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Blue collar green: Decent but dirty jobs are yours for the taking in NY

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Thousands of the dirtiest and toughest jobs in New York are going unfilled, in sectors that pay well and could lift idle workers out of unemployment, without the heavy burden of college loans.

 

Employers can’t find enough local workers to fill such jobs as auto mechanics, welders, plumbers, construction workers, diesel technicians, cleaners, janitors, truckers and other typically solid middle-class, blue-collar jobs, which created the unique fabric of the city for a century, labor experts and educators told The Post.

 

With New York City’s official rate of unemployment stuck at 8.7 percent, officials have expressed shock at the reluctance of some able-bodied workers to think about these careers.

 

 

 

 

 

“There is a shortage of workers in some of these fields for a simple reason: For the last couple of years, they were frowned upon,” said Geraldine Maione, principal of William E. Grady Career and Technical High School in Brooklyn, which trains students for jobs in the auto industry, construction and other vocational careers.

 

“When we visit junior high schools and tell parents what we are all about, some parents will frown, ‘Oh, my child is not going to come to your school just to change the oil and fix cars.’ Guess what -- somebody has to fix the cars.”

 

Zubair Munir is one of them. The 17-year-old is proud to be an auto technician apprentice at Bay Ridge Honda in Brooklyn. And unlike many of his pals, he doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty.

 

“They are all trying to get into academic programs at school,” Munir, who takes classes at Grady, told The Post. “I am the only one going to be a mechanic. I was talking to one of my friends at Halloween who is trying to become a dentist. I am proud to be that unique person [who breaks the mold].”

 

New York needs more of these unique workers -- People like Matthew McEnteggart, 36, who went back to school to pick up more technical education at the Mechanics’ Institute at 44th Street in Manhattan to advance his career as a building manager at the New York Public Library.

 

“The trades are picking up right now, and construction is showing a bit of a resurgence in hiring,” said the Forest Hills native. “I don’t know why more people are not looking at these fields.”

 

For instance, the trucking industry has a shortage of drivers and diesel mechanics, according to Kendra Adams, president of the New York State Motor Truck Association. That’s despite average salaries of as much as $50,000 for drivers, and jobs as diesel technicians that can start at $30,000. All the jobs come with full benefits.

 

“We run into all the same issues as other blue-collar fields,” Adams said. “There’s not a lot of focus in the schools right now on blue-collar work. A lot of the programs are not being financed anymore, there is so much focus on high tech.”

 

Undoubtedly there are many reasons for the glaring mismatch between the numerous unfilled jobs in New York and an oversupply of job applicants.

 

Laid-off workers in sectors like finance, banking, technology and management don’t easily move into construction, economists say. It often takes retraining and inherent ability.

 

Of course, some blue-collar jobs have no shortage of takers. Deep in the bowels of the city, New York’s legendary urban “miners,” the famed sandhogs, have no problem recruiting, says Chris Fitzsimmons, business representative for sandhogs union Local 147.

 

“We’re holding our own,” he told The Post, explaining how recent city projects lifted employment. “When the economy was booming, we were starving over here. We were down to 80 workers out of a 600-to-700-man local in 2000. Since then we’ve grown to a 1,700-man local with approximately 1,200 people working.”

 

But elsewhere the need for technical workers is a near-crisis. “There’s a shortage of welders and plumbers in New York based on my enrollment,” said James Loriega, director of the Mechanics’ Institute.

 

The school offers advanced education in various technical fields. “The new generation is less enthused about working dirty and working with their hands,” Loriega said.

 

Fitzsimmons of the sandhogs said that there’s talk of another project opening up, creating a plethora of more jobs for tunnel workers.

 

“There’s an element of danger; we are not making cupcakes,” he said. “You’re working around heavy equipment, and we are underground, several miles from the nearest hospital. But it’s a good honest living if you are willing to do a hard day’s work.”

 

Munir at Bay Side Honda is not afraid of hard work. “This job keeps you set for life: You can pay all your bills, raise a family, have money for your kids -- and you could eventually have a side business,” he said.

