July 11, 2005
Martinsville Bulletin Editorial
Strategies unveiled recently to improve education and work force development in the area are an ambitious effort to make learning a valued part of this community. It is an effort everyone should support.
The Strategic Advisory Committee's Education and Workforce Development Action Committee spent nearly a year looking at the area's work force, its educational resources and the options for improving both. It devised three strategies emphasizing the value of education, identifying and establishing work force education and training, and creating quality work force education and training and 11 recommendations to implement them.
At the core of the plan is the need to change the attitude here that education is not important, as evidenced by the fact that more than 30 percent of county and city residents do not have high school diplomas or GEDs.
For years, people here could go from school to a factory job and stay for a lifetime if they chose, but that no longer is the case. Many factory jobs are gone, and the ones that remain require more skills than before. Workers without at least high school educations are destined to stay on the lowest rung of the economic ladder, and an area whose work force lacks higher skills never will attract higher-paying jobs that bring a better quality of life.
The committee recognizes that changing what it calls the bias against education and lack of parental involvement in education will take time. But that change has to happen if this area is to return to economic prosperity.
The commitment of the committee that created these strategies is impressive. And its membership from area schools, businesses, training programs and others shows the depth of community input on this plan and support for its vision.
We hope others in the area sign onto this effort and work toward the goal of making this a community where education has the highest priority.
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