Tuesday, July 12, 2016

There's No Real Fix For Allentown

The Way It Once Was
A partial list of significant jobs within the city limits which no longer exist
     A&B & Swift meats
     Western Electric
     Mack Trucks
     Bell Telephone
     Allen Laundry
     Dozens of textile mills
     Several large department stores
     General Electric
     Numerous repair shops (we don't repair things anymore)
     Gas station attendants & repair bays
     Dairy, beer & soda makers
     Home delivery & huckster jobs
     Metal and large machinery repair shops

I'm sure old timers can think of many more. What each had in common was a kid could get out of high school and land one of these jobs without additional education. Most employers provided their own onsite training.

Here's The Pickle We're In
There are tons of people who graduate each year who will have none these same opportunities Few will become rocket scientists, world famous physicians or entertainment superstars. There are all kinds of reasons why these jobs no longer exist. Still the fact remains these kind of job opportunities remain a relic of the past for the average schmuck. The vast majority will be relegated to finding a warehouse, service or burger flipping job being unable to support families. Far more feeling left out in the cold and frustrated from even landing these kind of jobs.

How Do We Fix This?
One thing I can tell ya jobs scraping the ice, bartending and flipping burgers at the arena on event nights a couple of nights a month isn't going to cut it. Neither is being on call to clean hotel rooms and offices. Frankly I wouldn't wait for a political hack to come up with solutions at either the federal, state or local levels. Everything's changed.

If I were graduating high school today here's a few things I might consider * Two years will get someone a ticket in the fields of radiology or nursing
* 6-24 months earns one a ticket to become an EMT or Paramedic
* Cops get paid well requiring minimal education for some departments
* Join the Navy or Air Force (where you're not likely to get your butt shot)
* Plumbing or electrical work
* Apply everywhere for city or park work
* Run unopposed for state office (not silly as it sounds)
I'm sure there's plenty more I haven't thought of. What each has in common they require the least investment in both time and money. One thing's for sure it beats waiting around for some politician's promises. None of them are ever going to bring back manufacturing or the job opportunities of the 60's.

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