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Hosted by: Scott LaMar



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witf introduces 'Smart Talk Friday' radio program

Radio Smart Talk: Women's pay in Lancaster County; tech workers; Ernesto Tamayo concert

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Mar 21, 2013 3:13 PM

Radio Smart Talk for Friday, March 22:

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Throughout the country, women earn less than men in most sectors of the workforce.  However, a recent national report ranked a Central Pennsylvania county near the bottom in the comparisons between earnings for men and women.

The website 24/7 Wall Street reported that the third widest disparity in pay between men and women nationally is in Lancaster County.  Median pay for women in the county in 2011 was $32,446 compared to $47,318 for men.  That comes out to women being paid 68.6% of what men are earning.

The difference in pay was only larger in two Utah cities.

The disparity was the smallest in Los Angeles where women make more than 91% of men's earnings.

Why is the difference so big in Lancaster County?

That's a question we'll pose to Scott Sheely, the executive director of the Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board on Friday's program.

Sheely also has some strong opinions on the so-called "middle skill" jobs of the future.  He wonders whether enough young people are getting the training they need to become electricians, registered nurses, sales representatives, or welders.  He'll explain on Friday's program. 

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Also, world renowned performer, recording artist, teacher, and musical influence, Ernesto Tamayo has been diagnosed with brain cancer.  Tamayo is also founder of the Lancaster Guitar Festival.  This year’s festival has morphed into one night of guitar music to honor Mr. Tamayo, featuring a number of accomplished guitarists Saturday night at 7:30 at the Ware Center in Lancaster.  we'll learn more on Friday's program.

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Comments: 10

  • thinkwrite img 2013-03-22 08:07

    How do you make everything equal? Do you know that men do not make as much money as other men? I don't make as much money as others in my profession.

    There have been some studies that also attribute "disparity" to men's willingness to put in long hours, etc. etc.

    • Lisa img 2013-03-22 08:44

      To thinkwrite and the guest: Men's "willingness" to put in longer hours has much more to do with their unwillingness to help out around the home. Working women have 2 jobs: the one they get paid for outside the home and the unpaid homemaker job at home. This is especially true in extremely conservative areas like Lancaster County and Utah, the two locations where women's pay outside the home is also much lower than the national average and much less than their male counterparts. Buck up, men, and take responsibility at home!

  • daryl.snider img 2013-03-22 09:09

    This program is not really addressing the question of wage equity between men and women, but rather Mr. Sheely's interest in drumming up more workers for technical industrial jobs. Even when the first caller pointed out that you're "having the wrong conversation", the two men in control went back to their previous conversation. A show about the pay disparity would have at least half women on the panel and would actually look at the research that was done. At the very least it would acknowledge the prejudice against women working for less pay in the same positions as their male counterparts (often doing better work and working longer hours), and discuss how we might begin to address this in our still-male-dominated culture. This show has failed to meet my expectations for WITF's usually good journalism, and I stopped listening halfway through, and I expect quite a few women did too. This show is indicative of why this area scored so low in the research.

    • Dale img 2013-03-22 12:00

      I am so glad to read your comment Daryl. I tuned in for 10 minutes about midway through the show and listened as the guest droned on about educating for the job market before I was called away. As a former teacher it really got up my ire. So I just came here to the website to follow up, fully expecting to see a topic about educational strategies. Boy, was I confused. I'm still upset with the guest's remarks, but now I understand the disappointment of listeners like yourself. During the span I listened, there was certainly nothing pertaining to women's wages, or even a hint of it.

