Tags: Zell | Education | Crisis

Zell: We're Battling An Education Crisis

Friday, 04 Nov 2011 02:02 PM

The source of the Occupy Wall Street protests — high unemployment rates — in the United States reflects a growing reality that students are picking the wrong majors and are limiting their jobs prospects while the economy suffers, says real estate magnate Sam Zell.

In other words, no more English Majors please.

"We have an education crisis," Zell tells CNBC.

"The real issue is not income inequality. The real issue is educational inequality. The fact is that we have an upper tier: highly educated, highly motivated, highly productive and highly reimbursed."

Many successful workers study fields like engineering, which even former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has said are lacking in this country.

Zell agrees, pointing out that those looking at the jobs market today should look at the unemployed for guidance.

"Did they major in engineering or literary arts? Did they, in effect, take responsibility and say I have to provide for myself? I better have a college education that converts into a real working opportunity. As far as I am concerned I don't know of too many engineers who are unemployed," Zell says.

To cite an example of the lack of training in the country, Zell points to wire, cable and fastener supplier Anixter, a company he controls that sought to open a plant in Illinois.

Problems arose hiring workers — there weren't enough qualified applicants.

"We can't fill the plant with workers to make fasteners because in order to make fasteners you've got to be able to read plans. And we can't find people who can read plans and specs and who are vocationally trained. And yet we have 10 percent unemployment in the Chicago metropolitan area."

As a solution, Zell says get the government out of education as much as possible.

Unions have too much power running schools, and students aren't getting the level of education they need, for example.

And when it comes to in-house training, tax breaks would help corporations do just that.

"The government, by definition, is the most incompetent producer of any kind of services. Nobody has ever disputed that. So limit the government to what it does or what it has to do: defense, foreign policy, etc."

Many unemployed Americans are carrying hefty student loans and are venting their frustration in The Occupy Wall Street protest movements, which have grown in number and scope since beginning in a Zuccotti Park, private property, in New York City several weeks ago.

While he believes the protest movement is healthy, Zell says he would have sent the movement packing early on if he owned the park.

"I would have evicted them on the first day. I would have said this is private property. If you want to protest, go find some public park and let Mayor Bloomberg deal with it."

Some say the Occupy Wall Street protestors are mad at Wall Street because they want the same thing the government gave investment banks a couple of years ago: a bailout.

"They say 'Wall Street fat cats got a bailout so now I want one too.' And the correct answer is no one is entitled to a bailout," says former GOP Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin, according to the Associated Press.

"The American dream, our foundation, is about work ethic and empowerment, not entitlement."

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The source of the Occupy Wall Street protests high unemployment rates in the United States reflects a growing reality that students are picking the wrong majors and are limiting their jobs prospects while the economy suffers, says real estate magnate Sam Zell. In other...
Zell,Education,Crisis
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2011-02-04
Friday, 04 Nov 2011 02:02 PM
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