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December 13, 2017     Journal Opinion
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Page 6--- JOURNAL OPINION--December 13, 2017 Vermont's workforce dilemma Letters by Ellen Kahler Vermont's struggle to grow its workforce weakens our economy, Getting into the numbers The next giant leap for mankind inhibits the ability for Vermont businesses to expand their operations, and threatens the ability for Vermonters and future generations to grow and To the Editor: To the Editor: thrive here in the Green Mountains. An aging workforce, stagnant wages in This is the third of a four-part series on the proposals coming forward on our On May 25, 196 l, President Kennedy challenged our nation to "achieving the jobs without career ladders, the cost of housing and childcare, the opioid Haverhill schools. This particularpart will address the WHS campus project(s) as goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man onthe moon and returning him epidemic, and a need for more young adults entering the workforce are all they stand today, safely to the Earth." On July 20, 1969, in less than a decade, we achieved our contributors to our workforce dilemma. There will be a public presentation on this project on Dec. 21 at the HCMS goal. According to a 2013 Vermont Food System Workforce Needs cafeteria(6:30p.m.)aswellasarequestforpublicinputontheprosandconsof In the movie Hidden Figures, KevinCosmerplaysthedirectoroftheNASA sending thehigh school students elsewhere. Some oftheinformationpresentedhere Space Task Group responsible for getting us there. Here are two quotes he Assessment report, 40 percent of large employers and 50 percent of small may change accordingly, sharedwithhis staffasthey encounteredtechnicalandteam-relatedchallenges: employers surveyed said that hiring challenges are holding their businesses Many months ago, the facilities committee brought the high school plan to the 1)"In my head, we are already there"; 2)"We get to the peak together, or we don't back--meaning they are faced with reduced revenue, less efficient boardwithapricetagofabout$11million.Weallagreedthatplanhadfeatureswe get there at all." production, and delayed expansion plans into new markets or larger didn't need and solved problems that weren't really problems here. And, when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon he said, "One small step for production spaces. Four years later, the challenges have only increased. Wehavereworkedtheplanafewtimessincethen.Thecurrentpricetagisclose man, one giant leap formankind." The simple demographic fact is that more people are retiring and fewer to $3 million for the high schoolbut subjectto some changebythe engineering firm Inthe 20th century, it took us less than a decade to figure out howto send a people are entering the workforce each year. According to a report from the following discussions with them on Dec. 5. There is also the good news that SAU- man safely to the moon and back. What might we be able to accomplish, in less Vermont Futures Proj ect released in January 2017, 11,375 Vermonters 23 Superintendent Laurie Melanson with the help of Rep. Rick Ladd found us more than a decade, in the 2 l't Century? What might we be able to accomplish by the retire every year, and only 8,000 young people are entering Vermont's than $500,000 to help with the high school, year 2025? workforce from either high school or college. Frankly, we need more Items that need to be addressed are staL, avell enclosures for fire safety at the Could it be that the next giant leap for mankind is coming together as one people in Vermont or these negative trends will continue and we will not be Bagonzibuilding, two elevators to solve acc s issues, replacement ofthe gym floor humanfamily?Isn'tthesurvivalofourfragiledemocracydependentuponit? able to afford to sustain the traditions that make Vermont such a special and relocating the main school entrance" for security which required some United we stand, divided we fall. Isn't it timeto rediscover ourcommonhumanity, place to live. reorganization of interior spaces as well. Also addressed are some kitchen, cafeteria rediscover those things that unite us rather than divide us? "We get to the peak and other overall building issues. With the State aid, we show a total of $2.4 million together or we don't get there at all." There is also a widely-held perception that Vermont lacks sufficient to bondpending ,e final figures. It seems whenwe collectively experience a disaster, we spontaneously come opportunities forjob seekers in general, and thus many young people leave Wait, we aren t quite done yet. The King Street School is in dire need of a together as one human family. Studies have been done about the extraordinary the state for more or better opportunities elsewhere. Yet, in the Vermont Farm to Plate Network's efforts to strengthen wrecking ball. It's amazing that this program does as well as it does with the communities that arise from disaster: horrendous space that they occupy. --The pain we all feel from the enormity of the destruction and unimaginable economic development in the food system, we often hear from local food There aretwo smallclassrooms onthe ground floorofthis old house with a dirt loss to so many, brings about a sense of fellowship, a sense of feeling deeply producers and businesses that the biggest challenge to growing their cellar and numerous issues. The