Other Voices: Youth a key to improving our local economy
In an Other Voices column dated Feb. 3, with the headline of “The key to improving the local economy,” Jerry Henderson says, “They key is to work with and build on our existing strengths, to focus on what we have, not what we don’t have.” He thinks our county supervisors should “… focus on helping local job-creating and revenue-generating companies to expand,” rather than try to attract new businesses. His reasoning is that not many companies relocate, and when they do, they look for a nearby appropriate work force. Existing companies in our area also look for employees that will fulfill their needs.
Another key to improving our local economy is our young people – an existing strength. They are a potential source of employees and need to be encouraged to come back to this community with the education and skills needed to work in the high tech companies, hospitals and other firms that require engineering, math or science degrees. This, of course, is a two-way street – companies need highly educated people, and highly educated people need companies to work for.
Companies need to make our young people aware of the opportunities that exist here and encourage them to return for rewarding careers. Some local companies already provide college scholarships, as well as internships and summer jobs, to promising young people pursuing the sciences. This is very forward-looking, and it will assure a highly technical work force for these companies.
We at the local branch of the American Association of University Woman have a unique and well-designed program for encouraging young woman who excel in math and science to continue their studies of these subjects through high school and beyond. It is called Tech Trek, a science camp held at Stanford each summer for girls entering eighth grade. The goal is to reinforce their interests in science, technology, engineering and math and to introduce them to women who have careers in the hard sciences. Our objective is to help motivate girls to become the computer, electrical, civil, mechanical and environmental engineers; the doctors and nurses; the veterinarians; the medical technologists and biologists who will be available for employment in this community.
AAUW considers the young women in our community an existing strength, and we support young women in their pursuit of higher education. Our selection committee will soon choose several girls to attend this year’s Tech Trek science camp. With the help of sponsorships from local businesses, we will send eight young ladies who excel in math and/or science to Tech Trek this summer. We hope our efforts will not only result in careers in science for them but also will benefit local high-tech firms when some of them come home with degrees in hand.
Carole Gibson lives in Nevada City.
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