Editor, Times-Union:
Infrequently, a local official (certainly not a politician) says something worthy of repeating. Such was the case recently for a fellow named George Robertson, in Warsaw.
The occasion was an announcement to open a career certification boot camp for recent high school graduates. According to the Times-Union newspaper account, the project, dubbed “Kosciusko Kickstart Your Career,” intends to create “trainable and promotable” entry-level employees with skills necessary to start a job or go on to certification in a specialty.
This is when Mr. Robertson, president of the Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation, made his remark to local elected officials. We quote it below, and urge you to repeat it as you can:
“It’s not the employer’s job to teach math, to teach reading, to teach work ethic, or why safety’s important. We agree with that. They tell us if somebody gets through this course (the Kickstart program), they’re the kind of people we’ll hire, or move to the top of the list, or pay $1 more.”
Mr. Robertson’s comment infers many young people graduating from high school do not possess necessary basic knowledge to go to work for an employer, let alone perform acceptably. By extension, it also implies our national educational system, the most expensive per student in the world, is not successfully teaching the fundamentals to children–reading, writing, arithmetic. Surely we do not need to pump more money into the national educational system.
Is the failure to understand basic reading/writing communication and mathematics the fault of parents, societal change, computerization? I wonder where the collective finger will point?
As someone who was responsible to find quality employees for manufacturing or skill tasks, I found most applicants had a difficult time filling out a simple job application, most were incomplete, and often one could not could read the prospect’s handwriting. As a side issue, our medical department at the time discovered that 65-70 percent of high school graduates had a 60 to 70 percent hearing loss in one or both ears. Is it a cause of loud sound systems in vehicles, ear buds, etc.?
In my view, this local economic development group’s efforts, in cooperation with many local companies and patterned after those in other communities, is laudable, deserves support, and should be duplicated around the nation devoid of governmental interference. One can envision many benefits to our future in this kind of project.
Apparently, though, it is too bad it is even necessary.
Dan Lee
Warsaw, via e-mail