March 27th, 2008
05:03 PM ET

What does it mean if AT&T is having trouble finding skilled U.S. workers?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/03/27/art.randall.stephenson.gi.jpg caption=" Randall L.Stephenson, Chairman and CEO of AT&T."]

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The top U.S. phone company is having a hard time finding enough skilled American workers.

Say what? Reuters reports AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson says the company is coming up short in finding enough Americans capable of filling the 5,000 customer service jobs it promised to bring back to the U.S. from India.

So far, about 1,400 of those positions have been returned to the U.S. The company set a goal of 5,000 jobs back in 2006 and says it still plans to stick to that target. But they're not having much luck.

Stephenson is particularly worried about the state of education, pointing to some parts of the U.S. where the high school dropout rate is as high as 50%. He says: “If I had a business that half the product we turned out was defective or you couldn't put into the marketplace, I would shut that business down."

The U.S. economy lost 63,000 jobs last month, which was the largest cut in 5 years. And, if the American public isn't educated enough to handle customer service jobs at AT&T and probably thousands and thousands of others with all different kinds of employers, these companies will have little choice but to continue shipping jobs overseas.

Here’s my question to you: What does it suggest about the state of this country when AT&T says it’s having a hard time finding enough skilled American workers?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Mike writes:
As usual, they have left out the other half of the sentence, "We can't find skilled U.S. workers AT THE MEAGER PRICE WE ARE WILLING TO PAY". If these companies would pony up a decent wage, they will find all the U.S. workers they need! Instead they let our country starve to fatten their bottom line.

Amie writes:
I think it means AT&T is not looking hard enough. I am in my twenties and an unemployed American citizen with an education and 5 years of solid management experience and I've been looking for a job for months with no luck. I know several others like me who need to pay our bills. We'd work for AT&T.

Bruce writes:
Jack, I'm a 57-year-old male, whose parents made me sit down and do my homework when I got home from school before I went out to play. They were disappointed in any grade less than a B. They held me back in 3rd grade because I wasn't keeping up. Today I have an MBA and am doing OK. Let's wake up and realize that it's the parents.

Michael writes:
Mr. Cafferty, My son is a college graduate and has a good work record. He is 24 years old and lives in Evansville, Indiana. He applied for a customer service job at the AT&T service center in Evansville. Needless to say, he is well qualified and has yet to get a call from AT&T to go to work. It has been several months since he applied and was interviewed. So AT&T does not have the right to say that they cannot find enough workers in the US.

Tom writes:
They should call me. I have been without a full-time job for the last two years, and I graduated from college in 2005 with a 3.5 GPA average! It’s not that the talent isn't here, they aren't reaching us. Will you give me a job, Jack?

Bill from British Columbia writes:
Jack, It means the writing is on the wall, just nobody can read it.

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (222 Responses)
  1. Terry from Calif

    I find it hard to believe that AT&T cannot find any skilled workers in the United States. I believe they are stating this, so that they can outsource jobs to India in order to secure a cheaper labor force, thereby increasing their profits. It is the American Corporate way of greed!!!

    March 27, 2008 at 2:07 pm |
  2. AFM Archer, Fl.

    I would imagine it is real hard to find skilled American workers in India or China.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  3. Mike from Illinois

    Yeah, if you live in Texas there are jobs. Did you check their website??? Few customer service positions were even listed!!!

    March 27, 2008 at 2:14 pm |
  4. Mike S., New Orleans

    Here's a suggestion for AT&T: Offer more money, you'll get more skill.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  5. Hubert Bertrand

    I think someone is lying. Money makes people crazy, They want to hire cheap labor, and don't care about their own country, If people overseas can learn,so can the americans. I wonder if that is (AMERICAN) CEO's that says that or is it oversea money that is talking

    March 27, 2008 at 2:16 pm |
  6. Josh

    That's its terrible. Because these companies really don't invest a lot of time and money in training people to do the kind of jobs that At&t is having trouble filling. It seems that hiring managers always take the easy and cheap way out of hiring people in this country. Why hire people in this country when you can hire people in Mexico, China and any South American country that get 50 cents an hour, no benefits and could be killed or put in prison for trying to unionize. I say Jack, it's time to get tough on Big Business and discourage hiring people from outside the country. Take away their tax breaks and get out of these stupid free trade agreements made by the Bush Regime.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  7. Bert, Iowa City, IA

    What? You mean they can't run AT&T from India? You're pullin' my leg.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  8. Michael in Lorton, Virginia

    It means that your phone bill is going to increase.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  9. Joleen

    They're not paying enough.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  10. John in San Diego

    Jack, it's an accurate indictment of our educational system which is leaving everyone behind. We spend more per year to house a criminal in prison than we do to educate a child in our schools.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  11. Scott Lenhart

    Hi Jack! Maybe the old teletype ran out of ink! I suspect the complete statement is that AT&T cannot find skilled workers in America who are willing to work 60 hours a week for minimum wage. This is yet another convenient corporate excuse for outsourcing. Shame on AT&T

    Millbrook, NY

    March 27, 2008 at 2:19 pm |
  12. Tom from Boston, Mass.

    It means two things. First, our education system is absolutely failing us. We once produced the best and the brightest. No more. Many of our "tenured" teachers are sub-par, our curriculum is woefully out of date, and our investments in such areas as new technologies for our schools is an embarassment. And you don't have to believe me – look at any number of studies that show that our schools and graduates have been slipping versus other countries for years.

    The second thing it means is that after all the political rhetoric dies down, the fact wil remain that we live in a global economy (and AT&T competes in that economy). Building a wall around our country to keep foreign competition out is economic suicide. Remember the big flap about how Boeing lost the military contract to Airbus? What a joke. I wonder how many of your viewer out there realize that 70% of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner is sourced from overseas?

    March 27, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  13. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    AT&T having trouble finding skilled workers? Rubbish! There are plenty of skilled American workers out there,but AT&T does not want to pay American wages and benefits. What they really want to do is bring in more foreign workers on H-1 visas so they can pay them much lower wages and basically make them indentured servants. This is just another scheme to boost profits and shaft U. S. citizens.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  14. Keith - Twinsburg, OH

    This doesn't suggest so much about the state of our people as it does about business leading the way for our education systems – (NOT). Business & colleges should be working TOGETHER to develop the qualifications of the graduates...

    Business is having difficulty keeping up with technology instead of leading and guiding it... Big business is only concerned about their stock value, how much they can consume in the short-term and no one is looking long-term on anything... - This is why we are always shocked to suddenly look around us to see what has just happened.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:25 pm |
  15. Brad, Amarillo TX.

    It means we have several problems that must be fixed soon. We have outsourced our technology and manufacturing base and we have a generation of students that have "been left behind" At the end of WW2 we were the best and the brightest. We have given all of that up. Now we have a long row to hoe to get things back the way they should be, The world looking to America for the best education and technology. The Republican war on basic science and their failure in education lead the charge. Think about this if we had stayed with the superconducting super collider, we would have the first shot at important new knowledge that could lead to incredible new technology. Instead Europe gets the goods. But we did balance the budget, oh wait...

    March 27, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  16. kb from Iowa

    It means our kids aren't learning what they need in school. This week my 7th grade student came home to report he had colored a picture of the human body in science...didn't have to know the names of the body parts, watched the will smith movie about a homeless man making it big in econ, and wrote a review of a movie for english. Spelling and grammar didn't count...just good ideas. Last week they were sent home early twice so students could go to 'state' in wrestling. Our schools have become baby sitters instead of institutions for learning.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  17. Howard

    That the American school system sucks and has sucked for over 20 years it time to bring back apprenticeships so kids can pick up skill that will allow them to succeed in life. So the United States is not called rich but stupid.

    Josha Tree

    March 27, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  18. tim from Ravenna, OH

    Not enough skilled workers is corporate code for "not enough skilled workers we are willing to pay for." It is a load of manure. AT&T just wants to cut labor cost, period. Right along with Microsoft and other large tech companies. I work in the tech industry and companies have been pushing to scale down wages for more than a few years now. I can't tell you how many technically skilled people I know that have gotten out of the business because companies are paying H1 visa holders 6 or 7 dollars an hour. They simply want to bring in indentured servants so they can dignify their huge salaries to stockholders.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  19. Terry in Hanover, VA

    (1) They need to set up training centers in rural and underserved areas of our country, similar to the old Vo-Tech schools, so that folks, regardless of age, can learn the skills AT&T needs; (2) hire people at a competitive, living wage with benefits; (3) stop padding the CEOs purse while dumping hourly and lower-paid career employees when times get tough. AT&T would have less trouble attaining and retaining loyal employees if it treated them with the same respect as it did its top brass; and (4) start hiring older workers, like myself (50+). We're a loyal group who'll work hard, show up on time, and do the job to the best of our abilities, but few employers seem to value those qualities nowadays.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  20. Heather from Vermont

    They aren't paying enough to make it attractive for people to apply for the job to begin with. All these large technology based companies are keeping wages low in order to keep there bottom dollar up. If they build it, (wages up) they will come. People need to be able to provide for their families and survive in this country. What these companies are paying today doesn't cut it.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  21. Harry

    They're getting ready to outsource a lot of jobs.

    It's all part of the corporate profit picture. Increase profits by reducing costs. Labor is a cost, so reduce it. If Americans are unwilling to do these menial jobs (Translation: menial pay), then get Mexicans to do it, or just ship the jobs overseas.

    All I ask is that change their name to something other than AMERICAN Telephone and Telegraph.

    How about Unamerican .T.& T.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  22. Philip Murphy

    Jack – It means that they get a better deal by hiring H-1B visa people, because as one person told me, you basically own them.

    I was running a Hospice Agency and was looking for Nurses. An attorney for a company that brings in foreign nurses told me how easy it was to get the nurse of my choice. It felt slimy, and slightly like prostitution.

    We have great nurses here, and we have great people to fill the jobs that AT&T wants. Its always easier to fire the older worker and get ones that will end up "owing you", as the attorney put it. There is a ton of money to be made, basically stealing the nurses, doctors, scientists, etc... from other countries, than to do any retraining here, or God help us, hire a few older workers that have expertise and a good track record. And maybe some of these older workers could keep their homes as well.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  23. Brian

    I think it suggests that this country accommodates ridiculous excuses for not hiring American workers. Sure our education isn't the best in the world, but if Dell can build computers and host tech support in third-world countries, AT&T can find Americans with the chops to do whatever jobs they need.


