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[Susan notes: This great letter nails it.]

Published in Wall Street Journal
05/18/2013

To the editor

Regarding Kirk McDonald's Sorry, College Grads, I Probably Won't Hire You (op-ed May 10): Mr. McDonald, I am sorry to read you won't be hiring the college graduates you believe you need because they lack the computing skills your cool, rapidly growing company requires. As an English professor at a state school, however, I won't be changing the vocational advice I give to many of my students.



Rather than off-loading your training costs to potential employees who will have to borrow tens of thousands of dollars to get the training your company seems unwilling to offer, may I suggest you engage the labor market with something more than a promise of foosball and free bottled water. How about higher initial salaries and job security?



For centuries industry leaders induced labor to acquire skills by paying salaries, training and then promoting. They didn't demand that employees hit the ground running. When you next place a want ad, put two small words at the end. "Will train." Invest in people. Then your employees will know exactly what you want them to know.



My students attend classes hoping for careers, not jobs. Can you guarantee my 20-somethings that when they are 30-somethings their skills won't be outsourced to some place in the global economy where $8,000 per year constitutes a fortune?



So while my students and I appreciate your good wishes at their achievement, I will continue to educate them to the fact that while technical skill sets come and go, business world-wide cannot be conducted without language and critical thought. Less techie, to be sure, but a far superior investment for the long haul.



Perry Glasser


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