I had similar thoughts about discouraging my kids from studying engineering, but that's difficult to say to a kid who excels in math and science and really enjoys those subjects. Some kids are cursed with intelligence, and you're right, they will suffer for it!
Not every child has the skills that are most in demand -- professional athlete, actor, hip-hop musician, financial market manipulator, video vixen, etc. For better or worse, some kids will just have to settle for whatever jobs they can find after they finish their 'old economy' degree in something like engineering, computer science, biology or one of the other hard sciences.
As far as increasing production is concerned, companies will not crank up production, until there in an improvement in DEMAND. And there will be no improvement in demand, until those who are looking for a job, will find one (the #1 lesson from Henry Ford, and from the Great Depression.)
Those opposed to the stimulus package - stingy as it was, claimed that industry would create jobs on their own, and the stimulus was unnecessary.
OK guys (and gals) WHAT industry is leading the job creation?? None? The only unskilled and semi-skilled marked that are improving are overseas. (And the only US industry that IS thriving is the prison industry. But think of all the money we save by sending jobs overseas.)
Actually, many companies are. However, they appear to be taking their sweet time, in order to find the "perfect" candidate. They proceed to ignore the possibility, that just because the "almost perfect" candidate has not done that one task, they find essential, does not mean, that it is beyond their capability.
There are many contract jobs for drafters with specific CAD software background. Just check "Contract Job Hunter" (http://www.cjhunter.com/) It is not a very elegant website (not very searchable) but you'll see lots of well paying jobs listed there (drafters/designers/inspectors.)
The one area that is really hurting at the moment is space exploration, and unfortunately, that may not improve until the economy gets back on track.
For those who are ready to blame the current administration, they forget what lead to this mess.
Pundits blame the sub-prime mortgage games played by large financial institutions, and this has definitely been a major factor.
However, what has not been mentioned lately: I remember that the real panic that precipitated the defaults was a sudden rise in oil prices due to speculation and hording (by I think it was Morgan Stanly,) causing gasoline prices to do through the roof!
The result was that suddenly, for many, the cost of the mortgage of a house in the exurbs, PLUS the cost of commuting to work, exceeded their paycheck.
Companies seem to be hiring more contractors or consulting companies as they do not seem to want to deal with the overhead. A number of high salaried employees and older employees have been let go from many of these companies. There is also outsourcing of engineering to other countries. Unless engineering education is subsidized we will have a shortage of younger engineers as we all age and leave the workforce.
The reason is there is not any real, sustainable recovery happening. What little was reported as happening earlier in 2010 was due to the stimulus dollars getting heaped-on to the GNP. Consumers are not buying, companies are not hiring.
I'd like to know where the "tens of thousands of high paying solar and green technologies jobs" are? When I was out of work (at 55, 25 years high tech experience, BS, MS, MBA) and tried to look at solar 'jobs' they were either climbing roofs of homes to do installations ($12-$14 per hour and limited/no benefits) or job positions asking for 3-5 years solar industry experience! When San Jose but the solar collectors for the big airport upgrade out to competitive bid, they could not find ONE American company who would bid it and finally bought Chinese panels from a Canadian distributor. What a waste of billions of dollars of US taxpayer money.
There was a good article on this subject in last Sunday's New York Times called "Survival of the Safest". Not only is management "playing it safe" by not hiring, but employees are being extra careful not to "rock the boat" by suggesting new ideas. With all companies doing this, nobody is hiring anybody for new products and the recession prolongs itself. [I would hope there are a few who see this as a terrific opportunity to design new products while the others sleep and be the market leaders when the recession ends!]
All the big companies are prosecuting and/or defending hecto-million dollar patent infringement lawsuits, or hoarding their cash so they will be able to prosecute and/or defend those lawsuits. Smaller companies are being bled dry by being forced to license patents that they are unable to defend against. I bet they would much rather spend that money hiring engineers. As long as the patent courts continue to operate as they do (burden of proof on defendant, no costs granted for defendants who win) this will continue to get worse and there won't be any USA technology companies any more.
I agree that anything done must be well thought out; however, if a company chooses to move out of the U.S. and take its management overseas too, let it. I think we can all pay attention to make sure we don't spend money on anything that company makes or includes in others' products. We just need a new company (does someone see an opportunity here?) to provide the dirt on which bad companies' output are included in which products. Given such a listing, it should be much easier to avoid putting U.S. citizens' money into the hands of those with no intent to help the U.S. get back on its feet.