How amusing to see the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce jump on Gov. Tom Corbett's bandwagon regarding unskilled, drug-test-failing applicants for jobs.

Rather than promote solutions, such as better-funded education programs, more corporate involvement in schools (beginning in elementary schools), better cooperation between schools and industry to identify and promote education and skills training to handle future jobs, the Chamber and Gov. Corbett would rather complain about the problems they have in fact created, and continue to promote, through their lack of interest in seeking a solution.

Of course, that would mean spending money on programs to address the issues rather than directing funds toward overpaid CEOs and political bribery (also known as lobbying). Perhaps the chamber should start addressing business issues rather than spend so much time, effort and money on their leadership's political interests.

In the '50s and '60s we had school assemblies that spoke of the future of industry, where corporate-sponsored engineers and scientists spoke to middle school students about the exciting developments, and opportunities, in their respective fields.

Apprenticeship programs were available, partially paid for by state programs, to bring young men and women into the skilled fields needed for industry at that time. Vocational schools were the choice of many students who had no desire, nor the need, to get a college degree to pursue a job that would pay a living wage.


Unfortunately, our school administrators spend more time trying to meet obscure federal and state teaching/testing regulations than teaching our students to read and write. Few students graduate with the language skills to speak complete sentences properly, write a paragraph or to do simple math.

I have sadly heard too many young person say "I seen this" or "Me and him ..." Someone like this is very likely to be passed over in a job interview that requires someone who can speak, or write, intelligently.

Over the past 40 years we have mistakenly encouraged, and pushed, too many young people into college. Most were not prepared for college and, as a result, colleges had to spend countless hours re-educating them or, worse, dumbing down our college-level courses. The end result is our high schools fail to graduate students with a high school level education and our colleges are not graduating students able to compete in today's world.

Corporations need to do more to persuade government (Corbett) to address the issues readily apparent in all our schools. If you don't want uneducated, unskilled, drug-test-failing applicants, then get involved in our school at every grade level. If you don't reach these students, before they are pre-teens, you will lose too many of them to societal pressures that take them into drugs, peer-related group activities, etc.

Off-the-cuff comments and flippant remarks such as those our governor makes serve no worthwhile purpose.

Jim Astor

Red Lion