    March 27, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  24. Patricia

    AT&T is now competing with the cable companies, who are paying more for workers to lay cable & phone & internet lines. However, AT&T should find plenty of un-skilled labor & train them. Ofcourse we are turning out good college grads, who have trained themselves for the better IP jobs & they don't want to work those basic entry jobs.
    Funny part of this is those un-skilled jobs pay almost the same as the college trained IP jobs pay.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  25. naknudson

    That is a huge lie they just aren't looking is the real reason. As with other huge corporations such as Microsoft and others out there they want the cheapest labor possible and don't want to pay a living wage or offer benefits Americans can actually live on and something needs to change. We need to elect a president that will not permit this outrageous behavior to continue.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  26. Jay

    They lie. They use that as a cover to ship our jobs to India, etc. where labor is cheaper.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  27. barbara Actisdano

    I cannot beleive it has gotten this bad as there are people out there in this Country who want to work and cannot find jobs. This Country is in a ression right now and the average Joe on the street knows it and this President sits on his butt and does nothing to help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am surprised the people have not taken to the streets and protested about all the THINGS GONE WRONG IN THIS COUNTRY! The Gas Prices alone is the worst thing that has ever happen.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  28. john up north

    AT&T does not have trouble finding skilled workers. AT&T is having trouble finding cheap skilled workers! Education and skills has a price in America and if you don't want to pay somebody else would. We are not in India where skilled workers accept to works for peanuts.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  29. James in Cape Coral, FL

    I think I understand how big american coporations conduct buisness and if I'm right it probably means they haven't even looked in America for workers. And why should they when they can save a few bucks and easily get lower paid foreign workers to do the same job. Just like Bill Gates complaining to congress that they need more H1B visa's to get enough workers. It doesn't have to be true, it just has to make their bottom line get bigger. Record profit's for everyone and don't worry about the bill, it's on me!

    March 27, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  30. Rosalynd

    It means that in the 1990s they cheered the do nothing MBAs idea of layoffs and shipping jobs overseas and got more than they bargained for. Now they want experienced workers on the cheap. Sorry AT&T but if you want good skilled employees in America you can find them you just have to pay a decent wage for the services of these fine Americans. And by the way don't give us that need for an increase in the H1-B visas stuff , we aint buying it.

    Orlando Florida

    March 27, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  31. Tom, Avon, Maine, The Heart of Democracy

    It means that AT &T's training programs aren't very good.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  32. Chris Swansea, MA

    ...People will tell you it means we have an education system problem but, it more than likely means they are not offering a compensation package that qualified Americans are willing to work for. Don't worry though Jack spineless poloticians will give more H-1 visas so they won't have to offer adecent wage...

    March 27, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  33. Andy

    Is it that ATT can't find workers in the US or that US workers won't accept the pay and benefits that ATT is willing to pay? If ATT is trying to pay as little as it pays Indian workers, I can understand why applicants aren't lining up to work for ATT.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  34. R. Lopez in South TX

    Junior colleges all over America train skilled workers specifically for companies also all over America. Advertise the training courses with the starting pay that is decent and people will come. Companies without trained employees need to get themselves to junior colleges and train people.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  35. Mark in Kalamazoo Michigan


    The US has plummeted in the world rankings when it comes to math and science. John McCain told us here in Michigan that "those jobs aren't coming back." How did we respond to his honesty? We voted for the guy who promised to bring back manufacturing jobs. Guess what? That guy ain't in the race anymore.

    Rather than waiting for a handout from the government, or some factory to miraculously set up shop in your town, the people of this country need to realize that we have to reinvent ourselves. Like it or not, manufacturing and assembly is now a 3rd world country gig.

    That means we are the ones who are responsible for finding a way, no matter how inconvenient, of getting a new skill that will put food on the table in the 21st Century.

    Wake up people! Change and prosperity comes from the ground up-not the top down.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  36. Ruby Coria, LA. CA.

    Jack, the suggesting is that "Americans are Dumb", and the education system is worst then we thought, but I really want to know what's the catch to it? They want to hire who? from where? humm. sounds fishy.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  37. Ron Richmond, VA

    It suggests the state of our country is in real trouble! if we can't even make our own passports, how can we truly protect ourselves. It all centers around ,"MONEY"! We all want to make money, need to make money to live. But wages are down and CEO Bonuses are high even if they failed? The Banks are corrupt, Brokerage houses corrupt, and colleges spend big bucks on sports and then charge the students learning a real occupation to much! Athletes get everything paid for and usually get a degree in basket weaving so they can be an anchor on ESPN when they blow a knee out. Our priorities in this country are GREED! And when the light of that economic planet killing asteroid Glen Beck talks about, gets so bright in the sky we can't ignore it anymore, there will be dark times in this US of A. I really try to keep off the religious stuff because of the fanatics in the middle east, but John talks about the price of a grain of wheat in Revelations and buddy the future isn't very bright at all right now for us.
    And you guys want a rookie in the White House? do you want to know why CBS "REALLY" cancelled Jericho?

    March 27, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  38. Terry from North Carolina

    Very simple AT&T aint looking hard enough. Take a lllok at the number of students that graduate from top colleges in the country . Are you telling me they all have jobs ? I dont think so. AT&T has too spend a little more time and money on recruiting.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  39. Vinnie Vino

    This isn't a third world country, the high skilled workers are out there. AT&T is having a problem locating them because they are not looking for them or they do not want to pay them full value...

    C.I., New York

    March 27, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  40. Ben

    This shows me that our govt. is not investing in it's people through proper funding for education and the price of continueing education is way to expensive for most folks.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  41. Paul

    Hello Jack,
    Maybe what it really means is that they're having a hard time finding skilled American workers that are willing to work for unskilled wages or they're using that excuse to justify outsourcing jobs to cheaper markets. Just a little something I learned from watching Lou Dobbs.
    Dacula, GA

    March 27, 2008 at 2:42 pm |


    March 27, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  43. Velle In Halifax

    I suspect two things, Jack. One is that AT&T looked in the Internation Bargain Basement want ads for personel because American workers actually have to live here and need salaries commensurate with the cost of living. Two, is that our education system is and has failed miserably. Obama is right about NASA. Put them into a "planning" mode for a few years and use the money to start a new generation of scholars before we have to import teachers to teach our i-pod listening, text-messaging little geniuses.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  44. Dean

    Jack, It suggests to me that America is no longer focusing it's attention on the American people ! She is far too busy "globalizing" herself. Why spend time,resources,money and effort on our own population, when we can spend it some place else more diserving than at home? After all Jack we"ve become a slave to "globalization." Who wants a smart, self supporting, independant slave anyhow?

    March 27, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  45. Kevin- Webster, MA

    it is time they press 2 and get some Hispanic workers.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  46. Jyothi, Mckinney, TX

    Yes, They should back the candidates with most delegates. That is the whole purpose of having delegates concept.Superdelegates are supposed to support the party and make it stronger versus the opposite party. They need to bypass all their personal preferances and go with whoever wins the most delegates.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  47. Edward (Staten Island, N.Y)

    Hey Jack
    It is not that they are having a hard time finding any skill workers, it is that they do not want to pay for the skill price, supply health Insurance or pensions that comes with a job here in this country. That's the reason Jack.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  48. Nuwan Sam

    American people have yet to realize that world is becoming flat and unless they become competitive they would loose the position they comfortably held last century. Internet has revolutionized the information flow and the global competition. Americans need to focus on their education and the governement need to assist people in that process. Not only AT&T, but many other technology companies are saying the same.

    Nuwan from Houston, TX

    March 27, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  49. Tim Elms

    It's a lie. AT&T is, as many companies are, pushing for more foreign worker visas. Foreign workers are paid less and since their continued residence depends on the company that sponsored them, complain less. It's legal slavery and should not be allowed. No foreign worker visa should be approved by State unless the company can prove no one with the required expertise exists within the US labor pool. Burden of proof on the company.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  50. Weldon from Canada

    Maybe it is time to allow some of the Chinese immigrants to come to the USA and share some of the technology that this country has transferred to overseas.

    The time is rapidly approaching where most of the skilled fields of employment are being sent to foreign countries for the sake of the profits to be made by many of the National Businesses.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  51. Bill Ruch

    It means that AT&T is not looking hard enough. They are looking for cheap workers from overseas. Many good American people are out there with the abilities that this corporation needs, but they ask for a living wage.
    Lehighton, PA

    March 27, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  52. stetson New York

    Dear Jack : I think you, Myself ,and the american public share the same digust for these companies At&t, Bill gates (apple) the governm enent (passports). I mean with all the money they get from us for there terrible business and service you would thing they wouldnt have the nerve to try a stunt like this but i guess i was wrong. Then again maybe outsource is the new hott thing to do in the 21 century. if your not out sourcing your not cool. What ever happened to just good old training

    March 27, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  53. Amy_Michigan

    It means they are not looking hard enough! There are plenty of qualifed unemployed people right here in Michigan. As with everyone else they are looking to cut costs and ship jobs overseas!

    March 27, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  54. Liz

    It's not the shortage of skilled workers but the shortage of wages AT & T won't pay American workers.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  55. Bob from Traverse city Michigan

    It suggests to me that educating an entire generation of children with the attitude their self-esteem is to fragile for us to demand any standards that would measure success or failure was wrong. It suggests to me that giving kids drugs and alphabetized excuses like ADD or ADHD instead of discipline for bad behavior or laziness was wrong. Last but not least it was wrong for the republicans to declare war on and destroy the american labor movement. The old unions knew that the only way they could demand top wages and benefits was by supplying the very best skilled tradesmen in the country. Their training programs then were funded in part by the Federal Department of Health Education and Welfare and the tradesmen they produced were the very best. We can fix this if we look at what used to work in this country back then.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  56. beartrack Truckee,CA

    It's the education system that has failed to teach and train the folks that should have bee able to take those jobs. It is also AT&T that won't pay a wage anyone can live on. It is the corporate greed in this country that contributes to the situation.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  57. Joe in DE

    ATT has been losing ground for years, maybe that is why they can't attrack skilled workers. Or maybe they read he book, "how to fail at Recryiting Without Really Trying".

    March 27, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  58. Terry / Austin, Tx

    Maybe they should go to the states with high unemployment. After all, people without jobs cannot relocate. If AT&T cannnot figure that out, they need to go out of business.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  59. Brian, Cincinnati

    What it does is reinforce the glaring problem we have with our education system in the US. Here in Cincinnati we have many schools that are nearly a hundred years old. We are doing what we can but there simply is enough money to maintain proper school buildings, with good teachers, and full curriculums.

