Challenges for poor students
The Oct. 18 front-page article “Graduating, but to what?” described poor students struggling to transition from high school to employment or higher education. I commend Jadareous Davis for seeking a career path as a diesel mechanic that will pay him “real money,” but I am concerned about a $30,000 student loan debt to earn a vocational certificate. Free or affordable career and technical education at public high schools and junior and community colleges remains one of this country’s best-kept secrets.
Like many who are raised in poverty, Mr. Davis struggles with minimal family support, economic distress and deficient soft skills, including effective communication and dependability. While many tried to help Mr. Davis along the way, Lincoln Tech reached out proactively to enroll him, and I commend the school for doing so.
However, I wish adults had engaged Mr. Davis in career conversations sooner. A technical high school might have better engaged him in learning. He lived less than 36 minutes from Indianola Career and Tech Center, a public high school that offers numerous programs, including automotive service technology. The tuition at East Mississippi Community College is only $1,200 per semester, and students in a six-county district can attend tuitionfree.
I encourage parents, teachers and school administrators to talk to all students about careers, starting in middle school or sooner. Students could try a career and technical class in an area that interests them, and it may be the start of a meaningful career.
Tim Lawrence, Leesburg The writer is executive director of SkillsUSA.
I cannot get past the law-breaking, churlishness and unwillingness to fulfill job requirements shown by the young man profiled. I would not hire him — no matter his race, creed, religion or sexual orientation. He doesn’t seem to care or understand that bosses need a person to show up on time and fulfill basic requirements. I see no tragedy here, just another (deliberate, on the young man’s part) waste of potential.
Cynthia Neujahr, Severn