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Do Kids Have A 'Right' To A Job?

We have enough to worry about without having to deal with the future...


One of the things I think about the most is the future of my kids. I know I'm not alone in this.

It is deeply concerning to me that we in Rhode Island bring kids into the world, raise them carefully, provide them with a good education – and then send them away to live and work because job opportunities in R.I. just aren't there.

We need to make some changes. We can't build an entire future around tourism or health care – currently the state's two largest employers. And while we do have a long history of manufacturing, we're behind the curve in STEM disciplines – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – the things that are driving today's economy, and tomorrow's. It's a chicken-or-egg situation: We're not producing enough graduates with these skills, or attracting the companies that need them most. And every state in the union is competing for these same businesses and same jobs!

As a business owner, I can attest to the fact that business requirements have  changed, and the skills we are looking to hire today are not those we needed yesterday. As a result, we sometimes have to go elsewhere to get some things done. Other businesses are aware of this, and hesitate to put down roots in Rhode Island because of our skills and knowledge shortage.

The net-net of all this is, the job market in R.I. for high school AND college graduates is pretty slim. There are some good jobs available, but not enough to match the numbers of kids we graduate each year.

Are we focused enough on this issue? Are we doing enough to fix it? Should it be fixed? Do we owe R.I. kids a future beyond school?

It would be interesting to hear your views.

[In the spirit of full disclosure, I'm a candidate for State Representative for District 30 (East Greenwich and the eastern portion of West Greenwich). Elizabeth McNamara, editor of East Greenwich Patch, invited me (and other candidates) to blog "from the campaign trail," and a blog here seemed a perfect opportunity to gather community input on some of the ideas I have been talking about in my campaign.]

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

EG Lurker August 16, 2012 at 02:16 AM
Couldn't agree more - this state operates in a bubble, failing to move quickly enough with the times. Time for the state to attract some biotech or IT companies - higher salary jobs that can bring not only more tax dollars in, but generate more service industry jobs as a result. Let's make Rhode Island a destination, not a rest stop on the way from Connecticut to Massachusetts.

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