    • WatchListen107 img 2013-03-23 09:12

      Mr. Snider,
      You seem quite eager to jump on your high-horse and declare "the show indicative of why this area scored so low on the research"- even while admitting that you didn't even listen to the whole conversation. In the guest's defense, I suggest you listen again more closely (or perhaps for the first time) and you will hear that Scott LaMar, and most of the callers that called in, were, by the questions and comments given to Mr. Sheely, directing the conversation towards discussion of the need for more technical industrial training. So, he was responding to prompts and he was, understandably, speaking from his professional expertise and experience.
      You also state that a show about income disparity would "At the very least... acknowledge the prejudice against women working for less pay in the same positions as their male counterparts." If you would have listened more closely (or longer), you would have heard him readily acknowledge a number of times that there is definitely a prejudice out there (which I think can be partly blamed on the very conservative nature of Lancaster County), but what exactly did you expect him to say beyond that? His job is to invest in the workforce so that is naturally what he has to bring to the conversation and it's an important conversation and consideration.
      The fault in not meeting your expectations for the show, if there is any, should go to WITF for the way the show was promoted as a discussion of pay disparity, when they had lost one of their guests that perhaps could have spoken to this in more detail (and when they were planning to have an entire show dedicated to this subject at a later date). I agree that more could and should be discussed about this and that women need to be an equal part of the conversation, but it was not Mr. Sheely's fault that women were not on the panel of guests. He brought his honest assessment of some of the contributing factors to pay disparity in this region while saying clearly that there is prejudice, and that, in my opinion, is not deserving of your dismissive, judgmental tone.
      Lastly, it appears from your use of the phrase "drumming up more workers for technical industrial jobs" that you think Mr. Sheely has some kind of vested interest in "drumming up" these workers when, in reality, he is trying to respond to the need he is seeing and hearing from employers and also trying to offer an alternative for people that may not be aware of these high-paying opportunities. The phrase also seems to imply that you don't have a high opinion of these types of jobs (even though you benefit every day from the various things that are manufactured). If that's the case, (and this is conjecture) perhaps your negative reaction to the show had as much to do with that as anything.

  • Robert Colgan img 2013-03-22 09:36

    Years ago my children's high school was expanding a wing and asked for input how they could best use some of the newly created spaces.

    I urged them bring back auto shop (which they had years ago) including body work and auto electronics, and the building trades including plumbing and electricity and HVAC .............but they told me that State and Federal funding wouldn't underwrite such programs.

    I told them to go out on a limb and do it anyway and find the funding from within the community because there are employers who would help if they knew they had knowledgeable future hires.

    No go. They couldn't do it because NCLB demanded test results, I was told.

    But my real concern is not just for female workers but workers in general-----with robotics and AI there is NO WAY we are going to need workers (except for the most specialized) if the trend continues.

    All I can see is returning to a more manual approach to things currently done through automation...choosing people labor over machine labor. Otherwise, robots, which work non-stop and don't need perks or pensions will guarantee our joblessness only increases every year.

  • Scott LaMar img 2013-03-22 10:51

    A bit of an explanation and an update on today's program. A second guest to address the pay disparity between men and women was unable to appear on today's show as originally intended. As I mentioned on the air, we will devote an entire program to the issue. It is scheduled for Tuesday, April 2 at 9 a.m.

  • Dale img 2013-03-22 12:04

    I am so glad to read your comment Daryl. I tuned in for 10 minutes about midway through the show and listened as the guest droned on about educating for the job market before I was called away. As a former teacher it really got up my ire. So I just came here to the website to follow up, fully expecting to see a topic about educational strategies. Boy, was I confused. I'm still upset with the guest's remarks, but now I understand the disappointment of listeners like yourself. During the span I listened, there was certainly nothing pertaining to women's wages, or even a hint of it.

  • Dale img 2013-03-22 12:20

    To piggyback on my reply to Daryl above, Robert you make a point that I would have made. When you teach for the job market, you do the greatest disservice to our students. Thanks to technology the increasingly faster pace of job evolution means that, automation aside, employee skills become quickly obsolete, as well as, the jobs themselves. Moreover, you can be taught a skill for today's market and your value remains low because the next kid to graduate, trained in profession, will work for less with more up-to-date training. This system, then, turns schools into profit-base, rather than outcome-based institutions, because you, the employee, will be forever fettered to taking classes just to remain relevant in your profession. Therefore, I'd like to see our schools return to educating the whole person, that they might be thoroughly educated, flexible, adaptable, problem-solving individuals capable of rising up to the challenges in the workplace as need requires, but moreover to becoming a contributing societal participant, and an ennobled individual.

  • Dale img 2013-03-22 12:28

    I don't know why the message board is not cooperating for me, but each time I try to reply to a specific comment and hit submit I receive an error message. Then, unbeknownst to me as I try again, the reply is delayed then posted multiple times and in multiple places. It's a mystery to me.

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