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No College = Low Wages : A Muhlenberg County Call to Action

Ken-RobinsonMUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (8/29/14) — The Muhlenberg Alliance for Progress along with the Greater Muhlenberg Chamber of Commerce wants to help enhance job opportunities in Muhlenberg County by attracting good companies who pay a decent wage and offer solid benefits.

To be successful we need more than the good sites and plentiful utilities that we are fortunate to have. The most important ingredient is a rock solid workforce, which we are working to strengthen through the efforts of the Work Ready Community and “Speed Up Your Education Campaign”. All residents of Muhlenberg County have a stake in this effort whether you’re a student, parent, grandparent or employer.

If you care about your future, the future of your family and that of Muhlenberg County please read on. A new report out in July from the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics entitled “NO COLLEGE = LOW WAGES" by Charles McGrew, PH.D makes one of most compelling cases for young people to finish high school and go on to obtain a college degree. The entire report can be fond on the KCEW website at KCEWS.ky.gov. or at the Muhlenberg County Public Library.

The days of leaving high school for a high paying job in manufacturing or the mines is virtually over. Over the past 3 years manufacturing jobs accounted for only 10 percent of high school graduates not attending college. If you are one of the lucky few to secure a manufacturing job your wage earnings should exceed the minimum wage. However, the vast majority of graduates who think they can leave high school and get a high paying job in the mines or oil drilling business are sadly mistaken according to the findings of the McGrew report. In the 2012-13 period only 71 people out of 8,000+ high school graduates in Kentucky held jobs in this industry after three years of graduating. And, with the direction that coal is going the prospects of working in the mining industry is rapidly dwindling, especially with only a high school diploma.

Having some type of post-secondary education makes a positive impact on both one’s short and long range earning potential. Without a degree you are more likely to have to settle for a minimum wage job with few or no benefits and struggle to make ends meet. Having a degree helps to improve your quality of life and improves your chances of being considered for higher paying jobs. A degree provides you with a better chance to make it to an interview and have an opportunity to tell someone why you would be perfect for the job.

Muhlenberg County has taken the initiative to become a “Work Ready Community In Progress” to help tell the story that we are doing everything possible to become a great location for companies considering a Western Kentucky location. We must have a ready, willing and trained workforce to make the grade. Most of today’s jobs are requiring people who have more than a high school education. To be successful we need more well trained and educated individuals. If you are a student please seek out the advice of your career counselor and parents to help you find a way to continue your education upon graduation. If you are one of the 16percent of Muhlenberg County resident with some college who wants to return to school to complete your degree please call the Madisonville Community College, Central City Campus at (270) 757-9881 to see how you may qualify for financial aid.

Our Speed Up Your Education Campaign is gaining momentum, but we need the support of the entire community including our youth, parents, teachers, administrators, elected officials and especially our employers to make the maximum impact and help us in our efforts to attract the best jobs to this great community.

Ken Robinson, President and CEO
Muhlenberg Alliance for Progress

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