Monday, September 12, 2011

Caterpillar (CAT) CEO Pillories U.S. Education System - "The Education system in the U.S. Basically has Failed Them...We have to Retrain Every Person We Hire""

Interesting blurb via Reuters dealing with the jobs issue and Caterpillar (CAT).  Essentially what the U.S. is churning out (despite the most per capita spending on students in K-12, and the highest cost universities in the world) is not the type of product the CEO needs.  Another part of this is the hollowing out of the manufacturing base (in terms of number of jobs)... those with relatively high ceilings are generally not going to go into an area where the long term prospects of employment are poor.  CAT itself dumped a lot of its U.S. workforce a few years ago....

  • Caterpillar Inc is struggling to add skilled workers in its manufacturing operations despite high U.S. unemployment levels that have forced President Barack Obama to take extraordinary measures, the company's chief executive said on Friday.
  • The dichotomy in the makeup of the workforce is threatening U.S. and Canadian competitiveness, Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman said.
  • "We cannot find qualified hourly production people, and for that matter many technical, engineering service technicians, and even welders, and it is hurting our manufacturing base in the United States," he told a business audience at the Spruce Meadows equestrian facility outside Calgary.  "The education system in the United States basically has failed them and we have to retrain every person we hire."
  • Oberhelman said the service technician shortage is hurting Caterpillar's dealers as well. "These things have pretty sophisticated instruments and we have to train for that. I would hope our education system could help and make up for some of that," he said. "Today it's several thousands shortage of those technicians for us around the world. It's acute."
  • Oberhelman said it is too early to tell if the United States or Europe is heading for another recession.  "Certainly the storm clouds have thickened a bit," he said.
  • He was in Calgary for a business roundtable on manufacturing.
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