Here's what happens when you put a cartoonishly nefarious billionaire in charge of enticing young people into working in factories: He tries to convince them that manufacturing is a great job by incentivizing them with hors d'oeuvres and cocktails. Of course.
America is facing a problem: Young people allegedly don't want to work in factories, even if the pay is more than $15 an hour, as it sometimes is. So Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross—whose opportunism has afforded him a $2.9 billion net worth and the nickname "King of Bankruptcy"—has a solution. He suggests that companies invite recent grads and their parents to fancy open-house sessions, where the businesses can ply them with delicacies and explain that working in a factory is actually pretty awesome. Maybe even glamorous.
At the SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington this week, Ross said, "What some of the companies have been doing is literally having an open session with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres for the high school students and their parents, so they can actually see that a factory is not a dank, dark, dangerous place where people do a lot of physical work—that the modern factory is actually a very attractive workforce environment."
Ross then added, "When they hear that, they've had a few drinks and they find out it's actually a much better paying job than they thought, it starts to change the attitude." Well, then.
Just in case you forgot, Ross is the same man who said that Trump's decision to rain 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles down on Syria while dining with Chinese President Xi Jinping "was in lieu of after-dinner entertainment."
But this lack of factory workers is a major problem in the US. In addition to the utter decimation of worker's representation thanks to the decades-long decline of organized labor, as Baby Boomers' generation enters retirement, some factory jobs not already shipped abroad will open up, and young people are not to eager to fill those jobs. A report by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute shows that it takes, on average, 70 days to fill a factory floor job. Can the Trump administration convince young people that the factory is the place to be?
Well, canapé and a flute of champagne, anyone?