    The new elementary school being built near my house is going to cost us $15 million. If Congress had taken that $168 billion stimulus package and put it towards construction of new schools. We could have paid for 11,200 new schools. That would be enough to replace nearly every school in the states of New York , Ohio, and Florida. To look at it another way,11,200 new schools would be enough replace 1 in every 10 schools across the entire country.

    Not only would this vastly improve the education system in this country for decades to come, but the thousands upon thousands of jobs created in building all those schools would have had a far greater impact on the economy than the checks that are being sent out. But why would we expect anything less than yet another lost opportunity from the current President.

    Brian, Cincinnati

    March 27, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  60. Sam of Miami, Florida

    It suggests that Bush has sold out our country to China, India, Pakistan, just to mention a few.
    When a president wasted close to $600 billion in a war of his choice and not of necessity, how can there been enough skilled US workers to get trained and advance their skills to benefit our country?
    This is sad, and that is why we are slowly losing the Superpower position.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  61. stetson New York

    Dear jack :
    I have a great idea for those who's crying because of the fact that they cant get employment because these companys see fit to outsource our job because they cant find qualified people to work. How about the illegally migrate to india to work that way they can send the money back to the Us economy. I say if u cant beat them join them

    March 27, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  62. Armstrong - Sacramento


    Don't believe everything you hear. AT&T isn't having a hard time finding capable Americans to fill those jobs. Aren't they suppose to be the ones that are "raising the bar?" They are simply doing what's best for the company and not America. Finally, if paying Americans healthcare benefits is too costly, well, he could always give up a little of that CEO pay. Hey, show some good customer service and send me a copy of your book!

    March 27, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  63. Rex in Portland, Ore.

    I don't know what it means, but I do know from personal experience that AT&T workers are as unskilled as any I've met. Particularly in the customer "service" department. In that it is tlypical of American corporations. AT&T has changed its directorship, ownership, purpose, and scope so often that all that is left of it is its name. It is a disgrace to America and does a disservice to any and every one that uses it. AT&T is the epitome of gouging, overpriceing, underserving, and rudeness.

    If they, or any other American corporation, cannot make do with local labor they should move to India, Or better yet, just quit.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  64. IFEANYI AZUBIKE Houston, Texas

    Jack it suggests that the American worker is mobile and did not just fold their hands depending on the whims of AT &T and the rest of the low wage seeking corporations. We simply retrained and moved on to other jobs. Secondly, it may be due to lack of trust in Big business that if they can ship our jobs out, they may still do it again. It also shows that people are not training here for jobs that exist only in India and other Asian countries. And Lastly it shows that perhaps the effects of the economy is even more dire than we acknowledge because children are perhaps leaving school too early to help parents with bills.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  65. Ralph from NY

    Jack, we are in a sorry state when citizens of our country have not been trained for so many positions. This suggests we should devote more money not in ventures overseas, but at home providing proper education. It reminds me of the recent news that passports have to be made outside the US because we don't have the ability to do it here. We should make a greater effort to provide education to our own; perhaps if more citizens were able to find jobs and work, our economy would be better off

    March 27, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  66. Scott, Montana

    What is At&T offering as compensation for these jobs? Are there benefits? Or are they looking to pay rates comparable to what they were paying in India? Are they just looking to fill these positions with people with high school degrees? These jobs were outsourced for a reason: so AT&T could save money and increase the profits. If they think Americans are going to be willing to work for Third World wages, then I think they can start at the top with the CEO and pay him a Third World wage. Lead by example.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  67. Margaruite, Fl.

    Well Jack, it means that they are not trying hard enough to find Americans to fill the jobs, Or it means they can't find Americans who will work for what they are being offered. Or it means that because we are so busy teaching our kids how to put a condom on a banana and to teach foreign languages instead of English to our kids our Country is getting its due from the Educational system it embraces. Don't you just know the teachers union will want a raise to start teaching math, science and correct english to our kids.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  68. elmogg

    Means that AT&T is not investing enough in education for one. The execs are probably basking in tax cuts. We know what to do with those that can't take a joke. But really, the issue is planning for growth; neither Congress nor the Executive (it seems high faluting for that crowd) seem to know what that means.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  69. kay

    There are plenty of workers for those jobs but companies like AT&T don't want to pay fair wages.Ceo's are to busy filling their packets.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  70. Ern

    I doubt it has much to do with the ability to find skilled American workers and more to do with thier ability to find skilled American workers willing to take the low pay they want to pay
    What incentive do these companies have to look hard for or train skilled workers? None! It's easier and cheaper to cry about the lack of available workers and seek to import workers from out of country.
    Ern in Turlock, Ca.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:12 pm |
  71. Steve

    They're not paying enough. Skilled workers can always be found for a price.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:12 pm |
  72. Len Larsen of Colfax, Wisconsin

    First, it means that we need a new vision regarding our educational systems from the k-12, technical schools, undergraduate and graduate levels since the current educational system is not meeting the needs of the nation..

    Second, it means that we need new visions from and about those in the educational pipeline. At the current time, it is often difficult to find individuals (especially females) interested in mathematics, technology and sciences. The skills AT&T would need are those coming mostly out of these areas and we are not adequately providing them.

    Third, it means that we need to find ways of changing the reward systems from people desiring to work in the business / financial areas to people desiring to work in the science and technology skill areas. Our reward systems do not adequately compensate those with the skills needed by industries such as AT&T. People will attempt to go into fields where the rewards are greater.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:12 pm |
  73. Mike Thomas

    Jack-To me it means that the US has misguided priorities in that we don't place a value in the proposal of "an honest day's work for an honest day's pay'. What happened to the day when a single wage earner was able to provide for a family of four (two parents and two kids)? This is the "family value" that has been overlooked in the debate. AT&T needs to set-up an apprenticeship program, offer a living wage with health care and job security, and offer a sound retirement plan. Let's bring back the 1950's (without all the bad stuff). Mike Thomas, Tulsa, Oklahoma

    March 27, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  74. Eugene in Northern California

    Jack, it say's AT&T is telling a big fat lie, to justify the outsourcing, of more American jobs. Does AT&T actually think we're dumb enough, to believe that American's don't possess simple phone skills. Listen to my kid, on the phone Jack. She be havin' skills baby.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  75. Karen P

    AT&T is full of "you know what". All they have to do is on the job training for their customer service....that's not something that's taught in high schools and the pay isn't enough to warrant college degree.

    AT&T is just covering up that they'd rather pay $1.00 and hour.

    Exactly how much salary and perks are the CEOs making? If they can't handle our workforce and liveable wages, maybe they should give up their cushy salaries for doing a poor job...just like the mortgage company CEOs.

    The problems with our corporations isn't at the bottom...it's at the top!

    March 27, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  76. S, Michigan

    It means we are not developing enough skilled workers- what's so hard to understand? When will we wake up and learn that people in these so called 3rd world countries work hard to qualify to take our jobs- why don't we do the same, instead of whining and complaining. There is a reason why china graduates almost 600K engineers/yr, India graduates almost 350K engineers/yr (some reports say USA produces 70K engineers/yr!!- go figure!)- the govt/culture/society are laser-focused on education of kids. Our political leaders play roulette with our kids education! Jack, CNN's own Miles O'Brien did a report in 2007 on this- does he know you don't pay attention to his reports?

    March 27, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  77. Sharon from Illinois

    Doesn't this say something about our children's education, the qualtiy of teachers etc. if large corporations can't find qualified workers. Or maybe, just maybe, AT&T has more demands on their workers and less benefits. They can't find anyone to work for minimum wages and do the job they expect them to do.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  78. John ,Naples FL

    ATT is full of crap! Let's talk about the real issue here Wages Of the 300 million people in the US 5% are unimployed that's 15 million people looking for work and ATT can't find 5000 to answer the phone I think this moron has been talking to Bill Gates

    March 27, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  79. Ann South Carolina

    One only has to read the comments of the bloggers on this site to see how our educational system has failed. Many, but not all, of those who comment do not spell correctly, do not construct or punctuate a sentence correctly and do not use proper grammar. They cannot distinguish between fact and opinion, and have never heard of the concept of perception.

    It is no surprise that AT&T cannot find skilled workers. We (I am a retired teacher) have failed to educate the young. Don't get me started on why!

    March 27, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  80. Diane, Barneveld, NY

    Amazing. We've gone from "over-qualified" to "under-qualified". Just like our elected officals and the CEOs of all these companies. They are either "over-qualified" or "under-qualified", but we're still stuck with them. Maybe we could "out-source" some of those jobs, too.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  81. Nora. South Texas

    AT&T is lying they can hire overseas and save tons of money. How hard can it be to hire people who are rude, cannot speak english and can barely comprehend what you are saying to them. They would have you think Americans are too dumb to handle a job with their company, when they know darn well what they are doing.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  82. Dennis G form FL

    American companies should start pumping money into educating a work force that suits them instead of pumping money into pockets of politicians who pass laws that suit them. We may be to cool for school but we're not stupid, this question barely scratches the surface of what greed in capitalism has done to every institution in this country. We're all in the same boat sooner or later we're going to have to work together. Perhaps that is why the leading political regimes are recieving such negative ratings, who is it that can't see the forrest through all the tree's?

    March 27, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  83. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    This is a direct reflection of Americans wanting more and giving less. Kids today are given too much by their parents so people can use the excuse that both parents must work to satisfy their greed or "Keep up with the Jones's". They are spoiled rotten in many cases. When we were growing up, we were told that if we wanted to have anything in life we needed to get a job and an education, so at 16 I got my first job and was paid 55 cents per hour, and finally went to college after 4 years in the military. This is a cancer that is affecting all major companies and will get worse before it gets better.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  84. Paulette Dallas,PA

    I do not believe that AT&T cannot find American workers to fill their customer service jobs. Sure the whole education system needs revamping but there are enough unemployed American people with college degrees that need the money and also some older workers that are not ready for retirement(or can't yet) that need these jobs. AT&T can't tell me that they can't hold a training program for our own people. Come on! They sure trained young Indians who will work cheap and treat American customers condescendingly and are outright rude to us. A little note to AT&T – these foreign customer service people are difficult to understand because of the language difference. Put an American on the line! I want to communicate clearly with no language barrier. Whatever happened to "Charity begins at Home!"

    March 27, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  85. Bert

    Dear Jack:
    It simply means, they are not paying enough!!!

    March 27, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  86. J. Onofre - CA

    At&t is adamantly keeping jobs outside the U.S. It does not appear that At&t is making an honest attempt to hire within the states.

