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Asked what type of 1,000-job business would be best located in their community, the respondents put manufacturing at the top of the list.
Yet only a third...said they would encourage their own children to pursue jobs in manufacturing.

Seems like 1/3 should be more than plenty--but I guess fewer than 1/3 of their kids are interested, or at least interested enough to get the necessary training.

U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis arrived on the Flo Valley campus to tour an advanced manufacturing teaching facility and to promote the $15 million federal government grant that St. Louis Community College and eight other Missouri institutions will put toward training displaced workers and veterans for specialized production jobs.

Nice. We should put money into more community colleges for such programs--but why restrict them to displaced workers and vets? They should be open to any high school grad.

entry level employees at Caterpillar (in Peoria, IL) are paid at levels that are no longer middle class. $15.57/hr. But that is not enough for the lifestyle (boats and vacation homes) once enjoyed by the auto industry and other manufacturing jobs.

Sheesh! That's about $32k/year, definitely middle class and about what my son was paid as a first-year public school teacher in a Boston burb (12 years ago, but in a town with a significantly higher cost of living than Peoria).

Do entry-level workers in any field, even investment banking, really expect to acquire a boat and vacation home immediately?!? It took my son 6 years of frugal living to save enough on a teacher's salary for a 20% down payment to buy a cheap older condo in which he still lives 6 years later. I note that he had to spend 4 years at university, not 1 or 2 at community college, so 10 years after high school graduation to have a small piece of "the American dream." No boat or vacation home, but he travels half of every summer, renting a cabin with canoe on a lake, plus camping and can afford to travel to visit family whenever. By the time he's worked 15 years, he'll have doubled his initial salary and be well into upper middle class territory * .

Working with your hands has gotten a bum rap outside of small towns (and even there, maybe-). These days many white-collar folks seem surprised when a middle class man in an urban/suburban nabe does his own home maintenance and yard work.


1st (poor/working poor)...< $20k
2nd (lower middle class)..$20-38k
3rd (middle class).............$38-62k
4th (upper middle)............$62-100k
5th (IMO the lower 15% is also upper middle)...$100-180k
Top 5% (rich outside of pricy cities)..$180k+
Top 1% (rich)...................$350k+ (average income of top 1% is $1.5MM)

=alstro, thinks TV & movies depict unrealistic lifestyles for middle class incomes
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