King Street building is rented by the SAU but connectedto one another as equals. Whatevermay have sepamtedus, falls away business is finding labor. Farmers, producers, and distributors cannot find wnedbyus" Thisprgram actually makes mney frthe SAU and Haverhill" --A makeshift community center is created where we share meals and stories, the local people they need to drive trucks, harvest vegetables, process meat, We propose replacing this building with one having adequate space to let the hugs and tears, and feel happy to be together milk cows, or manage poultry and livestock, program grow abit and become even mq~e profitable. The cost of replacing the --A hive mind arises and we become self-governing and go wherever our These jobs are available, but Vermonters often do not apply because they King Street School is estimated at $979~900. The increased student revenue of knowledge, gifts and talents are most needed. No one is in charge but needs and are under the impression that these are low-wage jobs with no opportunity addingjusttwomoreout-of-districtsmdent tothisprogramwillpayforthisproject resources come together in miraculous ways. And, everyone is giving and for career advancement. The honest truth is that not as many Vermonters over a 20-year span. receiving want to do hard physical labor anymore, which begs the question--who will We are assured that there are frequent ~equests to get more students into this --Helping others makes us feel needed and valuable and provides a sense of do this needed work? program so getting two more should be easy. Eventhough Haverhill must bond for purpose, participation, and belonging Some who do apply, do not get hired or are not able to keep the job this project, thereshouldbenotaximpacttousastheSAUwillpayforitwiththe Amidstthe rubble, we leavethe fears of our smaller selves behind and because they lack the necessary skills or struggle with drug and alcohol increasedrevenues, experience the joy of living as the better angels of our nature, as our higher selves. dependence. We've also heard that farmers and food producers cannot find Now comes the bond information for the WHS project that needs to be made Do we need another crisis in our communities before we are willing to come enough workers with basic skills such as timeliness, accountability, and a clear for all to understand. Presently, we have annual bond payments of about together as one? How much further does the pendulum need to swing towardthe work ethic. $350,000 for five outstanding bonds. Inth~s case outstanding means stillneeding to extremes of separation, isolation and hatred before we are willing to become the Jobs that are typically hard to fill in the local food economy include truck be paid as opposed to saying that they were great deals, heroes we have been looking for? drivers, product operations managers, shipping and receiving, and general In two years, a couple of these bonds go away and within four years of our We are the heroes we have been looking for because this moment in time is labor like hand-weeding and working the packing line-----especially during Marchvote, they are all gone. The bond cost oftheproposedWHS campus project calling out to every one of us to become one with all of who we are,just as we should be about $200,000 per year based on 20 years. Except for amodest bump are. Until we become one with ourselves how can we become one with each the harvest season. There is also a need for skilled meat cutters, cheese for two years, we can do this project and see our bond costs decline substantially, other? How can we be kind and respectful of each other if we are not kind & makers, HVAC installers, food safety inspectors, and experienced JustlikethemovingofelementarystudentstotheNorthHaverhillcampus, these respectfultowardsourselves? managers, plans are made with the need to improve our facilities and keeping taxes at or below We are the heroes we have been looking for because this moment in time is In addition, too few businesses in Vermont, employ human resources present levels inmind, asking all of us to be vulnerable with one another and begin sharingthe stories of professionals to work with owners to develop a compensation philosophy Repeatedly overthelastyearormore, we have needed to remind people that our lives, in shadng our stories, we will be able to help each other fmdasenseof and workforce development and training processes. Often employees need the amount of these bonds are not expenses but investments inthe quality of our peace with our past. And, rather than being judged, we will be loved even more additional on-the-job training before they can be fully productive, which schoolsandinvestmentsinthereductionofourtaxes.Icommendthemembersof forourbravery.Asweshareexperiencesthathavebrokenourhearts--thethings can be challenging for employers to provide, the facilities committee and the school board for their work and vision to solve that have happened to us and that we have done to others--the hearts of those In some cases these jobs cannot be filled because of low wages, but not problems and reduce school costs in the process, present will also break. It is the sadness we collectively feel that brings us together always. Wages in the local food economy are competitive and often above The last part of this series will be based entirely on the information brought as one. the state's $10 minimum wage. Farmers and producers often pay anywhere forwardatthe