by Paul Bean
Vermont is a challenging place to live, and we want to ensure that our youth is being educated on the most valuable skills they can use to meet their expenses and grow themselves as people. Education and development is far more than tangible skills.
It’s no secret to anyone, Vermont has a workforce crisis. Our workforce crisis is representative of a much greater issue. We have a “shortage of meaningfulness.” I’ve seen this and experienced this. People feel as if their work lacks meaning, and lacks purpose.
Before the pandemic this was an issue, but has only been exacerbated by the unintended consequences of the measures we took in the name of safety. Today only 61% workforce participation; Twenty THOUSAND workers short of what’s needed. For context, workforce participation was well over 70% before the turn of the millenia.
Workforce development has long been a key component to Governor Scott’s objectives and this is for good reason. When people are given a skill, a mission, or a goal to strive for, their life is much more fulfilling.
There is a stigma about not going to college. That you won’t ever be able to find meaningful, well paid work.
Make no mistake, this is completely untrue. Some of the most successful people I know did perfectly well without attending university of any kind. To solve our workforce crisis, we need to put more energy, time, and funding into our vocational schools and trade schools.
We need to ensure all our youth are not JUST being driven to go to college because: college is not for everyone. These are challenging jobs, and some of them very dangerous! They require our best and brightest minds.
When I look at the great civilizations of the past and I see the great structures and testaments of time that have been built, I wonder, what drove them to do such incredible things? How did they even do it?
They were driven to create something great, and something that went much further beyond building for the sake of money. Money, while a useful tool, has its limits. You can throw all the money in the world at a project, but if you don’t have a team of driven, creative, and efficient visionaries, the work is MEANINGLESS, and ugly.
How can I ignite that flame? Where are the intangible values?! Truthfully, when I look back at history and the incredible feats of humans, I feel a little jealous!
When I’ve worked on job sites and workplaces, a common theme I’ve experienced is the a feeling of meaninglessness. Menial tasks, repetitive, no major objective or goal to overcome. There is a notion in the air that “welp, this is what I’ll be doing for the next 40 years so I may as well take my time.”
What are we building? Why are we working? Ultimately, we are building a better society! People feel as if their work MUST be compensated. They want to feel like their work is worth their hardships and struggles. They want the bills paid, food on the table, a roof over their heads, money aside for personal projects/passions, and for the future. People want their needs met, a dependable future. If we can offer that, we can start focusing on larger accomplishments.
If we can offer that to a young person out of college or high school then our workforce issue is gone. I can tell you from experience, we are not offering that in this State of Vermont.
I want to be an example for young people in the state that there is NO LIMIT to what you can achieve here. I want to bring our crisis of meaninglessness to the Senate, and root it out! I am sure, those who have served in the Senate for many years have lost sight of this purpose, that flame. It is time to bring meaning back to the table. With the right vision, and right legislation, we have the capacity to be an example to the rest of the world and a culture committed to greatness in our work.
-Paul Bean, Candidate for State Senate, Washington County Stowe, Orange, Braintree