America is becoming less competitive. The census shows, among the population over 25 years old in Williams, Defiance, Henry, and Fulton counties, only 15 percent have a four-year college degree. This means only three out of 20 have the learning experience to meet the challenges of the good jobs of the future.
This statistic should raise alarms for those who care about our future. A well-educated workforce is central to economic growth.
Jobs are increasingly complex, requiring people to have diverse technical and people skills. Market pressures and competition create situations where companies seek employees who can immediately respond to unique requirements. Employees must be ready to apply their skills with little time for training. Workers must possess the background and development that four-year degrees provide. Sadly, in our region, the platform for building such skills is inadequate.
We might like to isolate ourselves, pretending things will not change, but we face a reality: innovation and globalization will not slow down. Technological advances will continue to pressure our workforce to acquire knowledge and skills at a faster pace. We must realize that competition for the jobs of tomorrow occurs at a global scale. Failing to provide the hard-working people of our region with a chance to compete is a disservice to all.
Current policies are not working. Our region needs a comprehensive approach to education and development to enhance our economic appeal. We need new leadership in Congress to bring new ideas, and focus on our local needs. I believe Michael Galbraith, as our representative to Congress, can give us that opportunity.
Conrado Grimolizzi-Jensen, MBA, MOD, PhD