RE: Certification (was: Re: Hostility Towards Whatever)

Subject: RE: Certification (was: Re: Hostility Towards Whatever)
From: "Robert Plamondon" <robert -at- plamondon -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2003 07:44:20 -0700

John Posada writes:

>There are a few more, one that comes to mind:

>To encourage people to continue their education in profession-related

Yes, it all sounds very caring and forward-looking, doesn't it? But it's
used largely as a method of artificially reducing the supply of workers in a
profession, to drive up compensation.

I live in a rural area and am part of a volunteer fire department. The
professional firefighters are constantly lobbying the state and federal
governments to require higher standards. The goal is to eliminate volunteer
fire departments entirely. This can be done directly or by the underhanded
tactic of requiring so much ongoing training that no volunteer can afford to
devote that much time to it, causing the fire department to dwindle away.
Some departments would be replaced with professional firefighters (this is
the goal of the lobbyists), while others would simply vanish and be replaced
by nothing.

A lot of people don't realize this, but much of the country has no fire
protection at all. This is true five miles from my house, where the boundary
of our fire district ends. A 25-mile stretch of country has no fire
department of any kind. Raising "professional standards" would greatly
increase the unprotected area. My fire district doesn't have enough money to
hire even a single professional. But "raising standards," would create more
paying jobs for firefighters. While it would also lead to more property
destruction and death in the areas that would lose their fire protection,
one could pretend that the higher standards in the more affluent areas would
make up for it. That the entire phenomenon is a transfer of protection from
poor areas to affluent ones is easy for the lobbyists to paper over, since
most people don't even know that the majority of the nation's poor live in
rural areas.

The phenomenon isn't quite so dramatic in other fields, since they lack the
element of flaming death, but the effect is for people to allow their
certification to lapse rather than take time-consuming refresher courses,
unless their livelihood depends on it. This reduces the supply of certified
professionals. Anyone with a license they aren't using at the moment is
likely to drop out, especially if the classes are time-consuming, expensive,
or only held at inconvenient times (such as during working hours). If the
classes are unpleasant or useless, so much the better. The people who need
their meal tickets punched will stick, while everyone else will bail.

-- Robert
Robert Plamondon
President, High-Tech Technical Writing
robert -at- plamondon -dot- com
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RE: Certification (was: Re: Hostility Towards Whatever): From: John Posada

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