1) I was invited to participate in a panel discussion at last Saturday’s Not in Our Town symposium, hosted by the Justice Coalition of Henderson. That gathering was designed to foster some discussion around poverty and race issues in Henderson. During the panel segment I offered four opinions:
a) Better education and workforce training are keys to alleviating poverty and discrimination.
b) A positive step toward improving services for the poor would be something Kyle Hittner has suggested in the past - a Big Table gathering where all social services and nonprofits in town could gather to detail their initiatives so we all understand better what programs are doing. That can help avoid overlap, identify gaps and make certain key players know where to go for The assistance.
c) The acceptance of other ethnicities into our community (Hispanics, Burmese, etc.) won’t be easy, but it could ultimately make us stronger.
d) The least popular of my thoughts (based on crowd reaction): While some may see an increase in the minimum wage as a way to help the poor in this country, in my opinion that is not the most pressing issue in Henderson. Why? Because I know for a fact there are dozens and dozens of job openings available here and in the region that pay well over minimum wage that are going unfilled due to lack of decent applicants. Minimum wage isn’t the problem so nearly as much as minimum skills, minimum work ethic, minimum percentage of nuclear families, minimum sense of personal responsibility, minimum education and work training. I hear this lament literally every day from local employers, who can’t find enough folks who can show up for work on time two days in a row or can pass a drug test. That’s not just a local concern; it’s a nationwide problem, and attacking it will go a long way toward improving poverty statistics, both in our region and in the U.S.
2) A link to Chuck Stinnett’s Business column on Sunday, just because I think it’s mandatory reading. News about Kentucky Peerless Distilling, Papa Murphy’s Pizza closing, and Miss Marva’s Sweets.
3) Thank you to the Community Foundation of Henderson for partnering with Kyndle on the Nonprofit Leadership Seminar last Friday at One Life Church. We had more than two dozen nonprofit organizations represented there, and more than 70 participants, who heard from three experts, including Henderson native Jayne Cravens, on topics ranging from recruiting better volunteers to effective fundraising. When our local nonprofits get better at what they do, the community benefits.
4) Only about 20 folks showed up for three public informational meetings on Henderson County Fiscal Court’s proposed occupation/net profits taxes last Wednesday. The sessions were well publicized. Call me at the Kyndle office, (270) 826-7505, if you have questions. Kyndle is arranging a meeting between county business owners and managers and Judge-Executive Hugh McCormick later this week to offer the chance for more Q&A.
5) I thought this was interesting: Top things a pro recruiter looks at when considering a resume´. One nugget: paper CVs sent in the mail or hand-delivered are often non-starters.
6) Big congratulations to Union County, which has been designated Work Ready Community under the Kentucky’s Work Ready workforce program, joining Henderson County in that certification. Webster County and McLean County are both designated Work Ready In Progress and will soon become Work Ready counties.
7) The McLean County Chamber of Commerce is doing important work. Check out that chamber’s Facebook page.
8) Garrett L. Withers, the only Webster Countian ever to serve in both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, will be honored with a portrait hung in the Webster County Circuit Court room later today.
9) I’ve done another op-ed for WEVV, this time on the folly of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. It’s here.
10) Lots of great events, ribbon cuttings and educational opportunities coming up for Kyndle stakeholders. Check out the schedule here