Examining Workforce Development Through The Readings Of Punching Out

1381 words - 6 pages

Examining Workforce Development through the Readings of Punching OutIn the book entitled, "Punching Out" by Paul Clemens, Clemens investigates the 2006 closing of the Budd Detroit auto stamping plant over a year of time. In the process of writing his book, he learns a significant amount about economic downturn of the U.S. economy, the crisis of the American auto industry, outsourcing of employment and manufacturing to foreign countries and the historical impact that the auto industry has on Detroit, its citizens and unionization of employees. Clemens writes this book with first-hand accounts and encounters that he experiences with employees during his year of time spend at the plant. Also, he brings a great deal of passion and background knowledge, since he was born and raised on Detroit's east side were the auto plant is located. Indeed, this book explores many relevant topics related to the U.S. auto industry that has impacted many generations of Americans and has served as a foundation that allowed millions of people to enter America's middle class and provide for their families. However, the economic landscape has changed for the worse.Detroit is no longer the economic powerhouse that it once was. The U.S. auto industry is in decline. Auto manufactures have decided to scale back production and relocate to countries like Mexico, where non-unionized employees will work for lower wages. As a result, the city is plagued with hundreds of closed auto plants and thousands of unemployed people who have skills that are no longer relevant to the workforce. This creates a situation of frustration for many people. Clearly, several key messages can be interpreted though the reading of this book. For instance, workforce development programs that retrain and develop employee's skills are significant, the U.S. economy has changed from a manufacturing industry to a service driven industry that requires people to be skilled in a profession or trade and the closing of auto plants has significant generational impacts to employees and their families as well as the future of a stable middle class in this country.Workforce Development programs that enhance workers skills and educational levels are critical, especially during hostile economic times when manufacturing jobs are moving overseas and former employees are laid-off. Many times, the jobs those employees had working in the auto plants were unionized positions that paid them well, even though these workers had little or no postsecondary education after high school. When these high paying manufacturing jobs disappear, there is little chance that these employees will find comparable jobs without additional education or training. For instance, in "Punching Out", Clemens writes about the political ramifications that republican candidates experienced during the 2008 presidential election when they campaigned in Michigan related to auto workers jobs being outsourced. He writes,"There was a small controversy during...

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