 

 

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/blue_collar_green_UD5qdMRvgTdmmqDy4SqrvL#ixzz1cvmhdjWE

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Awesome, at least two jobs I want to do are on that list once I'm finished with my current toy job....

 

Also, the HS I went to (Grady) is mentioned in that article! I know who exactly said the statement as well, I kinda miss that place, the work I do now is more country club than HS work but the people (I'm counting the students in this as well) are much more pleasant to be around than the current peeps. I must say the current situation I'm in has been a real eye opener....

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It gets better.....glad you got options......they say one door closes and another one will open......but its all about setting yourself up....or lining things up for the future.

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The reasons these jobs are hard to fill is 1) they've been historically frowned upon, but most importantly 2) they require a very specific set of skills that is no longer taught, which has become more technologically advanced over time.

 

Most people lack the basic skills needed to remove lug nuts and change a flat tire these days. Gone are the days when dads would teach their kids basic woodworking and craftsmanship while they were still young - saving them a lifetime of contractor expenses and explaining everything from electricity to plumbing, to woodworking and finishing, to painting, to auto repair.

 

These are things bankers don't know how to do, but they pay the "little people" to do...but the joke will be on them when their car breaks down one day and the few "little people" left can dictate the market price of their skills.

 

These skills have only become more complicated over time, especially with the advent of computerized parts in cars requiring more knowledge than ever to make basic repairs and corrective adjustments.

 

To anyone here thinking of going into those fields - learn from someone good until you know EVERYTHING. Become a buff of your trade, and maybe then you can start your own business by yourself. If business takes off, find someone trustworthy just as interested in the work as you and make them your business partner and go from there. But don't just take a college course in automotive and think you are ready to go, cuz you're not.

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The reasons these jobs are hard to fill is 1) they've been historically frowned upon, but most importantly 2) they require a very specific set of skills that is no longer taught, which has become more technologically advanced over time.

 

Most people lack the basic skills needed to remove lug nuts and change a flat tire these days. Gone are the days when dads would teach their kids basic woodworking and craftsmanship while they were still young - saving them a lifetime of contractor expenses and explaining everything from electricity to plumbing, to woodworking and finishing, to painting, to auto repair.

 

These are things bankers don't know how to do, but they pay the "little people" to do...but the joke will be on them when their car breaks down one day and the few "little people" left can dictate the market price of their skills.

 

These skills have only become more complicated over time, especially with the advent of computerized parts in cars requiring more knowledge than ever to make basic repairs and corrective adjustments.

 

To anyone here thinking of going into those fields - learn from someone good until you know EVERYTHING. Become a buff of your trade, and maybe then you can start your own business by yourself. If business takes off, find someone trustworthy just as interested in the work as you and make them your business partner and go from there. But don't just take a college course in automotive and think you are ready to go, cuz you're not.

 

It's not just that these trades are frowned upon, but there's also a great deal of sexism, racism and arrogance in some of these trades, esp. construction. I worked for a general contractor previously and it was mainly Irish and Italian. We had an Asian woman who was a project manager and she earned well (minimum 80 - 85k a year), but the problem was that she was competition to other male project managers in the office, so she was given the duty to be an on site manager (a super) where she'd be forced to work in dirty conditions, thereby forcing her to not come to the office in her expensive Burberry coats and such. Eventually they fired her and I'm certain that part of it was sexism because she was a female (a tall one at that) and the men felt threatened by her. We had another guy who was also a project manager and he had a black female working for him (assistant) and he would page her over the pager system as if she was a servant or something.

 

I mean we had minorities in the office, but not many blacks (1 or 2 at the most out an office of over 70) and they weren't given high roles either. Eventually a black guy was hired as an assistant to my boss who was the CFO and he held a "high position" in that he was paid decently and such, but there was this sense that he knew not to step out of line so to speak or he would be gone, as if he should be grateful to have a job. That was actually my first job out of college; started working there as a temp. and they hired me on since I spoke Italian and could be helpful to them with their Italian clients. I worked as an assistant for a little while just getting my feet wet and such on this Armani project since we had a few Italians from Italy come over and work on the project, and once that was over, I worked as the Insurance Coordinator dealing with the buildings to meet the regulations necessary in order for us and the subcontractors to work.

