Throughout the last academic year, NPR followed a group of students who graduated from high school from Montgomery County, MD, outside of Washington, D.C. Chronicling their last academic year, while focusing on their choice of public, private or community college, they were able to gather data about the cost, if it was worth it, and how they have come to value their personal choices about how to proceed: http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/09/01/492083592/college-graduates-weigh-in-on-the-value-of-higher-education
As a former Director of Christian Education, I have long criticized congregations who recognize college graduates, and not those graduates of technical and vocational schools. As the mother of children who chose to pursue a vocational education, I find this practice disturbing; especially in light of the amount of student loan debt incurred by college graduates in relationship to their salaries. Nevertheless, I proudly acknowledge that my children make more money than I make, secure in their area of study, to the glory of God, and God’s economy.
Although the current political season seeks to exploit the high unemployment rate among coal miners, I an elated to discover a strategy has being employed to educate and train coal miners who understand that their jobs are not coming back. In fact, they recognize that the health hazards involved in working in the coal mines are substantial.
In an article on NPR “All Tech Considered” I discovered a group of like-minded persons who look past the rhetoric of the current political season to discover new ways of addressing this economic issue. “From Coal To Code: A New Path for Laid-Off Miners in Kentucky,” Erica Peterson chronicles the success of this new endeavor to assist disaffected coal miners rediscover their worth in the current economy: http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/05/06/477033781/from-coal-to-code-a-new-path-for-laid-off-miners-in-kentucky.
As faith leaders who commute from Kentucky, and other areas of the Mid-South, the economic reality is important. The prospects of persons we serve are so dismal. How do we as faith leaders respond to this situation? Bringing attention to the persons we serve can be frustrating, but not for Laurie Sharpe, the Executive Assistant to the President of MTS. Dedicating a great amount of time and energy highlighting the cultural contributions of this economically depressed community, I have personally benefitted from art work she gifted to me extolling the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!).
“Re-Discovering God’s Economy” requires that we all acknowledge and value all the contributions of God’s people. I identify with this community to the point that I consider myself a “Coal Miner’s Daughter.