CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - America has never experienced a "recovery" quite like this one.
After the Great Depression, jobs came back much more quickly than they are right now. So what's really different this time around? That's the question everyone's asking, but few are answering.
Fed Chief Ben Bernanke just took a lot of heat for admitting he doesn't even know why unemployment is still so high.
And big businesses will say they've simply trimmed the fat, but it's smaller businesses that account for the vast majority of our jobs.
Small businesses that are recovering. Yet you still won't find "help wanted" signs hanging on their doors. So why aren't they hiring?
Clifton Vann is a small business owner, and he says he's ready to tell it like it is.
"Somebody has to say something before it's too late," Vann says.
Clifton owns this manufacturing company here in Charlotte, and he could use help there, but he can't give jobs to the applicants he's seeing because they don't have the right training.
"Why isn't anyone talking about it?" Vann asks, clearly frustrated. "We're just talking about the symptoms. We're not talking about the problem."
Clifton says the problem is this - there are a lot of people seeking work from small businesses(after all, many small businesses that making things are making money right now). But Clifton says the majority of the job seekers he's seeing are laid-off suits...managers used to running meeting after meeting...the so-called "fat" big companies have trimmed.
Or they're fresh graduates trained for that same kind of career path.
But in this new economy, Clifton thinks we'll continue to see high unemployment until we prepare more people to make tangible goods.
Until we train more of them for jobs in manufacturing.
"We've sold them off as it's a dead industry, we're not going to make stuff in this country anymore," Vann says. "We're going to be service oriented but the reality of it is real wealth is being generated by making something."
Take Greece. An economic meltdown is causing utter chaos over there. Citizens will tell you why.
"We don't produce anything," one man yelled at a CBS news camera. "All we have is sun and tourism."
It's a glaring example of why we need to get America back on course, Vann says, and he believes we've got to start from the bottom.
"We've got to go back to our young people and arm them with the capability to push our country forward."
It's why he's enrolled his son in Camp Invention at Marvin Elementary, where kids learn to use their minds and their hands. They take electronics apart and put them back together. They create things.