Monday, September 5, 2011
Looking for a Day On
As we celebrate this Labor Day I am reminded of the many Americans who don’t want a day off, they are looking for a day on. Your job provides you with more than the financial means to support yourself. For most of us, we are identified by our profession. One of the first things people ask when meeting is “what do you do?” Having regular earned income also gives us a way to be more in control of our destiny. With a predictable source of income, you can manage towards improving your lot in life. I truly believe all our political leaders want to help. We would all like for everyone seeking employment to find it. There have been many attempts by government at all levels to pass legislation that would stimulate the economy and create jobs. The problem is that it is very difficult to create truly new jobs, particularly in new and emerging technologies. I believe we would have more success investing our time and money training people for jobs that already exist, particularly in fields where industry growth exceeds the available workforce. HVACR is one such industry. Jobs are available now for skilled HVACR technicians, even with the construction industry operating at historically low levels. Money spent in technical education prepares students for real jobs that we know exist, not jobs that we wished exist. Preparing people for a real job that pays real money makes them a contributing taxpayer. In short, the government gets the money back. Some HVACR students will be successful enough to start their own business. There are several in the Athens area who started as students at Athens Tech. One relatively small business with five employees can gross $500,000. That generates tax revenue of $75,000 at 15%. If those five employees are trained at Athens Tech, the cost of their training is less than one year’s tax revenue. Not all students will generate that kind of return, but even a student earning $12 an hour will likely pay back the cost of training in two years. For people who already have a job in HVACR, education makes them more productive. Increased productivity means a better bottom line for the government – more income to tax. It is not necessary to start new programs with new administrative costs; there are already programs and institutions in place with proven track records of training workers for skilled trades. All we have to do is support them.