    Why would they? They pay substantially less and raise more profits outsourcing.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  87. Leevaughn Brown

    hey Jack
    It says that Randell Stephenson is a big fat liar. He can't find 5000 people to push a button and say "Thank You choosing AT&T"

    What a load of crap!

    He like the Bush/Cheney gang believe that Americans will shallow any line that they throw out there.

    63,000 people out of work, and AT&T can't reach out and touch someone?
    cinti, oh

    March 27, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  88. RLD

    If you speak and understand english you don't qualify.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  89. Melanie, Lake Wales, FL

    It means the educational system is not as strict as in France. I am a German-American, and was educated in France, and I see kids in 8th grade learn stuff I was taught in 6th grade. This country has failed it's students and it's doing nothing to help them either.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  90. Lyon

    Jack, it means that you and some other highly visible voices in the media are being quite successful in swaying the American public. However, I like you because at least you are not subtle and sinister about it. I have nothing against Obama and will eagerly cast my vote for him if he gets the nomination, yet Hillary has far better experience. Why does CNN always seem to have a panel which is made up 2 to 1 of Obama supporters, when discussing the two?

    Nashville, Tn

    March 27, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  91. James P. from Washington State

    Just ask all the telecom workers that have been laid off over the last 20 years.

    Those that worked for all telecoms dreaded October each year when they would announce all the cut backs. 100's of thousands were let go and they want to trust the new reorganized telecoms that there are jobs out there???

    March 27, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  92. LKK

    It means they are not looking very hard. This is the craziest things I've heard? Are we sure CNN isn't making this up?

    March 27, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  93. Tin,easound,wa

    Jack ,Thanks to clintons since they are AUTHOR free trade ....

    March 27, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  94. Oraymw, Rexburg Idaho

    Jack, this just shows that the only way to reform our country is through education. Economy problems? Maybe it is because we are all too stupid to keep our economy going. Iraq War? Maybe if we weren't all so stupid, we would have understood the situation a little better, and public opinion wouldn't have backed the war. Health Care? Maybe we should produce doctors that are smart enough not to need millions in mal-pracitice insurance, where the cost just gets passed on to us. Americans are stupid. Having lived abroad, I can see how incredibly dumb we are. Maybe we should do something about it now.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  95. Mary Whartnaby -California

    The CEO of AT&T is saying that he cannot fill approximately 1400 positions from American people. What kind of craziness is this? Just an excuse to outsource jobs that will result in cheaper labor?Disgusting!!!
    What is this country coming to – everything is being outsourced and it won't be long before we are no longer America!

    March 27, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  96. Oshun from Texas

    Jack – One executive says that Americans have no work ethic, cannot pass the 2 or 3 tests they give and then cannot pass a credit check or a background check. Hmmmm...I wonder if the citizens of India and Mexico can pass an American credit check or background check...hmmm, do you think their FICO is 760 or 210? Oh, our checks are probably not International huh? It's not the cheap labor, no sick days, no vacation days, no severance package, no automatic overtime, no workers compensation.
    Gee, it wouldn't be so bad if they would re-train those workers that lost their jobs. It's not that they send the jobs overseas, it's that they also turn their backs on the people that worked hard on those jobs for decades. The least these big companies could do is invest heavily in re-training these people for jobs that are still in America. But they give them 2 months severance package and help writing a resume! Hogwash!!!!!

    March 27, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  97. MadPlato

    It suggests that the state of the country is in a perilous state of decline. Hmmm...doesn't this sound familiar? Does the Roman Empire ring a bell here? Instead of educating our children to be wizards and engineers, we train them to be skilled killers. America the beautiful has become America the ugly because we have betrayed the ideals of our founders. Thanks for nothing Dick Cheney and George W. Bush! It is no big surprise, then, that other nations who care more about their country's welfare have much better trained and skilled workers.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  98. Mary - Santee CA

    Oh PLEASE! They do not want to hire American Citizens as they would have to pay a living wage. All they have to do is go to any college campus and advertise or recruit, pay a decent wage, and focus on the ability of these entry-level employees for advancement. I agree there is a problem with education in this country, especially with the the low quality of teachers and the disruption in the classrooms (as my 12 grader grandson is experiencing), Until the teachers union understands the retention of "poor quality" teachers is one of the main reasons children are discouraged and are failing. Until the union's grip on the education of our children, this will not end soon. (one good thing about hiring American Citizens is they speak English and can be understood – perhaps this is another reason to hire foreigners, some people just give up since they cannot get their problems resolved because poor quality of English spoken)

    March 27, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  99. Amnesty is Treason

    it means after all these years of corruption are paying off for corporate america as they can now import skilled people at half the salary an american should be paid!

    March 27, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  100. Tara Texas

    That is hard to say. What are AT&T's job requirements. Are they entry level positions that require a high school education or college. A person with a high school degree is not likely to go to work for a company where they make 8 dollars an hour kneeling in fire ants all day repairing severed phone lines. Maybe AT$T needs to rethink their hiring practices and employ retention program. Below are their test criteria. They don't say what they pay by the way. No starting wage scale either.
    AT&T uses various testing methodologies to ensure candidates are selected who have the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to perform the essential functions of the job. Selection screens may consist of multiple choice tests, performance tests, interviews, and/or role play assessments.

    It is AT&T's policy that all selection practices meet federal government regulations and professional standards for development.

    If you are being considered for a job within AT&T, you will be informed of what selection screens are required for that job. Each screen has a study guide associated with it. Study guides describe the selection screen and provide information (TIPs) that may help candidates perform well.

    To access an alphabetical list of the study guides and begin preparing for a career at AT&T, click on the link below.

    Test Study Guides

    March 27, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  101. Ralph

    It means that in 1969 the Supreme Court ruled that education could not be used as a hiring criteria unless it could be clearly shown such education was required to perform the job. As a result work experience replaced education for hiring purposes resulting in fewer young people going to college and lower productivity and declining overall living standards. We have nobody to blame but ourselves. Rick, Yakima, Wa.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  102. Dan, Washington DC

    This means 2 things:

    1. No child left behind isn't working (who didn't see that coming?)
    2. They're not looking hard enough

    I suspect this is some kind of faux effort to find employees so that they can justify moving all the jobs back to India.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  103. wally rehmann in las Vegas

    thats just an excuse so they can hire more people in far lands cheaper wages, cant understand them, then they dont have to fix your problem. i bet bush and dick own stock in them.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  104. chuck cornett

    Jack. this tells me that all the people that was working for At&t has gone on to other companys or even changed their occupation to support their families, why should they wait around to be backstabbed again by this company who outsourced their jobs to begin with.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  105. Michael C Wolski

    All AT&T wants is the cheap labor in India. If they would pay Americans a decent wage , they wouldn't be able to process all the applications they would get. In Illinois,they only wanted to pay 12.00/hr for an electronics technician, it was advertised on the internet.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  106. Rob G from Canada.

    Maybe it's because no one in America will answer their calls because they think it's a telemarketer.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  107. James S. Lenon - TN

    Even though our schools have quit teaching grammar, spelling, math, science, and history in favor of self esteem and politically correct multi-culturism; those graduates should be able to answer a phone as sub-contracter customer service reps. How hard is it to place someone on hold while texting your friends and endangering fellow drivers?

    March 27, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  108. Roland, Atlanta

    It means that AT&T is not trying hard enough. Out of 300 million + people, they can't find enough skilled workers? Really?

    March 27, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  109. Jon Olson, Austin, TX

    I think it says that the younger generations we have in this country have little to no customer service skills. Jack, I'm 33, living in a college town, and all the college kids know how to say is the word 'like'. Could you imagine them answering a customer service call: "Like hi, like how may I like help you today? Like whoa, that sounds like messed up." Younger generations are so consumed by facebook, myspace, and youtube that they are not learning how to have an articulate conversation which is what businesses desire.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  110. Ron Kepics


    This isn't India. People in America don't work for FREE!! They need to pay a wage American people could live on..

    Ron K San Diego

    March 27, 2008 at 3:36 pm |
  111. Nina

    It means that the AT&T company has their work cut out for them. It is called investing in america. Create on the job training, pay a portion of college tuition for college minded employees. Try to recruit students in high school the same way the military does. Just stop with the lame excuses.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  112. Greg from Mechanicsburg, PA

    It irks the hell out of me that AT&T, Microsoft and so many other big businesses are so willing to take jobs away from American workers only to fill them with cheap foreign workers just to save a few bucks. Instead of complaining about the so-called lack of qualified workers and bad mouthing our educational system these companies need to step up and invest in America instead of crippling our economy. They need to provide incentives to college students by providing grant money and scholarships. They need to work with colleges and universities and help them structure their curriculum. They need to work with school districts nationwide to help ensure that classrooms have enough books and supplies and that there are enough well paid teachers to provide an adequate education.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  113. Joan

    Jack – Have they tried advertising?
    Joan North Carolina

    March 27, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  114. Grog

    I am a certified IT worker that can't get arrested in the US. I see jobs listed with rediculous requirements ie: BS Degree & MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) to do Deskside support. They want a Bachelor of Science degree and a Systems Engineer certificate to change keyboards and mice! These type of workers design enterprise LAN's according to Mr. H1-B Bill Gates. I think with a resonable expectation of work after school, American kids would take the classes and excell. I told my kids to skip IT/Computers go for Health Care and Food service. Unless you move to India, you won't be able to use an IT Degree.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  115. William, Oklahoma

    The polls are extremely accurate (sarcasm). They really predicted the outcome of the New Hampshire primary. I believe a week ago Obama was down by 6 points and now he is up by 2. I guess polls are fluid.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  116. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    It means AT&T along with many other companies that have taken jobs to foreign countries because their CEOs don't want to lose their Golden Parachutes which may be investigated by the Federal Government. Additionally, some foreign countries don't have taxes.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  117. Joe C. from Minneapolis

    That is a load of bull. I don't think any sane person can believe that when we hear everyday about people being laid off from much more technical and skilled position than customer service. AT&T must think, "Well, if completely illegitimate complaints and lies have worked for the last two U.S. Presidencies. . ."

    March 27, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  118. Will K. San Jose, CA

    The US is moving from a manufacturing economy to a high tech service and knowledge economy. The manufacturing jobs that were lost aren't coming back no matter what the various candidates promise.

    There are ever increasing demands for math and science skills. Yet according to the National Center for Education Statistics, Computer Science and Engineering degrees only account for 9% of all degrees conferred each year.

    Do we really think only 9% of work in the future will be computer or engineering related?