 

I enjoyed the field and occasionally went on site here and there to meet with management or boards when necessary, but was in the office for the most part. I decided to try my hand at becoming a "Junior" Project Manager and moved on to another general contractor, with the hopes of moving up, but the amount of arrogance in the field was just ridiculous. Bunch of men sitting around and everyone was so full of themselves... Oh, I'm a plumber and I'm smart... I'm an electrician and I'm the ****. The biggest cockiest a-hole was the architect, who thought he was a God. :P Every on-site meeting that I had to attend was torture with the amount of know-it-alls and then I had the construction guys on site who hated my guts because I was mainly working in the office not really having to get my hands dirty so to speak aside from attending meetings on site, though of course I had enough office work to do, but still nothing in comparison to having to work in 90 degree heat and such lifting things.

 

I quit after a month of the BS and went into my own field of linguistics, where I earned much more and had much less stress to boot. That's not to say that we linguists aren't arrogant, but we're far more cultured than those construction guys. In short, there's a shortage because yeah, some folks think that they're too good for the field, but also there's a ton of BS in some of these fields that can turn folks off from even considering them.

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I noticed they didn't give a example for a Janitor in the article even though its mentioned at the beginning. I always thought Janitor was on the level of Fast Food joint jobs, didn't know you can live comfortably in NYC on a Janitor salary.

 

Seems like a really nice job if they have a Graveyard shift. All the office workers long gone, its 2AM and your at a Office building in Manhattan doing what you gotta do, not too bad....

 

I would imagine people don't wanna do the Truck Driving thing because of the harsh lifestyle of driving OTR, even though it is possible to be a TR and come home every night if you drive locally...

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You write a whole post about how in a lotta jobs people think they're better than others, then you finish by going on about how you're so much more 'cultured' than manual labor workers. This is why blue collar jobs aren't happening.

 

Here we go again... :P Always trying to twist things.... I was talking about a specific group of people so stop trying to make it like I'm generalizing. You go to any length to constantly twist what I say. If you're going to quote me at least be accurate. The point I was making was that there is a lack of tolerance in certain fields and we have far more tolerance in my field, which is why I said that we're more cultured because we are. That was my point. It had NOTHING to do with me thinking I'm better or anything like that and you know it. Wise ***.

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I like where this is going

 

Anyway, I've been aware of such jobs but I'm not cut out for such jobs in my current state, those jobs require some technical know-how

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I like where this is going

 

Anyway, I've been aware of such jobs but I'm not cut out for such jobs in my current state, those jobs require some technical know-how

 

So why not go for the training then? :confused:

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So why not go for the training then? :confused:

 

Lmfao where the hell would I train I'm a graphic arts major, not in mechanic school or whatever the hell it is!!

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Lmfao where the hell would I train I'm a graphic arts major, not in mechanic school or whatever the hell it is!!

 

I'm confused... Weren't you the one that was complaining about the lack of jobs in the economy and how you couldn't find anything?? :confused:

 

I don't twist, I just read what you say. Saying that linguists are more cultured than construction workers, I don't care if it's true or not, I'm just saying that's exactly why we don't have enough construction workers, people thinking they're better than that. And that's wrong.

 

Well actually like I said, I was in the field and I got out of it because of all of the arrogant a-holes in the industry. Let me tell you something... You haven't seen arrogant until you work in that industry. My point was that if you get into industry, you had better be damn good. My challenge was that I had no technical background, so I was learning as I went along and even though I had been exposed to the industry for over 2 years, being a project manager in that industry is tough and nearly impossible with no technical experience, so I said screw it and let me go into my field.

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I'm confused... Weren't you the one that was complaining about the lack of jobs in the economy and how you couldn't find anything?

 

How can he work in a field that he does not have the required skills for? In many jobs like that, training only sharpens your pre-existing skills so that you can become specialized in a certain trade.

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said Geraldine Maione, principal of William E. Grady Career and Technical High School in Brooklyn

wow... now she's back at Grady as a principal?? she was the dean when I went there back in the mid-to-late 90's.... god how I wanted to shove her down a flight of stairs... always treating us students like privates, barking at cats for no reason, like she was some drill sergeant or some'n....

