- Cullman, Alabama

May 19, 2013

Moving into the future

The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — Hundreds of local high school seniors are accepting their diplomas and preparing to turn the page in the next chapter of their lives.

Awaiting these graduating seniors is an economy that is somewhat improved, but not anything as desirable as the last generation found. The process of developing a “world economy” has been showing its weaknesses for several years as unemployment, broke governments, and an increasingly competitive environment for the available jobs converge into a frustrating scene.

The challenge today focuses on what skills to hone to find a place in the work world, Most indicators show that health services will continue to grow in demand, technology will advance, and certain trades need fresh faces. In addition to those areas, some bright people have been putting their minds to work to develop unique businesses using a combination of old-fashioned determination and new technology.

For many states and communities, public education continues to struggle to find the right appeal to keep students interested and enrolled in school. Hampered by old traditions and self-serving teacher unions, change comes slowly where education reform is concerned. Meeting the needs of the rising generation of young people will require a great deal of flexibility in public education, a new system that rewards innovative teachers and develops courses of study that satisfy both academic-driven students and those that prefer learning hands-on skills.

Cullman County stands as one of the state’s brightest economic gems. Unemployment is  reasonably low and the economy has diversity. The environment may become even more diverse and lucrative as time moves forward. The education system has generally worked well here, and the presence of an effective community college at Wallace State adds strength to building a stronger economy.

But here, as in all parts of Alabama, students will need an increasingly diverse and effective education system to realize their potential in a changing economy.