    March 27, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  119. Mike - Sammamish, WA

    This a myth that I face in my line of business also. Corporations claim they cannot find skilled workers domestically as justification to outsource. The truth is that they cannot hire PhD's in the US for $5/hr.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  120. Leo

    Why can't ATT train new people in this country as they do in India? Are Indians smarter than Americans? Or is it that the quality of applicants in the US is low because quality applicants don't want to work for the same wages as their peers overseas?

    We cannot forget that big business needs to generate huge sums of money to pay for all the bonuses and extravagent wages for their upper management. There are three ways to get that income, increase business, raise prices or pay lower wages to those on the low end of the corporate structure. The easiest solution is lower wages. The other two are hard work to quote the man occupying the Oval Office.

    March 27, 2008 at 4:36 pm |
  121. michael

    Jack , it's just a lame excuse to hire cheap labor from foreign countries.

    Go get them Lou Dobbs !

    March 27, 2008 at 4:36 pm |
  122. Liz from California

    I have family members that used to work for AT&T and have since moved to other companies. There are plenty of skilled workers for them to choose from. You can have ALL of the skills they require for the position but if you do not have a degree they won't even let you in the door. They would rather have an employee with no experience and a degree than someone with 10 years experience. Why doesn't someone ask AT&T what these positions require and what the starting salaries are?? The answer to that would clear up any other questions one may have about good old AT&T.

    March 27, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  123. marilyn

    it means they would rather go out of country and train to avoid paying Social security and payroll taxes over the years which would amount to millions of dollars

    it's not about finding qualified people – they just think we are all stupid

    Halliburton is exempt from paying $100 million in workers's taxes by setting up the "dummy" office in the Cayman Islands

    March 27, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  124. Ted

    It means they are not offering enough money and benefits. Period.

    March 27, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  125. Joy Paquin

    ATT can find skilled workers, they just don't want to pay them! Corp. America doesn't give a darn about keeping American workers employed, they look only for the most profit, bringing workers from other countries. Screw ATT and the rest of Corp. America. Look at what they've done to us and to our country.

    March 27, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  126. Joe C PA

    Jack, our President makes the same excuse for his favorit saving "Doing the jobs American workers won't do". American workers are loosing their skill because corporate elites continue to decrease training budgets for 15% pay increases and Holiday payouts for Upper Management. It is all about greed. Welcome to the end of our country.

    March 27, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  127. Richard Sternagel

    Jack, my wife was one of many thousands who lost their jobs in the 90's when AT&T decided to down size the Corporation's employees! All of this happening while the CEO received a bonus of 14 million! So what does it mean? It means Corporate Greed has come 180 degrees to bite them in the A##! It also means that AT&T will Not pay an honest wage to employees while Corporate CEO profits go through the roof!

    March 27, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  128. Cynthia, Everson PA

    I have been on a job search for six months...I have yet to see a listing from AT&T.....wait a minute...are you telling me they are hiring? WOW! I wonder if they pay more than Wal-Mart.

    March 27, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  129. Bruce St Paul MN

    It suggests a cultural problem that goes back for some time. We have not placed a high value on education or educators. We say we want a good education for our children , yet it is not popular to provide the funding to do it. Culturally, it is not cool to be smart, or to get good grades. In the 2000 election, one candidate was ridiculed for being intellectual, while the one who seemed really dumb made us feel comfortable. Somehow, the dumb guy became president..

    March 27, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  130. johnson

    I've worked at AT&T (SBC) before and was treated really bad. Don't get hired as a consultant they really treat you worst than a step child. tha'ts the real reason why they can't find GOOD people to stay.

    March 27, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  131. Doug Pierson Tohatchi, NM

    You get what you pay for. If they want to pay minimum wages they get minimum skills. Duh.

    March 27, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  132. Brian, Buffalo, NY

    Simple answer. Companies like T&T should take more responsibility for sponsoring training programs. Almost every company that I have worked for in the past 45 years has made commitments to training, either in-house or through time release for sponsored classes. It makes no sense for any large company to rely on finding the best job candidates already trained for the job. A bit like finding an experienced President who has never been a President before. On the job training cannot be beat.

    March 27, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  133. Mona

    We've been spending time letting others raise our children. Our biggest news story is Brtiney or Lindsay in rehab. Technology has advanced but our "middle class" still can not use the computer: We ban stem cell research and bio technology – can we blame the corporate giants, who have stockholders to answer to ? We've spent the last 8 years standing still, asleep at the switch. I'd go overseas too! Wake up people, we are in a global economy, whether we want o change or not.

    March 27, 2008 at 4:41 pm |
  134. Roger W. Groover, Anderson Indiana

    I don't really know Mr. Stephenson's character to judge whether it's a lame excuse or bald-faced lie, but it's one or the other. I don't believe his difficulties are stemming from a lack of education as much as they are due to poor pay, long hours and an oppressive work environment.

    March 27, 2008 at 4:41 pm |
  135. Lori from Muscoda, WI

    Where I teach, we have many parents out of work. The money available to retrain them to do this job would be far less expensive than the long-term unemployment benefits they are taking home. But when they seek out these types of jobs, the adults are told they aren't "qualified." If we have learned one thing in our schools, it is that education/learning is a constant. AT&T could come here, retrain, and have a very happy willing working class who also pay taxes, contribute to our society, and don't have to adopt a fake name to talk to customers.

    March 27, 2008 at 4:45 pm |
  136. MartaK

    It means either the public schools are lying about how well they are educating our youth OR the companies are lying about not being able to find skilled workers in the US so they can hire cheap labor to increase profits. Given both have a propensity toward dishonesty, it would be hard to know which it is!

    March 27, 2008 at 4:47 pm |
  137. Mona, Lake Villa Illinois

    America's workers are not entitled to get jobs they are not qualified for. What's happening now is expansion of what happened when Toyota and Honda came to town. We are in a global economy, and it comes down to competition – if the product is inferior, the buyer will go somewhere else to make the purchase. The fact that the U.S. focus on education and keeping the masses technologically advanced has not been a priority for this administration. Computers are light years ahead now, and globally, the world uses them better than we do.

    March 27, 2008 at 4:47 pm |
  138. MartaK

    It means either the public schools are lying about how well they are educating our youth OR the companies are lying about not being able to find skilled workers in the US so they can hire cheap labor to increase profits. Given both have a propensity toward dishonesty, it would be hard to know which it is!
    Marta K

    March 27, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  139. greg, woodville, canada

    Has AT&T ever heard of an apprenticeship program? How the hell does anybody get a job without training first? Do you honestly believe that 5000 East Indians had the experience that AT&T required? It is my bet that what they really had, was a willingness to work for cheaper wages! This is not just a problem in America Jack, big business exploits people in every part of the world.

    March 27, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  140. Elaine

    It's not that they can't find the workers they need, it's that they want to pay peanuts. Also AT&T is taking a page from Bill Gates play book wanting thousand of H1 visas so they can pay low wages to them. Also they can't pay a decent wage when they are paying the CEO of AT&T 18 million dollars as I read in the paper recently.

    March 27, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  141. Ronald, American living abroad

    The US's best and brightest are dying in Iraq while the State Department blocks highly qualified immigrants from receiving work visas.

    March 27, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  142. Jerry Wilson

    There not looking in the good old US.

    March 27, 2008 at 4:52 pm |
  143. Marv in AZ

    Jack, AT&T is probably asking its new cutomer service reps. to work an eight hour day, stay off of their cell phones, and treat people with respect. I can see why Americans might not be suited for these jobs.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  144. Reginald Brookins

    C'mon, Jack, the super delegates are a super head-ache. Just count the votes of the people and leave it at that, even if Hillary cries again, it won't win her the nomination.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  145. Steve

    Just think of the savings if ATT could outsource the CEO!

    March 27, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  146. Patricia Johnson

    Hi Jack,
    Hillary needs to think before she speaks. When she commented about not having the choice of choosing your families but you can choose your Pastors; she would have left.
    Wake up Hillary, you can't choose your biological family but you can choose your husband; and you chose to stay with Bill.

    Very Interesting Comment

    Pat Johnson
    Pleasant Grove, Al

    March 27, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  147. Ann

    We talk about everything, but our children. They have everything money can buy, but they do not receive a world class education and without that their education we have no hope for our world. We must wake-up, clean water, food, shelter and education is all that is needed and with these things the rest will come.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:29 pm |
  148. Janet

    I agree that our educational system is flawed - too much focus on testing and not enough on critical thinking - and I believe that worker motivation and loyalty is at an all time low just as employers are no longer loyal to their employees. Based on the experience my sisters had working for the phone company, however, I suspect the difficulty AT&T is having is that they can't find people who can do the work of one and a half employees to keep up with productivity standards, who willingly struggle to meet an ever-changing standard of excellence which pushes them to complete customer service calls in less and less time, and who gladly listen to angry customers complaining about problems over which the customer service rep has little or no control. If companies would treat their employees with more support and respect, I think they would find employees working harder toward their common goals.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:29 pm |
  149. Tom

    This sounds like more whinning from CEO's like King Bill Gates.I have worked in the telephone buisness for 38 years and I can assure you there is no shortage of skilled workers for these jobs. It just might might be they are looking for overly skilled workers that will work for little pay and no benfits.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:29 pm |
  150. Michael Middlebrook

    The problem is that AT&T cannot lure educated workers with a $10 an hour pay incentive. Who can live off that!

    March 27, 2008 at 5:29 pm |
  151. Myron Walker


    I have a BS degree and 20 years of experience in telecommunications. I accepted a job at AT&T in 2006 and worked there for one year. I was injured on the job after 10 months on the job. I called in sick once during that time span I was terminated. AT&T is not looking for qualified workers, it is looking for cheap labor. My sister has a masters degree, AT&T offered her a customer service in Jackson Mississippi, starting pay $7.50 per hour, and my starting pay was $13.07per hour. AT&T wants to be the Wal-mart of telecommunications.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:29 pm |
  152. Richard Wilson

    The U S has plenty of qualified people they just will not work for slave wages. These companies shouild be ashamed of themselves.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:29 pm |
  153. Greg Wentz

    Jack where would these call centers be located? Next question what are they paying? I bet AT&T would like to pay the same as in India. If the pay is not beneficial to the employee and only benificial to the employer it will not get the quality help it seeks. It seems business are not in touch with what it costs to go to work, with the cost of gas and child care. And if they can not find the educated people why is that? You Jack, mybe these companies should have some social obligation to the education system. Instead of asking for tax breaks they should help finance the cost of education. They all want to benefit from education but want no part of helping the average tax payer finace it, with an increase in his property taxes. Greg

    March 27, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  154. mark cukla

    That's a load of corporate crap! There are plenty of skilled workers in this country. Corporations just aren't looking very hard, or at all for people to fill these jobs. They'd rather just cry wolf and claim that they can't find anyone to fill their jobs. Besides, who really wants to work for $2 an hour. It's kind of hard to get up in the morning and look forward to going to work for $2 an hour.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  155. M.K. in Atlanta

    What a freakin joke, AT&T is so screwed up..I can't believe that they actually made that statement, I'm an engineer with almost 20 yrs experience, and the problem is AT&T is farming out these jobs to headhunters, . to companies, that will not pay market rate.