 

when my (male) cousin became a freshman in grady 3 yrs later, I heard she (Maione) left grady to go to new utrecht.... ah well....

----

 

 

Anyway, continue the conversation y'all had going.

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I'm confused... Weren't you the one that was complaining about the lack of jobs in the economy and how you couldn't find anything?? :confused:

 

I'm not really complaining, it's pretty much true... Although I did get a seasonal spot at a Toys R Us recently, that should tide me over for the holidays, too bad I won't be there any longer than that, a shame

 

Once I'm finishing up in college I won't have anything to sweat about, there's so many things a professional graphic artist/animator can do, if they put in the time and dedication... Yep...

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This article is making things seem a little to rosy. The last time the plumbing apprentice union, or whatever it is called, had some openings last year, hundreds of people camped out to get a handful of positions. It's not like you can simply get up one day and say "I want to become a plumber!" A lot goes into getting that license, and it is not just taking the necessary courses.

 

The other thing with these jobs is that they are physically demanding, and many people just are not up to that level of activity. With obesity, diabetes, and heart disease the way they are today, a lot of people could not complete a day's work in any of these jobs no matter how hard they try.

 

And, of course, there is the problem of wages. These jobs pay well, but you will almost always be fighting to stay in the black becuase of rising prices, etc. If you want to raise a family comfortably today, it takes more and more money, and these jobs often do not pay enough so you can stop struggling just to be comfortable.

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I'm not really complaining, it's pretty much true... Although I did get a seasonal spot at a Toys R Us recently, that should tide me over for the holidays, too bad I won't be there any longer than that, a shame

 

Once I'm finishing up in college I won't have anything to sweat about, there's so many things a professional graphic artist/animator can do, if they put in the time and dedication... Yep...

 

Yeah, but you the one saying that there's nothing out there in one of those Occupy Wall Street threads.

 

How can he work in a field that he does not have the required skills for? In many jobs like that, training only sharpens your pre-existing skills so that you can become specialized in a certain trade.

 

Well it was him that was complaining that he couldn't find work, so I was under the impression that he had a degree already and just couldn't find anything in his field. I realize that the trade requires one to be specialized. That's obvious. However, you have plenty of abled folks out here that complain that there are no jobs in their field, but they wouldn't consider a career change and do something that isn't "so comfy". I've done plenty of jobs outside of my field, working in the construction sector amongst other things for a few years.

 

It's all about taking chances, though I must say that I got interested in the field because I like design and such. I think another problem is that folks are too involved in finding a job that pays the big bucks but they hate their job. Everyone wants to be a banker or in some fancy profession. My field to be honest is not looked upon w/much respect, especially here in the U.S. where we have so many monolingual folks and folks who frown upon multilingual people, but I'm fine with that. At the end of the day, I enjoy what I do and get paid well doing it, which is what counts. Most people give a sort of "huh"? when I say that I'm a linguist. lol Most of the clients do however understand our importance and realize the difficulty in what we do and appreciate us being around to assist them.

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Doing something you're not comfortable with is what causes a lot of problems for some people...

 

lol... Yeah well plenty of people do it. They hate their job, but they do it for the money...

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Doing something you're not comfortable with is what causes a lot of problems for some people...

 

lol... Yeah well plenty of people do it. They hate their job, but they do it for the money...

 

Agreed with both of these. It's the reason why I refused to get a job at a fast food joint because I knew I couldn't handle people and food, especially during a real busy day when kids are getting out of school and they're all noisy and loud. While I give it to those who are working in fast food business, a job like that is not for me.

 

I'm majoring in film and may make photography my minor next semester. Might as well since that's always been my side hobby and I love developing photos in my college's dark room.

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lol... Yeah well plenty of people do it. They hate their job, but they do it for the money...

 

and that is why there is so much greed and corruption in the workforce nowadays, particularly by those who sell out to chase dollar signs and get to the top.

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lol... Yeah well plenty of people do it. They hate their job, but they do it for the money...

 

And those people are usually not good at what they do and they make terrible employees. But then you have people who love what they do and their good at it, those people never work a day in their lives.

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