When it comes to skilled labor, the United States is in crisis mode

The Democrats were once known as the Labor Party. Now it has gained a name as a free stuff giveaway party.

He still woos those who are employed, but favors those who have gone to college and are unwilling to repay their student loans.

Those in professions without a degree, such as truck drivers, factory workers, and people who work on railroads and in ports are an afterthought. But grassroots inattention not only affects the party’s electoral base, it undermines America’s ability to compete globally.

As Politico reported, for years the United States has spent far less on training its workers than most other wealthy nations, contributing to supply chain issues caused by the pandemic.

Economists say one of the reasons for the current situation of two job openings for every worker is the inability to effectively prepare workers for in-demand roles. Many of the gaps relate to critical sectors of the supply chain, including trucking, manufacturing, railroads and ports.

“Industries are struggling to find workers right now; a lot of it is that they’re not qualified or trained to work in those industries, because they’ve left and gone to other industries,” Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said in a conference room recently. Newport News Learning School class. , Va., which trains shipbuilding workers. “Right now is the time to make sure we continue to invest in workforce development (and) skills training.”

If anything qualifies as a cornerstone of infrastructure, training our workforce would be high on the list. And yet, Democratic candidates campaigned ad nauseam for the right of college graduates to walk out of millions in debt.

Here’s a better use of that money: workforce training programs, stat.

“This is a critical point,” said Boston University professor Scott Solberg, vice president of research for the Coalition for Career Development Center. “We need to have a national conversation about how we’re going to improve career readiness because it’s all about economic competitiveness.”

Upgrading job skills and investing in workers is anathema to the universal basic income crowd. Americans should get money just because, they reason. It is a right. Knocking a clock reeks of capitalism.

The problem is that a robust workforce keeps the economy strong, growing and able to compete with global rivals.

Instead of blaming corporations for making money and promising to tax them until the next century, how about working with them to strengthen training programs? And government skills-building projects will have a much better return for citizens and the country than sending checks to unemployed would-be Democratic voters.

DC sees the light. The Department of Labor is working to expand career apprenticeships throughout the supply chain, including the recent creation of a pilot program to recruit and train more truck drivers.

It’s a good start, but more is needed. Both the private and public sectors need to invest seriously in training the workforce.

Our future depends on it.

Michael A. Bynum