    Its appauling that they would make that statement. They post their jobs you get submitted to some endless database, not sure what the hell these hiring managers are doing, or if they are even getting back to qualified candidates.

    I know 20 plus talented Fortune 100 company network security engineers in the metro Atlanta area that would have loved the opportunity to work during the last quarter.

    Just sickening...

    March 27, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  156. dyan hageman

    Corporate America's newest tactic to paint the available american workforce has evolved into a rabble of collectively incompetent individuals who are hopelessly ignorant of the specialized skills necessary to perform the most elementary of tasks and therefore unfit to fill even the most rudimentary positions in their great corporate machines is ludicrous and, dare I say it....Treasonous!

    March 27, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  157. M. Rogers

    Actually, it is typical of the corporations nowadays to belt a line of lies out to move jobs to a market that pays less. It is even funnier that you buy into the lie and propagate it over the television. I am not sure if you are aware but call center jobs do not take a rocket scientist. This guy at AT&T is completely full of it. All I see nowadays, are bean counters running the wheel of every corporation and thats all they see is the money they will save. They just keep telling the same popular lie about it being so hard to find qualified help here in the USA.. They know news organization like CNN eat that up and broadcast it with pride. Maybe if we were to change the channel and not watch CNN anymore we could become a more successful and intelligent nation. You know I am American and I remember turning the tables at an I.T. call center where I had to go outside the scope of my job to guide an Indian I.T. worker that didn't know basic duties important to performing his job. Please! quit buying into the hype of sending jobs to low wage markets...! PLEASE! Truthfully, I feel like my country is selling me out and CNN agrees with it..

    March 27, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  158. Richard Weston

    Att is singing the blues. I wonder why? They have a point about hiring outside help for customer service. The thing is, they have not invested in our schools enough to make students know, that industry does care. They have not been customer service oriented to our children. Like career day, it should be everyday for children learning to survive and understand how to contribute to society. If business wants good potential employees, they should let education know what they need to be incorporated into the curriculum of schools. They should play a more aggressive part. Just like any other industry who may desire a particular employee. You start with the child. It does take a village.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  159. Charlotte Haas


    As a retired AT&T manager with an extensive technical and managerial background, I couldn't get a job with AT&T if my life depended on it. Nor would I want it. They don't really want people with ' experience ' because they'd have to pay them a lot more. The job I did at $50K a year is now paid at $10.00 an hour or $12.00 with previous experience. Anyway, why are they looking for customer service positions when they contract through a company called Con- vergys???? AT&T is trying to create support for hiring over seas when they're lieing about the lack of qualified people. There were those besides us ' young retirees ' who took buy-outs and other incentives to leave. As I mentioned check out companies like Convergys who handles tech support for AT&T and Embarq, who was created by Sprint to do the same. Shame on AT&T.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  160. Brent Lillesand

    I have experienced the difficulty, similiar to ATT, in finding qualified applicants.

    But I don't subscribe to the thought that it's the fault of "bad teachers" in our public schools. Rather, I believe that most teachers can and do provide an opportunity for learning. The issue is whether or not we as individuals and as a society wish to take advantage of this opportunity. In other words, support our schools.

    This is not a matter of just more dollars, the real value we can offer to our schools is our time. Volunteer to do things that allow our teachers to do thier job in a productive envirnoment. Whether it becoming a big brother/sister, renovating class room, or fixing a plumbing problem at the school. Our commitment to our schools with demonstrate the value we place on the abilities of our students.

    FYI – I'm not an educator, but I do volunteer about 5 hours a week.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  161. joseph

    I'm responding because I dont think thier are a lack of Americans who are not skilled workers. Customer service is not a skilled job, a skilled job is an engineer. I dont think there is a lack of workers either, I think over the years America has created 2 gererations of people who dont want to go work for 10, 12, 14 dollars an hour. Now think about this; 14x a 40 hour week 580 a week without overtime, so your monthly income is $2120 a month, subtract a good 600 for taxes, and insurance, 401k, etc. We are now down to 1520 a month thats mortgage payment. Thats why Americans are not filling these jobs. Face it people are finding other ways to make money now in days. Thats why I think no-one wants to fill these jobs.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  162. Jeanne

    You get what you pay for. This not only applies to AT&T, but to all those who expect the education system to produce a great product when: 1. Schools don't get quality raw materials (students who come to school hungry, or are born in a drug induced stupor, etc.)
    2. School budgets keep getting squeezed tighter and tighter. Our computers are outdated; staff keeps getting cut back, so the teachers who are left must do more and more with less and less.
    3. The quality students that everyone wants to hire, want pay commensurate with their abilities. CEOs want exorbitant pay, but they are not willing to pay their workers a living wage for their time and expertise.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  163. Richard Bartlett

    Jack, I noticed there was no mention of compensation for a AT & T new hire. Need I say more? Dick

    March 27, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  164. Chip Powell


    It says that the AT&T CEO he is full of crap! I worked for another major telecom like AT&T as a Senior Engineer for 10 years. I got tired of the BS, low wages, managements desire to offshore everything, then and here is the real kicker, when it all blows up and the offshore employees can't do the job, they dump it back on the American SKILLED workers to fix. I left that major ISP because my work load was 100+ hours a week sustained and I was not even hourly. My pay was atrocious and management was clueless. In short, Mr Stevenson is a clueless and the rest of the senior management in most major ISP's. I think the issues is they don't want top pay for the skilled labor in US.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  165. carl caroli

    It's baloney. I worked for Bell Labs/AT&T/Lucent for 21 years before being forced into early retirement with 10's of thousands of fellow employees. What he really means is that there's a shortage of talented engineers willing to work for 20-30% less than they made in 2000, while him and his upper mangerial ilk milk the company dry with huge salaries, bonuses and bad business decisions. What do they expect?

    March 27, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  166. Robert, Nashville

    here's what the problem is.... Working for AT&T for the last year I learned a lot of things about the company. the micromanagement is so bad that all of the reps are not on the same page, some are more decietful than others, as well as a whole litany of things that come along with 16 different departments used to handle a home phone service. people in the customer service department are all on sales objectives to the tune of 5K per month. If oone cannot obtain such an objective then you will be asked to leave. The slippery slope begins with the outrageous cost for home phone service, where one with all of the popular calling features and unlimited long distance will spend approx. $65-$70 per month. Most cell phones blow this price out of the water, and they can be taken most anywhere to work. If a customer calls in and want to "right-size" their account, the rep will be reluctant to do such due to the fact that downsizing is a negative sales hit, and one possible step toward the end of their tenure with AT&T. There are people whom have been with the company for years on end that are resigning. The reason is not due to intelligence, I can assure you that! That is an absolute cop-out. Reps are pounded with constant mandatory overtime, and experience numerous times wherin one will sit for 5 hours with one fifteen minute break. hmm... the funny thing to me is that all of the problems come down squarely upon the cust service reps shoulders. This only scratches the surface!!!

    March 27, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  167. Ralph

    The USA education has been in the tank for the last 50 years. "Affirmative action", "No Child Left Behind", "Local Control" nothing has achieved positive results and never will until the government stops supporting "drop outs" and we bring academics back to a state where a high school degree means something beyond "G.E.D" as a job requirement.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  168. Daniel (San Jose)

    Not enough Americans looking for work? Hogwash! Funny thing is I just saw a CNN clip about Vets working at Pizza joints because they can’t find work. I’m a Vet and I can confirm that the job market for exiting military is indeed poor. Did Mr. Stephenson really try to spin the data to suggest that 50% of American students don’t graduate? That statistic is so skewed that any mathematician would cringe. I would be curious what Mr. Stephenson is offering in the way of benefits’ and compensation for these jobs. Is there really not enough American workers? Or, have major corporations become so addicted to low cost foreign labor that they refuse to invest their company money into benefits and training for American employees?

    March 27, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  169. Susan P.

    Jack! Jack! Jack!:The answer to your question is money. They don't want to pay a living good wage. Geez Jack,they are bringing back the jobs from India. Did they find out cheap isn't good enough. before they moved these jobs over seas,they had great workers. I know I talked to a few, years ago. They (ATT)are just greedy corporate so and sos. I don't want to get started.What does it say about our education? The teachers in my area get paid excellent money. My taxes on my little house choke me. Maybe we should start with the teachers,and blame them for At&T. Personally they are full of it. The American people are getting squeezed into a corner every where.Just another cop out!Where can I go to find this job. I need one.How much they paying? Also skilled workeres are they talking about the people that work on the lines. That is a hands on job. It is dangerous. They need to train these people like it used to be and give them good wages and great benefits so they stay . What is wrong with giving benefits to a person that works 40 hours plus a week,spend they majority of their life giving you these hours which is the major part of living. They spend more on the job than they do with family. Tell them to quit whining and cough up the training and the money. That will work.Bring back America.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  170. Scott, lenexa kansas

    Jack ,I dont believe this from ATaT for a minute.I would like to know more information on these jobs ,what is the pay?Do I have this right answering phones?I would guess no matter what ATaT wants to pay a low wage that no one could live on ,no matter what skill level.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  171. Carol D. Durante-Spinner

    I went to the site. They are paying $9.25 per hour and the job is in Lebanon, VA. Where in the hell is Lebanon, VA. I also searched for jobs in Washington, DC, but they are only paying $11.75 per hour. AT&T is not making a conscience effort to hire Americans. It is such a shame that big business is so used to paying low wages overseas they don't even feel obligated to offer a decent wage. I sure hope the Democrats take care of the big businesses that outsource jobs.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  172. Mike from Ohio

    I bet, in India AT&T will hire just about anybody. But, in the U.S. they probably require a Masters Degree and at least 5 years of experience to even get an interview.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  173. Bruce From Tucson, AZ

