About three months ago, I quit my excellent job at a tech company in which I’d worked at for ~6.5 years. I was in need of change; a new challenge with a steep learning curve where I could get back to my roots of helping individuals. In tandem, my fiance and I decided we’d use my time off as a sabbatical and travel. We traveled around the United States for over 45 days, and in that time, we visited twelve National Parks, visited seven major cities, and explored the US, each other, and ourselves. Yes, we’re so privileged to have the opportunity to take that trip.
After returning to Boston, there was one thing I couldn’t get out of my head. It was the sheer volume of once thriving cities and towns that were now barren. Companies had closed down, and people moved, leaving behind broken-down ghost cities.
That’s when it began to sink in – the middle class is shrinking, and quickly.
Witnessing the run-down cities and speaking to people we met, it’s clear to see the impact the economic and policy change, and lack of job training and retraining is having on Americans. However, businesses are being affected tremendously as well.
The positives of our current US economy
We can see that the stock market is reaching all-time highs (Dow topped 23,000 points recently), housing prices are out of control, and unemployment is at an all-time low at 4.2% in September.
NASDAQ & DOW ARE AT AN ALL-TIME HIGH
Housing Prices in $’000 in Major Cities; thEY’RE UP.
Source: The Economist
. Side note: If you think your smaller city is safe from housing price increases, it turns out many people and tech giants are escaping these prices themselves and moving to Denver, Austin, Nashville, Raleigh, Salt Lake, etc. I wrote about it last week here
Unemployment rates since 2007; rATES ARE way down.
There’s a lot that you don’t see with these numbers though.
The real story of our current US economy
What you don’t see is that in 2016, the percentage of Americans in poverty was 12.7% in 2016; a number has remained stagnant for more than a decade. Wages for hourly-earners has remained stagnant too. And I won’t get started on the tragic 22% increase in drug overdoses from 2015 to 2016.
wAGES HAVE BEEN Flat Since Pre-2008
Drug Overdose Deaths 2000 – 2016. 22% Increase from 2015 to 2016.
Who is responsible for this crazy economic growth then? Folks who work in the tech sector. In 2015, the average salary for a person in tech was ~108,000, while the *median household income* was less than half of that at $53,130.
Tech Industry Wages VS National Average
I could go on. Mind you; the tech gap is only going to continue to grow once self-driving cars launch, and artificial intelligence and automation evolve. I work in tech, and I feel the rate of technological advancement happening around me.
I was lucky to get a job in tech after I graduated from college and since then have helped a lot of friends bridge the gap, including my husband and a few friends.
What are people/COMPANIES/GOVERNMENT doing to solve the problem?
Not too much, yet.
Media outlets are finally starting to discuss and cover the issues. Recently, WIRED published an article
decrying the frustrated businesses who feel colleges are inadequately preparing students for the labor force. The editorial says that there’s a problem of universities not being able to keep up with the pace of technological change, which leads to a combination of problem poor course-work, as well as lack of degrees in new areas like data analytics
Businesses are developing courses to train their employees.
It’s a well-known fact that the government isn’t doing much to train or retrain the labor force. That’s why Salesforce CEO, Marc Benioff, even put his hat in the ring
and gave Donald Trump a $5million proposal for a jobs training program.
I wish I could speak more on the people aspect. I can address what I’m doing though. Enter the mission of this website.
The purpose of Tech Job Training for Americans:
Help Americans gain the knowledge, skills, and network they need to succeed in a continuously evolving job marketplace.
Interested in learning more? Here’s what you can do thus far:
Lastly, if you’re interested in joining me in creating a resource with guidance and networking to help Americans break into a field they’ll love – and with a salary they can survive on – please fill out the contact form. Any tips people have on great books, resources, places to learn, etc. are much appreciated, or if you’d like to contribute in any other capacity not mentioned, please do reach out.
Below are some of the resources I used to gather the data, as well as learn about the current state of the US economy: