Skip to main content
Internet Archive's 25th Anniversary Logo

tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  February 18, 2021 6:00pm-7:01pm PST

6:00 pm
>> good evening. i am judy woodruff. judy: a harsh reality, the winter strive gripping much of the country leaves many without power. it hits tas especially hard. then, a staggering toll, covid-19 causes a sharp decrease in average life expectancy in the u.s. but an even larger drop for communities of color. d workshift. the ever increasing focus on college education and the need for manual labor creates a serious dearth of skilled labor people. >> there are entire categories of work that are shrouded in
6:01 pm
mystery. if we don't destigmatize them, we will be waiting for plumbers and electricians for a long, long time. >> all of that and more on tonight pass pbs -- tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by -- >> before which have about your investments, andriy is expecting. clark -- audrey is expecting. >> twins. >> at fidelity, a change in plans is always part. johnson & johnson, bnsf railway, the candida fund, restoring justice and many will work through justice and transformative leaders. more at candida fund.org.
6:02 pm
carnegie corporation of new york, supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement and the advancement of international peace and security at carnegie.org. and with the ongoing support of these institutions. this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting and contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. judy: a huge storm system has shifted east tonight after
6:03 pm
brutalizing the united states mid section. it is leaving at least 40 dead plus a legacy of mangled power grids, broken water systems and political fallout. stephanie reports on this day's development. >> misery for a new part of the country. the arctic friend that pummeled the central and southern parts of the u.s. pushed into the northeast today. in new jersey, governor phil murphy urged people to be alert. >> this goes deeper into tomorrow. keep your wits aboutou, do the right thing, stay home if you can. >> heavy snow blanketed the region with the must have commission -- with heavy accumulation. it has already stretched for days in texas. >> when people are making comparisons like texas is shutting down for three inches of snow. you guys have no idea what is
6:04 pm
really going on. >> high school teachers are just two of the many texans just scrambling to keep warm and fed amid ongoing power and water outages. >> that was the struggle. the first morning, we did not have a gas stove top. my mom was laughing at me. i ended up putting them in the fireplace. >> you will be eating gas station sandwiches. >> they set up camp by the fireplace but by midweek, it was not keeping them warm enough. >> we have been relying on the
6:05 pm
bus system and the train system in the dallas metro place. just getting out to it. having to lug what you can, finding these warming stations that could be available. it seems easier when you think about infrastructure with other states. >> power is being restored for millions of texas residents. the number still facing outages fell below 500,000 today. this manages the texas power grid. while the weather could bring more transition trouble, -- transmission trouble, they hope to reduce the number of forced outages. >> they were hoping that any outages like that would be limited. we are going to try to avoid that. >> other state officials have come under fire. this includes from the mayor of
6:06 pm
dallas, erik johnson. >> our people are suffering right now. we don't have control on the power grid. starting at the top, those people have to figure out what happened, figure out who is responsible and what changes need to be made. >> texans are facing another crisis, obtaining rentable war. about 13 million people in a number of cities were under boil water notices today. >> how can we boil water when we don't even have power? >> in houston, people lined up at a water faucet at this park to fill up buckets while others collected rainwater and melted snow. >> as our reporting has showed, the storm and the aftereffects have hit vulnerable groups the
6:07 pm
hardest, especially communities of color. dr. robert fuller focuses on racial public disparities. he joins me from sugar land, texas. what people in your area -- would have people in your area been going through in recent days question mark what are they lacking? >> it is important to understand that this blackout in terms of loss of power is more than just about energy, it is also about those communities that were struggling before the storm in terms of struggling with energy insecurity. this storm has shown a spotlight on those disparities in terms of communities that don't have not only electricity but no water, no transportation, private cars to get to grocery stores to buy food and water.
6:08 pm
and the same communities are devastated because of health disparities. a lot of asthma, diabetes. people on dialysis machines. they can't operate their medical equipment. it poses a lot of dangers other than just being cold. >> as we look at hundreds of thousands of people still in texas going without power for days that they are communities there that don't -- did not already have consistent power? >> because of the fact that a lot of low income families have problems paying the electric bills, l income communities and people of color generally pay a larger percentage of their household budgets toward energy. heating in the winter and cooling in the summer. anytime you get a spike in your utility bill, that could cause a
6:09 pm
big problem. these are issues that low income families have to deal with in major disasters, whether it is a hurricane or a flood or in this case, we are talking a power outage. >> when you think about climate change and its impact on people, why is it important to focus on these communities of color and these existing disparities? >> i think when we talk about climate change, he really has to be looked at more than greenhouse gases and parts per million. have to talk about the equities that exist in our society that make certain community is more vulnerable because of where ty live, their spatial location in terms of low lying areas, areas prone to flooding, it is really important that we plan for making sure our climate action
6:10 pm
plans are resilient and will protect of the most vulnerable. when we don't do that, we will basically plan for leaving certain populations behind. in this case, basically, without power and people whose lights go out first and who are the last ones to get the power back, that is the inequity we must address when dealing with climate plans and plans for dealing with just energy transition. >> as far as what people in your area and throughout the state of texas are facing right at this moment in the midst of a winter storm, have you seen any evidence that communities of color are experiencing power outages at a greater rate than other communities? >> what we find is that this area has been hit hard by the outages but if you talk about
6:11 pm
the areas that have experienced the most devastating impact, it is one thing -- it is different for me than it is for a low income family that has lots of people in the household. they are dealing with covid, the fact that they don't have power. you can't wash her hands or social distance. the impacts that would occur for low-income income families would be different than another family that has means. these are issues that are cascading that are created by this power outage and to a large extent, people are just looking at the outage, these rolling blackouts but for many communities, it is more than
6:12 pm
just blackouts. it is disparities that come to the front. >> i can't thank you enough for coming on the program and discussing these ongoing issues. thank you. >> my pleasure. >> we will return to judy woodruff and the show after the latest headlines. updating our top story, senator ted cruz of texas is facing political fallout for lying to cancún, mexico with his family this week while his state was reeling from the fallout of the winter storm. he returned to houston after his whereabouts were reported. >> i started having second thoughts. leaving when somebody texans were hurting did not feel right.
6:13 pm
i changed my return flight and flew back on the first available flight i could take. >> start new numbers with the humansold in -- of covid-19 in vivid relief. the total number of lives lost past 92,000. the average u.s. life expectancy dropped by a full year during the first half of 2020 due to the pandemic. that is the biggest decline since world war ii. we will get details after the new summary. perseverance is on the surface of the planet mars tonight after a seven month journey. its street across the martian sky as depicted in this animation, slowing from both thousand miles per hour and then the robot craft deployed parachutes and a rocket powered -- that triggered the all-important signal to mission control. >> that is not confirmed.
6:14 pm
>> within minutes, the rover sent back this first image of a landing site, a crater and an ancient river delta. president biden's bill will lay out paths to citizenship for those with legal status. also, the blighted ministration laid out guidelines for more targeted information enforcement. the estate department has announced that the u.s. will talk with iran and other world powers about returning to the 2015 nuclear deal.
6:15 pm
crowds were back out in cities across the mr today, protesting a military coup. they defied police who assaulted striking rail workers in mandalay overnight. thousands of people carried flags and blocked roads. their goal was to obstruct military movements and prevent government employees from getting to work. in northern india, thousands of farmers escalated a month-long campaign against new agricultural lows. demonstrators blocked trains for hours by sitting and chanting on tracks as thousands of security officers turned out. farmers say the new laws will drastically cut their incomes. the indiana government says the measures are essential to modernizing the country's
6:16 pm
agriculture system. back in this country, the labor department reported new claims for unappointed benefits shot back over. covid-19 disruptions escalated. vice president, harris -- kamala harris has said that women leaving the workforce has become a national emergency. the were over gamestop had lined the u.s. congressional hearing today. last month, small investors and hedge funds battled for days over the videogame retailer and the broader market. today, the head of the trading platform apologized for stopping trading. coming up on the newshour, the pandemic causes a sharp decrease
6:17 pm
in life expectancy for communities of color. a double south african covid various strikes fear around the world. several states forward abortion legislation and much more. >> this is the pbs newshour from the studios in washington. >> the toll of the pandemic is highlighted in stark terms again today. a government report finds that expected lifespans fell in this country by a year on average in the first half of 2020. at is the biggest drop since world war ii. overdoses, heart attacks and other illnesses are a part of th. researchers say the pandemic is unubtedly a major factor. moreover, the gaps along racial
6:18 pm
lines are profound. white left expectancy fell by about eight months while black americans lost 2.7 years of average life expectancy. among linos, life expectancy dropped nearly two yea. these numbers are even larger among men. we will focus on that tonight. dr. reed is a former commissioner of public health here in washington dc. he now has his own firm. as you look at these numbers broadly, are they surprising? >> they are not surprising. we knew that we were dying three times -- two times more often
6:19 pm
then the rest of the country. it is not surprising. however, it still does not dim the sadness, the pain, the heartache that comes with looking at these quantitative numbers that are really describing in mathematical ways the feelings and emotions we have had all along. >> as you mention, black americans, the average life expectancy dropped. -- 2.7 times. why is this? >> we know that african americans are exposed to this virus overall. so many of us are the ones from the front lines and running or buses in some ways. the ones cleaning our streets. we are the ones who are more
6:20 pm
often unable to practice and make your livelihood by being home and working online. we are much more exposed. number two, the conditions under which the many african-americans live make it very difficult to fight off this covid pandemic. we have much less opportunity to do the social distancing that we would have wanted to done -- to have done. another major element is we were suffering from existing health issues. more heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, poor people are predisposed to war outcomes when you are infected with the covid-19 virus. >> a number of the things you are discussing are parallel to what we heard from dr. bullard a
6:21 pm
few moments ago when discussing why committees of color are more disproportionately affected by these winter storms. but just in terms of health care services and what is available and what isn't in communities of color? >> it is important to go back to the point that you are making about dr. ballard and the points that he was making. remember, health is where all the social forces converged to express themselves with the greatest clarity and most important. health is where everything comes together. when we think about the health outcomes, it is not just medical care, it is very much the social determinants that leads to health outcomes, housing, economic stability, education, challenging access to healthy foods. community environments that are filled with stress and are not safe. then we come to the quality of care.
6:22 pm
we have known for 20 years since the publication of a major national cabinet of medicine study called any will of treatment -- in equal treatment. taking care of black people is suboptimal to white america. this is a long-standing challenge that the health-care industry has yet to be able to fully and adequately address. >> i think part of what is so striking, i was looking at the numbers this afternoon, among black americans, life expectancy had been improving and increasing in the last couple of decades. this is a really stark turn in the direction of where we want to see these numbers go. does it tell you -- we all know the country was caught off guard and not prepared for this pandemic. do you believe there will be clear lessons we can learn?
6:23 pm
anything we can do with something coming out of this pandemic? >> i hope so. i hope the first lesson we learn and this pandemic has shown such a bright light, each of us as individuals live in the context of a community of other people so when we choose as individuals to exert right not to wear a mask and don't care that we could easily sicken or because someone else to die, that is a major issue of in ethical and moral nature in society. if anything, we have learned that we have to begin to focus our attention on empathy and love. a concern and caring for everyone, for black people, this is particularly important because we now realize that black people have because of a history of deeply planted seeds of distrust and those seeds being watered every day by our experience in living our lives in american society that that
6:24 pm
distrust leads to very negative behaviors, it leads us to make decisions that are sometimes contrast -- contrary to our best interest, as we go forward, the health enterprise, the research, the clinicians and health policy experts have got to come together now and try to do everything we can with the rest of our society to overcome this distrust because this distrust is not just an idle emotion, distrust leads to death. i think this focuses everyone's attention on getting at the structural racism issues, these social determinants of health that were always present in creating excess experiences with disease and death but now we know what it does for a pandemic like covid-19 and hopefully it will now regenerate a much greater focus on getting at these fundamental causes. judy: it is something that we at
6:25 pm
the news hour will continue to cover. so stark, seeing these numbers over just the first half of 2020, single life expectancy change is incredibly discouraging. dr., think you very much. >> thank you. >> now to south africa which has battling to contain a mutants -- mutant strain of covid-19. it renders the vaccines from phizer and moderna 60% less effective. it has been prompting travel bans. across africa itself, borders remain very much open. there is little hope of getting
6:26 pm
enough vaccines for years to come. >> gravediggers find little rest in this cemetery and the port city of cape town. south africa has recorded more than 46,000 covid-19 deaths since the pandemic began, the highest number on the continent. and the toll continues to rise after the discovery of a new variant, dr. richard of the world health organization. >> we are taking this quite seriously. from some pulmonary data starting to emerge, it is clearly showing that the new variant is a force behind the new way we are seeing in many countries. >> the spread of the new variant has founded a raft of countries including the u.s. to ban travel from south africa. the u.k. has gone a step further, banning new arrivals
6:27 pm
from the democratic republic of congo amid fears that the mutant strain is spreading rapidly there. at 20 other countries including the u.s. have also found cases and while travel bans, shutting south africans out may help, borders remain open across africa. that leaves countries like the drc and others that are still open to flights on the rest of africa vulnerable. and according to health officials, the drc has seen a spike in infections over the last five months. >> this second bout of covid, when it came here, we received many patients, when you try to compare the first and the second, we can see that now we have received more patients than before. >> health experts here believe that the rise may be caused by a complete new variant. >> you're sterilizing the
6:28 pm
samples, it is possible that this variant is already in the country. >> identifying which variants are prevalent across the world is key to containing the virus. in that effort, the w and the africa centers for disease control and preventn have set up covid-19 genomic sequencing laboratories to help boost their capacity to detect the new variants. >> we are asking countries to ship to these laboratories. that way we will be able to establish the new variant of that has been detected in south africa but more so in other countries in africa. >> the fact that people have not stopped traveling among african countries including migrant laborers and businesspeople means there is very little way to know how far the variant
6:29 pm
first found in south africa is spreading across the continent. this congolese family has a home in south africa and they are determined not to let the pandemic wreck their ability to travel back and forth. >> i think it is a matter of taking responsibility. we are not too worried about it. as long as i stick to what i have to do, put on the mask, sanitizer, it is a wave, it will come and go. you just have to protect yourselves. >> we apply those measures and we are safe. i trust them and i am willing to travel to his and my family. >> not everyone -- to visit my family. >> not everyone is so relaxed. there are quarantine rules for people coming from countries where they are prevalent. still, borders remain open, increasing africa possible vulnerability in the absence of a meaningful vaccine rollout
6:30 pm
across the continent. south africa which was on the cusp of starting its mass vaccination program suddenly and controversially oppose the rollout of the astrazeneca vaccine. reports suggest that it may only offer minimal protection. the research indicates that nevertheless, the vaccine does protect against serious disease, hospitalization and death and meanwhile, south africa has announced plans to use the johnson & johnson single to -- single shot vaccine instead. it has made more progress with vaccinations than some other african countries where vaccine skepticism is compounding the problem. >> we tanzanian's must be very careful about receiving medical
6:31 pm
supplies from abroad. i am asking the alth ministry not to be too quick to us at any vaccine without ascertaining its efficacy. >> as researchers investigate ways to modify covid-19 vaccines to tackle the variant originally discovered in south africa, the africa cdc has warned about rising fatality rates across the continent. >> with more than 3.5 million coronavirus cases already reported in africa, the continent is now only beginning to receive the first arrivals of covid-19 vaccines on a wider scale. the reality is they will not be enough vaccines for potentially years to come. as borders remain open, the question remains it is africa's way out of the pandemic question mark for the pbs newshour, i am in the democratic republic of congo. >> in an effort to start helping find that way out, the biden
6:32 pm
administration announced that it was a global push to distribute covid vaccines equitably. it added $2 billion for the effort to ensure that vaccine availability, adding to the 2 billion authorized by congress last year. south carolina is the latest state to place tough new restrictions on abortions, it is part of a new roof renewed focus on abortion access with a conservative majority on the supreme court. john yang has the story. >> the bill that south carolina governor henry mcmaster signed today bans abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy if a fetal heartbeat is detected. the only exceptions are raped, incessant and to protect the health of the mother. nearly a dozen other states have
6:33 pm
passed similar laws but all have been blocked by the courts and planned parenthood has already sued to block this one. but at the signing ceremony, mcmaster predicted that anti- abortion forces would not prevail. -- would prevail. >> if there is no right to life, what might exist if not the elementary, fundamental profound right to life. so we are here to protect that. in this step, we took it today, it was long coming and monumental in consequence. income -- our battles are not over. i believe the dawn of victory is upon us. >> the state legislature across the country have increasingly become the front lines of the struggle in the debate over abortion. kevin jackson is a public affairs reported.
6:34 pm
mary zigler is a thursday university. thank you both for coming. give us a sense of what it was like. >> it was the unique day in the chamber. it was the first bill introduced in the senate. the first bill filed in the senate and then it had multiple hearings and got right through the committee process. the hulking in houston -- in the house -- the whole in-house was not to do this. we saw some contact between republicans. when republican got a little sad
6:35 pm
because he was not able to file any amendment to this bill. that would take out the exceptions about rape and is just because a lot of republican lawmakers want to go a bit further with this bill but they would not have the support to do that. this was the compromise. you heard from the governor that this is the first step, we can keep going forward. depending on what is going on in the court at this time, there is already a challenge in place. the injunction could be granted as soon as tomorrow afternoon. >> this is not the first time that south carolina lawmakers have had to -- have tried to pass this bill. it was the difference this time? do the lawmakers see themselves as part of a national drive against abortion? >> yes, it is no big secret. unfortunately, we are behind a lot of states, laws already going to the supreme court for challenge.
6:36 pm
again, several other states in georgia passing this. right now, it was really trying to make good on some campaign promises. we saw repugnance picking up seats in the house. lawmakers really wanted to make a big splash. we have the governor of for reelection next year. all of this comes in and then uniting behind major legislation may cure which is the abortion ban. that is something that we can see going on at the national level. in south carolina, the republican party is united behind what is taking place in south carolina. >> let's talk about that national picture. place this south carolina law in context for us. in terms of restrictiveness in the other state laws that are being passed or pushed right now. >> i think south carolina lawmakers were trying to push
6:37 pm
this as being a moderate bill. it is an example of what we think of as extreme changing in some states. the heartbeat bill of any kind would have been seen as pretty out there. now, versions of a heartbeat bill are being framed by lawmakers as normal. that is partly because the entire spectrum of abortion legislation has changed pretty radically. that would sentence women as well as doctors involved in abortions to make them face murder charges and potentially even subject them to the death penalty given that murder is eligible in every zone. i would still qualify heartbeat goes as more absolute in the grand scheme of things but the more lawmakers embce the
6:38 pm
strategy, the more that we would view them as extreme law changes. that is something that i think south carolina lawmakers have very consciously done, to say this is a new generation heartbeat bill. it speaks more to the fact of what we think of as extreme. quite because the court has changed, we have three justices nominated by donald trump who have all had things to say about abortion? >> i think that is what lawmakers are doing. it was almost futile, introducing a bill like this, even probably after brett kavanaugh joined the court. that was asking the court not only to overrule but to do it we expeditiously and in a fairly flashy way. i think state lawmakers are betting on presidentrump's three supreme court nominees. they may be enough to get to
6:39 pm
that magical five votes that would result in the overturning of roe. i think it goes beyond that because the antiabortion movement like the republican party is divided. there is this anti-abortion establishment. much like there is a gop establishment. those people have been behind the heartbeat goes and some of the more extreme legislation we have been seeing. i think the antiabortion wing is making a move for that. >> there is a restrictive abortion law for missiippi that would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. that has been a request for the supreme court to hear it, that has been pending since october. i think there are a lot of observers that thought this new court would take a fairly -- take it fairly quickly.
6:40 pm
>> it is hard to say. ordinarily, if the court started meeting about the case in october and still had not made a decision, we would have concluded that the court was not going to take the case and that there was some justice angry about that fact. you can imagine clarence thomas writing this angry opinion. what makes this harder to read is that the court kept rescheduling this and not meeting about it at all. we don't really know why that was. there are different theories. it could be all of the election challenges president trump was generating. it could be covid. it could be that the court is not sure where to go on abortion. the great mystery in this is what kinds of conservative do we have on the supre court? we have one wing that want to get rid of roe quickly. have chief justice john roberts that wants to take a more cautious approach.
6:41 pm
we don't know where the other three justices are going to land. the court hesitation to go one way or another on this is deepening the mystery. >> thank you very much. >> thank you for having us. >> the u.s. is back on the red planet tonight after a nearly 300 million mile journey. nasa celebrated late this afternoon when it landed its latest rover on mars. there is lots of excitement around nasa costs most ambitious mars project yet. the rover is designed to explore new areas of the planet and look for clues to signs of past life there. just so you know, the temperature on mars is a cool 81 degrees below zero. miles o'brien has been watching it all closely. he is with me now.
6:42 pm
hello again. i was excited watching the video feed from nasa. you on the edge of your seat? >> always. it is always a great moment of joy when it happens. miles: the team is so good that they make it look easy. but i should remind everyone that this is -- this is rocket science, extremely hard what they did. nasa is five for five in terms of attempting to land rovers on the red planet. this one has all kind of capability, nuclear powered. it threaded a needle in a very rugged part of mars. the scientists like the rugged part. the engineers would prefer a veritable parking lot so there is always a struggle but they had some new technology this go-round. radar system, some imagery that allowed them to basically do a bullseye in a rugged part of the planet so we are off to the races on mars.
6:43 pm
>> that gives us a sense of how hard it was. remind us what this is all about. judy: we know it is looking for some form of life that existed billions of years ago but help us understand what it is. >> yes, basically if you look back to pathfinder in 1997 which demonstrated that we could get there safely and then the opportunity in spirit rovers in 2003. we have beenteadily homing in. the scientists confirmed that and then found places which not only had water but had a habitable environment doings of years ago and now they are in a place where they think there is a reasonable shot at finding the remnants of organic material, biologic, organic material. the rocks that are the age where perseverance is right now, we
6:44 pm
have rocks about the same age in western australia. all kinds of evidence left over, very distinct evidence. perseverance will be trucking through this region. if it sees things that looks like western australia, you can bet that scientists will get excited. >> 300 billion miles away. how hard is what they are trying -- 300 million miles away. how hard is what they are trying to do? miles: this is the first stage of a very ambitious, long sought idea for nasa, a sample return. perseverance will go along, find some interesting samples. as capable as this rover is, it is still kind of limited how much it n do remotely on the surface of mars, all packed into a tiny rover. what it will do is drop a couple dozen samples on the surface.
6:45 pm
in a few years to come, in partnership with europeans, retriever rover will come to mars and conduct an easter egg hunt for the samples, pick them up. they get launched back to earth. by the 20 30's, we will have samples of mars bedrock back on earth. that will allow scientists to tease out the nuance of all of this. these organics are not smoking gun or easy. having them in an earthbound lab will be helpful. >> in the 20 30's, you know what your assignment will be. >> jobless claims work hi again
6:46 pm
this past week. more than 860,000 people file claims. millions of people are still looking for work. some employers say they can't find enough skilled workers for certain jobs. that is due in part to stigmas that need to change. we have the story forever series, work shift which focuses on navigating the job market in a post-covid economy. >> get ready. >> get ready. >> micro, men on a mission to get dirty. >> for years, he was america's hands on evangelist for dirty jobs. >> that is a nasty, nasty little job. >> after years of romanticizing the unromantic, he put money where his body was. the mike rowe works foundation.
6:47 pm
>> typically, what we do is pay the fee that is due to a trade school or an apprenticeship program. >> before covid, there were 7.3 million open jobs, the majority of which did not require a four-year degree. >> working outside in the code and the rain and falling under houses, that is -- those are the things we as plumbers do. kids don't want to put in the effort to get there. >> in a low-wage, heavy economy, plumbing apprenteships started close to $20 per hour. after just a few years and a license, top earners can make $70,000 and up. unfortunately, dirty jobs have had an increasingly bad image and he things he knows why. >> the push for one form of education in my view was the
6:48 pm
beginning of a long list of stigmas and stereotypes and myths and misperceptions that to this day dissuade millions of kids from pursuing a legitimate opportunity to make six figures in the trades. >> the culprit in his view is the supposed cachet of colors. >> in the eyes of many parents and many counselors, trade school was the thing you did if you are not cut out for university. >> how many of you would seriously consider a career in one of the trades? >> i school class in lake charles louisiana, which president trump carried by better than to-one. many of these kids would consider a future in the trades? >> one. quite that is jacob brewster, he loves woodworking but he feels the pressure. >> it is like go to college, go to college, there is barely
6:49 pm
anybody saying go to trade school. >> nor the additional 50% plus you don't finish college. trade schoo has post secondary education can be a ticket to a six-figure income but it is sneered at by kids, parents and teachers alike. >> it is not an option that is often presented to us. >> there is some sort of stigma if you don't go to college. >> i have to go to college or nothing. >> i think the stigma is real. >> taught in southwest louisiana for years. >> we do have a lot of very successful trades people here that make a lot of money. i think in our area, it is less so but it is still there. >> tonya hicks sees the same bias in her community even though unemployment is famously much higher for african-americans. >> at the civil rights movement, a lot of african-american children were not encouraged to go to college.
6:50 pm
in african american culture, blue-collar workers are looked down on like their less than if you do not have a college degree. >> in fact, college grads earn 74% more than those with only a highs will diploma but not that much more than skilled tradespeople. a median income of 54 thousand dollars for a bachelors degree versus 51,004 electricians, 46,000 for plumbers. although tradespeople may have somewhat shorter careers. regardless, there is a disconnect. >> if you look at the way colleges have been able to raise their tuitions and if you look at the speed with which the skills gap has widened and if you look at the number of kids who are out there, well educated but hopelessly in debt and not trained for a multiple -- multitude of good jobs that actually exist, you start to see the degrees that work disconnected. >> as an economist might ask,
6:51 pm
what you mean by good job? >> i have nothing against people that want to go to college but now they can't find a job and they are just in this insurmountable debt. >> michael barbosa had a scholarship to attend college but dropped out. >> i worked as a breeze or -- brewster and a grocery store clerk. the only way to get by was to work a lot of hours in multiple jobs. >> working in construction, he had his epiphany. >> when i was doing my drywall stocking, i ran into a lot of plumbers and they would ask me why are you just drywall stocking? don't you want to learn a trade? >> he is now trained to be a plumber and being paid $16 an hour to learn. daniel stank he finished the same program and is now an apprentice plumber. >> both my parents went and graduated from college. my original plan was to become a history teacher but i fell out
6:52 pm
of love with that idea, i started looking around at other opportunities. >> his bossays he will make six figures this yr. and then there are those feel like sarah who graduated with a math degree from ivy league cornell. >> growing up it was like you went to the trade school because you did not do well in school. i still get comments from my family like why are you doing this? >> she now works with this electrician who graduated from townsend -- towson university with a computer degree. >> did you re-think you would become an electrician? >> no. x i figured i was training might have to go out and work for a big company to become a systems analyst. but you can be replaced or easy. you can become comfortable and then obsolete very fast in the tech world. >> a liberal arts education is not the enemy. i've got one. it served me well.
6:53 pm
but there are entire categories of work that are shrouded in mystery. if we don't demystify them and destigmatize them, we are going to be waiting for plumbers and electricians for a long time. >> is the gap closing? is the stigma beginning to dissolve? >> i think it is. conversely, i think covid might have something to do with it. i am sure you have noticed, there is a new word that is -- has really been injected into the lexicon. essential. >> that is how many of his plumbing apprentices feel. >> sometimes you are people's heroes. especially if they have been in a bad spot for a couple of days. >> i can't tell you the amount of pride from people in our industry probably felt that we needed to keep the country going. and we have the jobs of the
6:54 pm
future for sustainability and energy and water conservation. >> as you can tell from the music, i am about to wrap things up. >> when things get back to normal, this country is going to enter a new age of work. a new age of making things and fixing things and building things. this age were skilled workers are going to be in demand like never before. >> you will see. for the pbs newshour, i am paul. judy: such a great report. and on the news hour online, right now is millions in texas going out reliable electricity, heat and water, groups around the state are working to help the most vulnerable. you can find ways to support their efforts on our website pbs.org/news hour. that is the newshour for tonight. i am judy woodruff. join us online. for all of us at the pbs
6:55 pm
newshour, please stay safe and we will see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by -- newman class consumer cellular's gold has been -- consumer cellular gold. to learn more, visit consumer cellular.tv. >> johnson & johnson. bnsf railway. >> the ford foundation, working with jerry's on the frontline for social change worldwide. >> the alfred p. sloan foundation. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions.
6:56 pm
and friends of the newshour. this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> this is pbs newshour west from our bureau at the walter cronkite school of journalism at arizona state university. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for
6:57 pm
6:58 pm
6:59 pm
7:00 pm
>> if you're anything like me, when you think of summer, u think of swimming, barbecuing with friends, going to the beach, or having a picnic. so, today i thought, "what better place to have a picnic than here on this beautiful beach on the island of syros with my good friend elias?" then we'll come back to my san francisco kitchen, and i'll show you a few greek-inspired recipes. one that i love is a dish from santorini called fava. i'll give it a modern twist with capers and preserved lemons. we'll make a savory pie with chicken, leeks, feta, dill, and mint. and for a little something sweet -- labneh layered in jar with honey-poached figs and salted pistachios. i love to travel the globe in search of new food and wine discoveries. for me, it's about more than returning home with a handful of new recipes.
7:01 pm
it's about taking the spit

27 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on