Letters and Opinion

Stick to business reporting

September 21, 2013

I’m puzzled by your [Sept. 16] stories “The Brain Drain is a Myth” and “Too Few Jobs for Science, Tech Graduates” and their excessively academic focus on the very practical issue of why there are too few Hoosiers working in high-paying jobs to power our state’s future. The articles debate whether we are losing out early, as people graduate from college, or later in their careers when they might be ready to return.

But the answer to that timing question is far less important than the undisputed fact that less than 20 percent of our work force today holds or, apparently, needs a four-year college degree—increasingly an essential credential for high-skilled, high-paying employment.

Fundamental problems usually have many causes; they merit treatment from every productive direction by our public, not-for-profit and philanthropic leaders. If we are producing an outsized number of qualified university graduates compared to other states, then we are remiss if we don’t do everything we can to convince and enable even more of these promising young people to start their careers here.

If we are failing to attract mid-career professionals to return home because our communities are not sufficiently attractive, we need to meet the competition for talent on that creative field as well.

But most of all, we must be redoubling our efforts to generate many more technology-intensive, skill-demanding jobs in leading Indiana sectors like life sciences and health care, energy and logistics, defense and advanced manufacturing that hold the highest promise of reducing our disturbing, downward slide of per-capita income compared to other states. “Offering attractive parks” and “mowing the medians” will do our communities little good if they lack the best jobs to give skilled workers something to do.

On this issue, IBJ’s focus would be far more productive if it remained, indeed, on Hoosier business.
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David L. Johnson
president and CEO, Central Indiana Corporate Partnership
 

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