Why your children should go to work in the chemical industry

Boomers retire, economy busts?

26 November 2007 00:00  [Source: ICB]

Retirement threatens to stamp out the developed world's workforce. So why not keep jobs in the family? It makes sense

Ivan Lerner/New York

AT THE recently concluded OPEC summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, during a presentation, Alan Kelly, chair of the coordinating subcommittee of the Washington, D.C.-based National Petroleum Council, said that the majority of the US energy workforce would be eligible to retire within the next decade: "The workforce needs to be replenished and trained."

Meanwhile, Emily DeRocco, assistant secretary for employment and training at the US Labor Department recently told ICIS reporter Joe Kamalick, "a large percentage of current workers in the energy industry are nearing retirement."

The same thing has been said about the trucking and chemical industries. Meanwhile, the feckless youth take no interest in these occupations because they are not "sexy" or "cool" enough.

Maybe it's the slope of my forehead, but I thought "sexy" and "fun" were adjectives that described what you did after work finished.

But rather than go on about how the average teenage pupil needs a good, swift kick in the butt (which they do), I would like to know whether the men and women who work in the chemical, energy and trucking industries have encouraged their kids to enter these same fields?

Why not keep it in the family? It was not previously deemed as unusual for children to go into their parents' professions.

Now, of course, there are those who say that the homegrown workforce will survive by being replaced by Indian and Chinese immigrants.

Okay, I'm no brainiac economist (and I hate to bring up the dreaded "R" word) but maybe a recession will make people rethink their - and their children's - priorities toward a more realistic direction. Besides, who says a chemical engineer can't have a rock band on the side?

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