Lawrence, I agree that skilled trades are downplayed by education but education tends to, particularly colleges, respond to corporate demands. In a sense, they are reaping what they've sown, so my sympathy for business only goes so far LOL I don't think of it as some dark, conspiratorial plot but rather they act in collusion together. Most skilled tradesmen don't need six years of theory and lab time and tons of research grants to understand what they need to do or become good at it. Companies are pressed by potential investors because they look at how many degreed employees exist. Where I'm at, bio-pharm is big business and there are tons of educational programs to enter that field at every level, but maybe 50 openings a year. The colleges gain students trying to break into that field. I mean, hypothetically a college sees a formula like: 1,000 students x $30,000 in fees. I think if there was as much demand to go into Applied Sciences, colleges might be more active in soliciting high school students. The companies don't care if colleges spit out a majority of students who can't get work in the field if they know that they'll have at least a part of that pool to draw from if need be.
I don't see management or business goals as inherently evil, or greed in general as evil. They are what they are. But I do think employees should always remember that and keep an eye on the checks and balances. Business IS willing to let go of skilled for unskilled workers in favor of the bottom line. Like in 2003, the massive layoffs of skilled, degreed IT folks not because they were unqualified, but because overseas labor was cheaper. Or when Verizon roughed up employees health and 401K bene's. And instead of "Look for the Union Label" songs we tend to have seen Unions and their members in the media for a long time now, played up to be lazy, semi-mobsters. Business will, in some way, always try to threaten unions and/or worker rights because they have to pay out on them. I know I've been a bit all over the map here and I don't know what the answers are specifically, but I just feel like if business goals CAN run unchecked by everyone but themselves, they will.