    Pay the help a good wage and benefits and they will be lined up and knocking at your door. The good wages then get spent here in the United States and everyone benefits. Do not use low entry wages to make an excuse for more out of the country help. When these people get paid the money leaves the country.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:32 pm |
  174. julia paton

    Customer service jobs in the high tech area are tough, require overnight work and technical skills and there are a huge number of immigrants already working in that area. These immigrants are already here or you get connected to overseas customer service workers in India. If you go any math or hard science programs at North American universities this is what you are going to find: Asian and Eastern Europeans immigrants with a tiny proportion of North Americans trying to get degrees in these areas. Why? Too many North Americans are simply uninterested in those areas; may be they know something that the immigrants do not know: that you can make more money in other areas without working so hard? Or may be they spent their high school and youth working on "social skills", extra curricular activities and developing their "self-esteem". I am an immigrant and have been told many times that I place way too much importance in the education of my children. Julia Paton, San Francisco

    March 27, 2008 at 5:32 pm |
  175. K.C. Miller

    This points out loads of problems; from the lame way we have treated our educational system to the fact that these companies will say anything to get more H1B visas. I have little doubt there are many many U.S citizens that are far more qualified to do these jobs than someone who speaks English as a second language. The problem is most likely that they want to pay less than liveable wages and people can't afford to take them. Of course that part will be left out by these far less than honorable CEO types.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:32 pm |
  176. Cindy Taylor

    From Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. AT&T is lying. They do not want to fill these positions with higher paid US citizins. I've seen this before with "Company VS Union". The company won't look very hard for something they don't truelly want. The past couple of weeks I've seen many people being interviewed on CNN that are out of work or in foreclosure that would probably be happy to have those jobs. Tell AT&T to look again or hire better mananagement to take care of the situation. Shaking up management is sometimes the best solution to a multitude of problems.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:32 pm |
  177. Lori Fisher

    I think we need to look beyond America's schools as the main problem – I believe our parenting, or lack thereof, is the basis of the problem. I live near Detroit, which has a high drop out rate and also boasts of a 75% single mother birth rate. Good values and ethics begin at home. Stop blaming the school system for society's failures.
    Lori – Leonard, MI

    March 27, 2008 at 5:32 pm |
  178. mike

    come on jack,since when did the party listen to pledged delegates,not in the clinton party.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:32 pm |
  179. Marlene Barber from KS

    Jack If the big companies,like AT&T want to bring in workers from other countries,they would need to provide on the job training to them. So,why not provide on the job training for unemployeed U.S. workers? Or does that make to much sense?

    March 27, 2008 at 5:32 pm |
  180. Candace

    I think that's a bunch of hooey. Customer Service employees do little more than answer the telephone, as we all know. AT&T, Verizon and others want workers who they can pay less, provide fewer benefits to, or spend less on physical structures for. While at the same time, seeking employees who will be beholden and grateful to them for jobs that do little more than keep pace with the minimum wage in the US. I say shame on you and hooey to major employers who seek to take these very basic jobs from America and Americans.

    Bowie, Maryland

    March 27, 2008 at 5:32 pm |
  181. Tina

    My husband and I have 3 college graduate children. They're skilled workers. They can't afford to buy a house in the neighborhood they grew up in and pay off their college loans. Most of their college graduate friends are in the same boat.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:33 pm |
  182. Ted Schramm

    AT & T can't find skilled workers?? Have a son who is skilled electrician as well as most of his friends and they can't find work!!
    They travel around the U.S. picking up jobs, when they can and leave families at home, some loosing those families to divorces.
    Current skilled trades workers are like the military, traveling for jobs. What we see is employers not willing to pay a decent wage (above $20 an hour) for skilled workers or they would have no problems getting workers.
    Part of American Corp. Greed right now is push wages down and using the excuse, no workers available, to get workers outside the U.S. Even Bill Gates is doing the same by asking for outside workers, due to lack of skilled workers.
    What ever happened to training workers, like most of us went through, when we went to work ,40 years ago.
    Businesses have gotten lazy and want everyone to pay for their own training and fight for the lower paying jobs, all by working 2 jobs to support families and just exist at the same time. OPPS, shouldn't have families till we get training done and get that great skilled job with lower wages than the 2 jobs you gave up to get there!!
    ( please don't use name if message used)
    Always watch Lou, Wolf and yourself, Jack

    March 27, 2008 at 5:33 pm |
  183. Mike from Ohio

    I bet, in India AT&T will hire just about anybody. In the U.S. they probably require a Masters Degree and at least 5 years of experience to even get an interview.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:33 pm |
  184. Regine Arlington Virginia

    As someone who's been looking for employment and I have a great customer service back ground. As a A T&T Cingular customer (for many years) maybe I can get some of my money back, but only for the right price and healthcare benefits. Looks like a win-win to me. LOL

    March 27, 2008 at 5:33 pm |
  185. Tina Shoys

    Forgot to mention I'm in Forestville, CA.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:33 pm |
  186. pete in ny

    I'm amazed at the amount of anti corporate blather in these entries. Remember- no one ever got a job from a poor man and the government never made a dollar- it just printed them.

    I am now a teacher after 27 years in corporate America. Based upon my experience our education system does not do a good job because
    1. It is too influenced by feel good. The real world doesn't care about your self esteem, it cares about whether or not you can deliver results.
    2. Anyone who calls themselves an "educator" should be distrusted because they will try to substitute theories and the latest trend for common sense e.g. don't teach phonics!.
    3.Teachers are scared stiff of accountability. In business you are judged by annual results but when you are in a group of teachers the conversations often degenerate into badmouthing No Child Left Behind because it uses tests to measure progress.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:34 pm |
  187. Chris Benham

    What this problem suggests it that we(the US public) have kowtowed to the unskilled and minimally educated American worker. US companies have also been forced into overpaying for this workforce. Sadly, the US workforce have forceed this situation upon themselves by driving up wages and not improving product quality at the same time. I worked for a company for a number of years that manufactured several products in both the US and China. Unfortunately, the products made in China had 20% less cost in labor and the the quality was 200% better with less defects. How can an American company compete with this? America needs to put a higher emphasis on education and less into unskilled labor. Those jobs have left and probably will never return at this rate. I beg any Pro Union supporter to swing my views, I guarantee they do not have a leg to stand on.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:34 pm |
  188. Randall Stewart

    IF the CEO is actually telling the truth (which I doubt), his description of American workers as "products" reveals the problem. As a ten-year public school teacher about to leave the profession, I understand the problem of training kids. But when you de-humanize a kid and talk about them like they are coming off some kind assembly line, you are buying into the same nonsense that has given us No Child Left Behind. The problem is not some poor first year teacher put into a hopeless situation in an impoverished neighborhood. The problem is widespread social failure at the low end of the socio-economic spectrum, combined with wages that will not pay the rent in much of the country. If AT&T would be willing to tackle THAT problem, then we may make some progress.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:34 pm |
  189. ethan

    AT&T? That bastion of free market expertise can't figure out the law of supply and demand? Offer more, and pay in dollars, not rupees.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:34 pm |
  190. Steve

    What does it mean when At&T says it can't find workers? It means they are lying so they can get more immigrants and hold down wages.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:34 pm |
  191. Jamal

    Jack, AT&T is misleading the USA consumers and investors again. If AT&T CEO is having problems finding people then why not hire some of those 63,000 people that just got laid off in Month of February. The fact is that he does not want to pay the qualified people. Putting the blame on unqualified people is absolutly ridiculous. This is another lie for him to keep US jobs in India because simply it just cost less. This is one of ways for him and his AT&T board members to meet their 2008 bonus targets. This is just another lie by AT&T among those of claiming of least drop calls and the best coverage in US, while they fail to mention in BOLD font that their service coverage is based of their Global presences but not in US.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:34 pm |
  192. Brenda Oliver

    As a former employee of the phone company now retired, I believe that's double talk for sending jobs overseas. When I was hired, I knew nothing about the job, but I was trained. Why can't training classes be set up for these potential employees? How much education does one need to be a customer rep? Anyway I'm sick of talking to people I can't understand on the phone. That goes for the US government also.
    Blue Springs, MO

    March 27, 2008 at 5:35 pm |
  193. David Chaffin

    As former AT&T employee who lost his customer service job after 16yrs to India. You could not pay me enough money to go back. Why would I want to be burn again? When I first started with them they were the #1 company to work for. Everyone had smiles on their faces and enjoyed the job they had. Bob Allen was the CEO and while he wasnt perfect he knew American company needed Amercan Customer Service. Then Mike Armstrong came along and didnt care about people just money. He laided off thousands of great Customer Service employees who now have jobs aiding other companys. I am helping Wells Fargo and imporving their Customer Service skills. We have won customer service awards for excellance many times over. So AT&T why dont you stay in India and change those letters. Your not American Telephone & Telegraph your India Telephone & Telegraph. and there is nothing AMERICAN about you.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:35 pm |
  194. Marilyn Alvarez

    What skills do they think are required to listen to and solve a customer complaint? A PhD perhaps? A special one of course, that is only available in India and Pakistan? AT&T's problem is they don't want to actually pay a salary to anyone, something that can only happen in a country that accepts poverty as a norm, and the people are so desperate for a dollar they will work a 16 hour day and 7 days a week to get it.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:35 pm |
  195. kathleen sawyer

    Why cant americans be trained,they trained the foreign workers....If i get one usually I cant underatand a word they are saying,and they dont understand me,so i hang up.....AT&T I want a american speaking person to converse with!!!!....k sawyer ..tucson Az.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:35 pm |
  196. Carol

    As a current AT&T employee let me make something very clear. AT&T is not having a problem finding qualified workers in the US to fill customer service jobs. The company is far too focused on making and saving a buck. Unreasonable sales objectives and constant overbearing scrutiny of their employees has lead to more problems than I can name here on this blog. People are quitting from this company every single day, even during threats of a recession because the stress is so great.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:36 pm |
  197. Laura

    Oh Please, spare me AT&T. I actually worked for AT&T as a customer service rep when I was in my early twenties. I took the job because I needed one fast because I just moved from my parent's house across the country. What 50% of people are high school drop outs in certain areas has to do with anything is beyond me. You don't need a high school education to be a customer service rep at AT&T. The position is at the bottom of the barrel in the strata of needing any kind of intelligence or skills to do it. A 6th grade drop out would be skilled enough to be a customer service rep at AT&T. The problem is they don't want to offer a competitive salary that people could actually live on so therefore they offer low pay they only attract the least skilled people, but like I said that is irrelevant. You don't need much of any skills to do that job position. I'd rather have a person that is not so skilled that can actually speak the English language that I can communicate with if I have a problem than to deal with someone who even if they had the epitome of education such as a PhD that I can't understand one word they are saying and communicating with them is next to impossible. I doubt people in India or China that work for these call centers are not that much more educated than the people here that apply to customer service jobs. AT&T is full of it with their bogus claims.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:36 pm |
  198. Oscar Cristoforis