meeting on Dec. 21. Intheory, there will be discussion onthe merits How devastated did we feel five years ago on Dec. 14 when we heard the from $12.38 to $17 per hour, with annual salaries of over $50,000+ for or lackthereofofgoingto atuitionprogram for the high school, news from Newtown that a mass shooting had taken the lives of 20 innocent professional employees in higher level positions. The range of jobs in our The schoolboard has already indicated that they willnotbe in support of this children who were 6 and 7 years old? Wasn't the pain unbearable? Can we food system varies widely. There are jobs in quality as suranc e, marketing concept but agree with the need to thoroughly examine the concept in full view and imagine what it felt like for their families to experience such an unfathomable loss and brand development, accounting, information technology, shipping and withthe participatin fthe public- We have said all alng that this cncept must be just days before Christmas? receiving in a farm or food business setting, and other professional decidedbythevoters. It seemed our nation had reached its lowest point which would serve as a posttlons just as there would be in other industries. :!~,;~=~;~i ~ Richard Guy, chair wake-up call. Instead, within minutes, the finger pointing began, and as they say So, when we talk about Vermont s workforce,~portant to Haverhill Cooperative School Board in 12-step meetings, when we have one finger pointed at someone else, we have remember that this is a complex issue. It's not a simple argument about ....... #,#.#, .... .... threepointedbackatourselves.Itseemswehaven'tleamedthereallessonfrom h =.i : n --' bs ai oodwa es orVermont'sa in o ulation The lneflrstpart o]me sertes, .averm, scnomprojects require oatance, NewtownwhichisthatWethePeople, the ones in charge ofour democracy, need _a~e ougn~ ,p y ngg _ ge., ..... ag~ gp. p ",. appeared in the Oct. 25 edition. The.second part "The calculus in to hold o~r~l,ves agcotmtable for our role in creating a society in whida so many v nt tooa economy has p enty o joos avauanJe lnese roDs--much to , ........ : ............ . ............. '. _~i~= _L.---. : ~2"~-'22~..,, ~~2 ..... v,z: ^c1~.~ . J~'n-~ ..: ;...,.-;,. consouaanng~-campuses; appearea m me Jvov. zz eamon, massshooting~l,w(yleegdcurred. Safarin2017,onereportindicatestherehave p~l~n~/~ ~mla~~t~u~m w~t~, qtm, ty ot m~.mtu oat~pta~t~utmy ~.: , ~ ..... ~ ? " been 394.'' ~ r ' .... ; ~ ...... ~ to be part of a growing sector of Vermont's economy. The jobs are there, '" . :' ' : How mu~Ll~nger~e We the People going to tolerate more than one mass shooting p~ day. How much longer are We the People going to tolerate children and the local economy needs hardworking, skilled peop i fill, them. ### Kahler is executive director of the Vermont Sustainable J~d. ON THIS DATE On Dec. 13, 1991, North and South Korea signed a treaty of reconciliation and nonaggression, formally ending the Korean War--38 years after fighting ceased in 1953. This agreement was not hailed as a peace treaty, and the armistice that was signed July 27, 1953 between the United Nations and North Korea was to remain in effect until ti could be transformed into a formal peace. ### Dec. 13 is Santa Lucia Day in Sweden, a nationwide celebration of festival of light honoring St. Lucia. Many hotels have their own Lucia, a young girl attired in a long, flowing white gown who serves guests coffee and saffron buns in the early moming. ### Three actors celebrate birthdays on Dec. 13: Steve Buscemi, born in Brooklyn in 1958; Christopher Plummer born in Toronto, Canada in 1929, and Dick Van Dyke, born in 1925 in West Plains, MO. ABOUT THIS PAGE The opinion page of the Journal Opinion is devoted to editorials, commentary and letters. The editorial on the left side under the heading editorial is the only column that expresses the opinions of the Journal Opinion. All others are the views and opinions of the authors only. We encourage readers to comment on matters of interest and will publish letters regardless of their politics providing they are in good taste. We ask that you limit letters to 400 words or less and write no more than twice per month. All letters must be signed with contact information given forverification. The publisher reserves the right to verify the accuracy of letters, edit letters for clarity, space and content, and limit the number of letters from any writer to two a month. Anonymous letters or letters judged to be libelous will not be published. The deadline for letters and commenteries is Monday at noon. They may be mailed to the Journal Opinion, PO Box 378, Bradford, VT 05033, emailed to editor@j onews.com or faxed to (802)222-5438. AN AWARD-WINNING INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER A weekly newspaper published in Bradford, Vermont. Subscription rates-- Vermont and New Hampshire--S28 per year, $18 for six months; out-of-state $35 per year, $22 for six months; senior citizen's discount $3. Second class postage paid at Bradford, Vermont. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Journal Opinion, PO Box 378, Bradford, Vermont 05033 Editor/Publisher ~ Connie Sanville Managing Editor -~ Alex Nuti-de Biasi Web Site www.jonews.com BRADFORD FAX 802-222-5281 802-222-5438 Happy holidays To the Editor: The holidays are a time for giving, a time for celebration, and a time to give thanks. I would like to express my appreciation for some of those gifts that I have enjoyed. I speak of those sanctimonious self-absorbed people who pontificate everything from what we should eat and drink, how we should live, what we should believe, how we should vote, and who look down their noses at us tminformed deplorables. I offer John Conyers, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Brian Williams, Joe Barton, A1 Franken, Anthony Weiner, Brian Ross and Hillary Clinton, to name a few. Happy holidays. 'The Americans' going to school hungry, so many of our fellow citizens without ahome of their own, who lack affordable housing, or who are just a few paychecks away from being homeless; people with addictions and other mental health illnesses who are being locked up rather than receiving the treatment they need; former inmates and veterans who lack the support they need to reenter society; so many people living with so much despair, so many people on a downward spiral; so many needless deaths from drug overdoses, so many needless suicides? We live in a culture where our worth is measured by what is external to us-- the size of our bank accounts, the size of our homes, the clothes we wear, our position and title, our image in other people's eyes, and our accomplishments. Where is such a society ultimately going to take us? Isn't the best way to mark the fifth anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy to George Husson create aheart-centered society that values what lies within us, the beautiful heart Fairlee, VT thathasbeenwithussincethedaywearrivedonthisplanet?Whetherwehave been sleeping under bridges, are behind bars, or we are part of the point one of one percent, doesn't our true worth come from the love at our core? What would it be like to live in a place where we feel great self-love and great self-respect, where we see the best in each other, where we see the divine in each other? To the Editor: We are powerful creators of our reality both individually and collectively. As an American who has lived in Switzerland for the past 48 years, Iam pained What we hold in our mind' s eye becomes the mental blueprint of our physical by the fact that the international media regularly call the current president ofthe reality. What are our heart's desires? We can create the life ofour dreams just United States a liar, an egomaniac, ignorant and a danger to world peace. And as easily as we have created our current lives. rightly so. I wishthat the supporters ofthis administration would realize that those How powerful will we be as one? How powerful is a drop of water? How outside the USA reject and even ridicule the decisions being made in Washington. powerful is Niagara Falls? We are a mighty force! It is time tojoin hands and take Concerned Americans--including the many in Vermont--must be made aware the next small step for man, the next giant leap for mankind. It is time to soar! An ofthe damage done to our reputation abroad in the past 11 months. Generalizations amazing new world awaits us all. refer to all of us. Just as we talk loosely of" the Russians" or "the Chinese," we are all included in the world s condemnation of "the Americans. To counter that decline in esteem we must support actively those combating the new swamp in Washington, D.C. Anita Fahrni-Minear West Newbury, VT Hink Herrick East Corinth, VT American Life in Poetry by Ted Kooser U.S. Poet Laureate This poem by Stella Nesanovich, who lives in Lake Charles, Louisiana, appeared in a recent issue of Third Wednesday, a literary journal. At this time of great national division it's good to see a few people in a tire shop, coming together to share their common humanity. Her most recent book is Colors of the River: Poems, from Yellow Flag Press. Everyday Grace It can happen like that: meeting at the market, buying tires amid the smell of rubber, the grating sound of jack hammers and drills, anywhere we share stories, and grace flows between us. The tire center waiting room becomes a healing place as one speaks of her husband's heart vane replacement, bedsores from complications. A man speaks of multiple surgeries, notes his false appearance as strong and healthy. American Life in Poetry I share my sister's death : from breast cancer, her youngest only seven A woman rises, gives her name, Mrs. Henry, then takes my hand. Suddenly an ordinary day becomes holy ground. ### is made possible by The Poetry Foundation. Jesus is the reason by Rebecca Farley Long ago on a dark cold night, shepherds with flocks scattered afar were amazed to see the whole sky lit up by one lonely star. There was a beam of blinding light that came from the Holy star. It lit a path in that dark night that led to Bethlehem afar. The shepherds saw the star had stopped right over a stable so lowly. This can't be the place that He lays, the King of Kings--so Holy. But in a manger filled with straw was the newbom King. And while the shepherds gathered round doves above took to the wing. The sound of camels bellowing soon could be heard from afar. For the three kings had arrived as they too were following the star. Many gifts for the Holy Child by the Kings were laid at His feet. And they knelt down before Him this King of all, in a manger asleep. This was the first night of our salvation when God sent us His only son. Yes He loves us that much each and every single one. So let's celebrate our Savior's birth and remember Jesus is the reason there should be love to all on this Christmas holiday season.