What is Happening to Blue Collar Careers?

The United States has become a nation of “non-tinkerers,” a survey shows, and it may harming the way we live and work according to manufacturers.

In a poll of 1,000 U.S. adults, nearly six in 10 said they had never made or built a toy. Twenty-seven percent had not made or built even one item from a list of eight common projects, including furniture and a flower box. Sixty percent avoided doing major household repairs themselves, noted the survey from The Foundation of the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, based in Rockford, Ill.

“Many Americans simply do not work with their hands anymore, whether it’s to tackle a hobby for pleasure or to handle a necessary household repair. Young people essentially have no role models when it comes to fixing things or taking pride in building something,” said Gerald Shankel, the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association president.

There’s a growing shortage of tinkerers and people with hands-on skills in the workplace. Many studies predict a severe labor shortage as waves of blue-collar workers reach retirement age. A national poll of 500 teenagers, however, showed that 73% had little or no interest in those hands-on careers. Six in 10 teenagers had never visited or toured a factory, according to another The industrial heritage of the United States was based on tinkerers. In the future, who will fix our running toilets, creaky doors, and stalled engines?


Ira S Wolfe