    It means AT&T is paying below the line of what a skilled U.S. worker demands. these big companies want skilled workers for $11 or $12 Dollars an hour, and that kind money could be good in countries like India and China. However, we are in U.S paying almost $4.00 for a gallon of gas. AT&T has to pay more to get more.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:36 pm |
  199. Martha Bird-Middleton, MPA

    AT & T's CEO is clueless. I would fire any executive or management team who gave me such lame feedback. Pay me $50,000 annual, throw in some benefits, a budget and resources, and let's get some people hired– of course, location is important– I'd check out Western Maryland and West Virginia. The area is known for its service support people. The region welcomes jobs– AT & T where are you? Oh, yes, let's throw in a livable wage, health care and benefits... and, wow, guess what– we have a broader outcome– everyone can go and buy more stuff... talk about stimulating the economy.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:36 pm |
  200. Nikola

    It means we need a comprehensive reform of the educational system. We need better paid and high quality teachers and tougher curriculum that would include more social science and humanities courses. And in order to make those reforms we definitely need a different president and new educational policies.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  201. Penny

    AT&T like politicians use the truth laced with deceit to make their point.. It is not because of the "drop out rate" that AT&T is having a hard time finding qualified workers. I am very qualified to work in a call center.......which means I will not work nights, weekends, and split shifts for a wage that does not support a minimal living standard. Off shore workers are eager to work these hours for less than $2.00/hr.
    In 1965, I would have been too.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  202. Joseph Guillemette

    What does this mean? How about we ask how much AT&T is willing to pay those workers. More than likely they are unwilling to pay a US citizen more than minimum wage to work over 40 hours a week. My father is a manager at AT&T and he tells horror stories about AT&T cutting costs by refusing to by pens, pencils, paper, etc; so why are we surprised that no one is willing to work for AT&T. And what ever happened to minimum wage to begin with. Did everyone forget that when Senators Obama, Clinton, and Mcain, had the chance to raise minimum wage to keep jobs in America the instead chose to line their own pockets with American tax payer dollars. I don't hear any of these Senator's offering to take money out of their own pockets to help out the American worker.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  203. Kendal

    As someone that was recently laid-off(along with 100 other people) from a well paying, highly technical position with AT&T, I sir can tell you that Mr. Stephenson is a bold face liar!!! Dispite efforts to retain employment within AT&T, we were escorted to the door and pushed onto unemployment.... If you had 5000 jobs avaliable, why wouldnt at the very least 100 of those jobs be given to 100 people that you know definitely qualified for those positions...I'll tell you why...Mr. Stephenson is another corporate liar who just wants to justify sending American jobs overseas by perpetrating a myth...

    March 27, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  204. Bob from Indiana

    It means AT&T does not want to pay American workers a living wage. They would rather import those highly skilled foreign workers that nobody can understand. They are perfect for those customer service jobs. Did you ever try to talk to one of those off-shore technicians when your computer breaks down. Might as well hang up and get a new computer..

    March 27, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  205. Joe Hancock

    As a retired AT&T employ and having gone through the AT&T meltdown of their own making, pucker up as they are blowing smoke. I saw no one who could not handle AT&T (or SBC as it was once known) work of any type in the 20 years of employment. I worked from cable splicer, PBX , to computer type troubleshooter on large ckts. I will admit our schools are a wreck and should be farmed out to private companys. AT&T is trying to hire low paid overseas people, Take little of what they say with out a large dose of salts.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  206. Taren

    Hey Jack, here's the whole story. I don't know anyone willing to drive 120+ miles roundtrip to work at a call center in the middle of nowhere to for $9.00/hr. With gas costing $3.25/gal what's the point? Let's not get started on how employees are treated. You may get a shift working 6-2, 4 months later you're switched to 11-7, 3 months later you a 9-5 shift. Gee, if you have kids you had better hope your sitter is very flexible. Now let's talk benefits. You have to walk through hell just to get the benefits you have PAID into and are entitled to. Need anymore reasons why there is a shortage. Treat employees as such and not as servants.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  207. Sid Z, Farrar, Iowa

    It means Hillary's "It takes a village" concept has failed miserably to educate our youth well enough to become "skilled labor". It doesn't take a village, it takes two involved parents to raise a child properly.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  208. Angela Ruiz

    If the CEO of AT&T is so concerned about the state of our education system and not being able to fill those customer service positions then maybe he should be in the classroom teaching. News Flash it is not the education system, but the pupils we are expected to teach. It all boils down to the "I.Q. factor" or lack of. Those that are producing children are not the sharpest tools in the shed! Need I say more.

    Palm Bay, FL

    March 27, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  209. Ifeanyi Nnama

    Jack this excuse by AT&T smells, with all the college and high school grads out there not working and having a hard time finding work. It boils down to profits for AT&T shareholders.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  210. Carolyn

    I recently cancelled phone service with one company (even though it cost me money)because after talking to a least 6 different people (obviously not currently residing in lthe USA)from their customer service I could not get anyone to understand what I was trying to tell them. I purposefuly chose AT&T because of their commentment to bring these jobs back to America. I have never had a problem when I call their customer service. If this is a ploy on their part to renige on this I will canel my land line into my house completely and rely on cell phones completely. I"m so tired of corporate America. I think that is bull that they cannot find people to do customer service jobs here.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  211. Lawrence

    I think AT&T is grossly exaggerating its inability to recruit skilled workers for customer service jobs. AT&T does not mention those customer service jobs have a large sales element that requires its employees to cram AT&T's extra-revenue generating products unto its customers during customer service calls. Many of its workers do not have natural sales abilities and AT&T fires employees that do not reach predetermined sales goals.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  212. Pam Jay, Tacoma

    I'd like to know where he is looking. There are thousands of service workers, from many industries looking for jobs.
    Did he list with the nationals unemployment departments? Did he put ads in the newspapers?
    It's a lame excuse to say only 50% are graduating highschool as an excuse. It's 50% in certain areas, not nation wide. And what does that mean? He wants 18-20 year olds for the jobs??? Age discrimination? minimum wage? no experience needed???

    March 27, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  213. Karen

    Thanks for the tip Jack! I'm job hunting, have more than enough high quality education to make Mr. Stephenson happy, and I would just love to have a good job with AT&T. Oh, by the way, did Mr. Stephenson mention where the new jobs are located or if he is prepared to utilize the their own technology so I don't have to uproot myself and is he willing to pay a living wage? I mean a US living wage, not the off-shore pay scale.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  214. Ken

    First, I do not believe AT&T or Bill Gates! They wonder why they can't find U.S. workers when they treat them like expendable trash? It is an excuse to "insource" cheap foreign labor, nothing more! If the question is training, then establish the training in cooperation with local educational insitutions such as community colleges or do the training in-house. Additionally, ensure the Americans you hire and train you won't "trash" them in the future, that they have the opportunity of a career with AT&T and will not have to keep "looking over their shoulders" wondering whether they have a job from week to week!

    March 27, 2008 at 5:44 pm |
  215. Karen

    Hey–I just remembered! Wasn't it the former AT&T Chairman who once told a US Congressional committee that they couldn't shut AT&T down, but he could shut down Congress? Maybe this is a new twist on the old plan!

    March 27, 2008 at 5:44 pm |
  216. Robert

    Where exactly is AT&T hiring? I frankly think their HR department has its head in a strange place. They just love the cheap labor offshore. When we call any customer support the first question is 'where are you located/' If they are not here then we hang up and write letters, and also buy the competitor's product.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:45 pm |
  217. Melissa Bell

    Jack, I had to respond to this question. I currently work for another major communication company VERIZON...a competitor of ATT. I have worked there almost 8yrs as a customer service representative. In my opinion Randall Stephenson & ATT are not being very honest with the public, the reason THESE companys are sending jobs overseas is because it is cheaper and more profitable to expand jobs to India. ATT is not the only company that is doing this, are you kidding me....I have seen this communication industry change over the last few years where companies like ATT and Verizon are hiring a bunch of partime workers, firing full-time employees in order to hire foreign NON UNION WORKERS. I promise you is not due to lack of educated workers.....ITS ALL ABOUT THE DOLLAR!!!! Less pay for workers, cheap cost for companies, more PROFITS. In the long run this will hurt the U.S. and the American people.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:45 pm |
  218. publicv

    companies used to have training programs. What happened to them? The purpose of public schools should be for a well rounded education, not corporate need

    March 27, 2008 at 5:45 pm |
  219. Qwick from East Point, GA

    Maybe they are using prerequisites they transgress the line of decency (I.E. must be willing to work for $2.00 an hour)

    March 27, 2008 at 5:45 pm |
  220. Dennis Lacey

    Hi Jack,
    Thanks for bringing this issue up! It’s hard enough to get anyone to admit the situation exists, let alone getting anyone to admit what the problem really is; and it’s not a shortage of skills in America.

    Having been convinced that I should work as a solo telecoms consultant back in the ‘90’s, because of my vast knowledge and experience in the industry, I am among the tens and hundreds of thousands that have not been able to find even an interview within that industry since the beginning of the Bush administration. Look who’s selling this sob story; AT&T and Bill Gates. It’s to their advantage to keep the H1Bs going and their operating cost down.

    This is about being able to find the talent that is willing to work for the same wage that a college graduate from India will entertain. It’s about time somebody like CNN started some real investigating and got to the bottom of this story for real.

    Dennis Lacey
    Kansas City, MO

    March 27, 2008 at 5:46 pm |
  221. Jude - Albuq.

    At&t's problems are indicative of Americas problems. The drop out rates are so high that we are producing so many people that want mom and dad to take care of them, or the goverment to take care of them. It is time that some people take responsibility for themselves and pull themselves up the bootstraps. Get an education, stupid.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:46 pm |
  222. joanne mcdowell

    I have been screaming for the last twelve years about the dismal condition of our education. When our school went to a 70 average as the criteria for an Honors class it was the final straw. There are terrific teachers out there but, unfortunately, as with the government, there are too many administrators that don't know a thing about running a good school with tough criteria and just as tough discipline. What we have sown in our schools, we are now reaping in business. And those of us who fought for excellence are now without jobs–since we dared to fail those that deserved the failure.
    Evergreen Park, Il.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:46 pm |