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May 04, 2012

Finding Fulfillment in Blue Collar Work
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Some say manual labor has become obsolete in today’s world. But one author believes a white collar job may not always be the best choice. Then, how troubled is our foster care system when a majority of kids later turn to crime or go on welfare? An expert says foster children need better attention.
Episode Segments:
InfoTrak: Shop Class As Soulcraft

Matthew Crawford, author of Shop Class As Soulcraft earned a PhD in political philosophy and then got a prestigious job at a Washington, DC think tank. But he quit because he found the white-collar world unfulfilling, and instead opened a motorcycle repair shop. He talked about the ability to make and fix things and its cultural significance, and explained why skilled manual labor cannot become obsolete or be outsourced.
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InfoTrak: Troubling News About the Foster Care System

Mark Courtney, PhD, expert on child welfare issues and policies discussed the disturbing results of his study of America’s foster care system. He found that the vast majority of former foster kids struggle to find housing and jobs, have criminal records and receive public assistance. He talked about the reasons behind these problems and what can be done to improve the nation’s foster care system.
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InfoTrak: Working for the Government

Although the number of government jobs is rapidly expanding, nearly 61 percent of America’s current federal workforce will be eligible to retire by 2016. Debra Friedman, PhD, University Vice President and dean of the College of Public Programs at Arizona State University outlined the potential problems of this “brain drain.” She also explained why the brightest college students tend to choose paths other than government employment. She explained why students should give serious thought to pursuing a career in government.
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Guest(s) Appearing on this Episode
Mark Courtney
Mark Courtney is a a member of the faculty of the University of Washington School of Social Work and Executive Director of Partners for Our Children, a public-private partnership devoted to improving the child welfare system (www.partnersforourchildren.org). His fields of special interest are welfare reform, and child welfare services, such as child protection, foster care, group care, and adoption and professionalization of social work. Professor Courtney's work has followed the outcomes over time of 1,200 families in Milwaukee that applied for public assistance in 1999. The three-wave panel study examined the well-being of parents and children in these families over three years. A second study interviewed 1,500 families that were involved in child welfare services in Milwaukee. A third study involved families in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin, in collaboration with the public child welfare agencies. That study is following 755 youths who will age out of foster care in the participating states. The research team follows the experience of these youths as they make the transition out of state care from age 17 through 21. The youths have been interviewed once, at about the time of their 17th birthday and will be interviewed again at 19 and 21. Professor Courtney's Ph.D. is from the School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley. His dissertation title is "Reunification of Foster Children with Their Families: The Case of California's Children." Most recently, he was associate professor, School of Social Work, at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin. He has written two books: Barth, Courtney, Berrick, and Albert, From child abuse to permanency planning: Child welfare services pathways and placements (Aldine de Gruyter, 1994) and Specht and Courtney, Unfaithful angels: How social work has abandoned its mission (The Free Press, 1994).

Click here to learn more about Mark

Matthew Crawford
Matthew B. Crawford is a philosopher and mechanic. Currently a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia, he owns and operates Shockoe Moto, an independent motorcycle repair shop in Richmond, Virginia.

Click here to visit his website