Youth, Families & “The Brain Drain”September 9th, 2011
Our families. Most of us would say they are the primary focus of our lives. Families sustain us, shape us and propel us. Strong families are the golden thread woven throughout strong communities. Now, let me share two stunning statistics about youth and families:
1) Research shared at the recent Southern Indiana Rural Communities Summit, hosted by Rep. Sue Ellspermann, revealed 2,020 residents ages 25-44 left Dubois County in the last 10 years!
2) Jasper High School projects that only 1% of the Class of 2012 will enter the workforce. 99% of this year’s senior class will advance to further education or training!
These extraordinary trends have been identified as “Brain Drain” and they are occurring all across rural America. While there’s no magic pill we can take for a cure, the approach I advocate on the municipal government level is to connect with and actively engage the next generation by:
…Openly discussing the issue and seeking solutions from a younger perspective.
…Promoting “bottom up” initiatives such as Jasper HomeTown Competitiveness with its Youth and Family pillars.
…Encouraging participation by younger residents in governing and discouraging “good ol’ boy” attitudes.
…Communicating just how integral it is to Jasper to continue the development of families.
…Creating an environment for an entrepreneurial spirit and economic diversity.
As a father, I consider myself fortunate that my daughters were able to return home to live, to work, to thrive. The cure for the Brain Drain starts with a new way of thinking. Babe Ruth said it best…
“Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games”
I believe Jasper’s best days are still ahead. If you agree, vote for me on Tuesday, November 8.