work for the Obama Administration on adult education issues: “Glenn Cummings heads to D.C. with a notion to move adult ed and community colleges to the fore.”

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Greet summary of the unemployment article. I agree that a lot of citizens need additional training to successfully re-enter the workforce. Soft skills may help in the interview and for working with co-workers, but there are a number of employers looking for employees with specific technical skills. Since there are a lot of people out there that are unemployed, I wonder if that increases the participation in these get rich quick schemes or start your own business from home schemes.

    Six Sigma Green Belt Certificate Program at the University of St. Thomas.

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