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Jim, it seems 'outsourcing' will have a significant role in how organizations do work in the future. The first focus is upon unskilled work but perhaps more is in the offing. The move to higher minimum wages for unskilled work has accelerated the process.

The primary defense is obviously to acquire skills that are less easily outsourced. This needs more study but perhaps it is too late to reverse in a meaningful fashion.

Agree, Jay. Ironically, higher minimum wages for the most unskilled workers now means that employers can attract more skilled people than before. The totally unskilled candidates may find it harder to win an entry rate job over better-skilled rivals. Acquisition of skills needed right here in our economy should be the first priority of vocational education. That might be difficult to achieve, too.

Jim, how does that work? How does a higher minimum wage impact the ability to hire more skilled folks? If you said it, it must be true, but how??

Rather than spend money paying more for unskilled work, it is certainly true we should spend more to not only increase skill but focus education on something that actually leads to a career. The UC system just increased tuition across the board. A better solution would have been to increase it for degrees in 'underwater basketweaving' and reduce it for degrees in the technical and medical arenas.

Current studies after Seattle's boost in required minimum wages proved that employers became more selective as the cost of labor for their least valuable workers increased. A higher wage attracts more competent applicants. It was a no-brainer to hire those with better/longer work records. Also, part-time but still low-paying gigs sometimes fit as suitable second jobs for industrious folks who now found the higher minimum rate worthy.

Evidence-based academic curricula with tuition varying by employability may be too sensible for adoption by ossified bureaucratic institutions of higher learning, Jay. That's another article, I fear, probably better authored by folks with fancier initials after their name: like you, Pat, Gerry, Dave or even Howard.

I thought that one always chooses to hire the most qualified, skilled person for a job whether starting rate is $10, $15, or $50. But the point I think is that at a $15.00 rate, a more skilled person who might not have applied at $10 or $12, would now apply for the job, whether a primary job or a secondary one. So the employer will have a more skilled workforce to select from. It will be interesting to see the outcomes down the road.

Playing along on the academic side, if differentiating tuition by degree, wouldn't it be better to look at income potential following the obtainment of the degree and charging tuition accordingly? (which one would think would correlate directly to the salaries of the professors hired to teach in that major, right?) In this case the underwater basket weaving, might have a lower tuition rate as I expect the earning potential to be under water as well....

Karen's points are too sensible to dispute. Seniority-secure academics, however, are likely to contest your economic value arguments. Quests for pure knowledge and efforts to develop artistic sensibilities, for example, may not have a clear relationship to later career income. But I suspect that the subsequent prosperity of graduates (beyond their starting offers) correlates with that of their teachers in more ways than one.

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