Politics don’t do much for me. I’m not cut from that cloth and am not active in any way at any level. No rallies, no door knocking, no phone canvassing, no volunteering. My opinions are largely my own (which is probably a good thing). I’ve only written one letter to the editor(
) and it had no political overtones at all.
But I’m about to write one that does.
The only thing is, the Charlotte Observer (if it’s still around) will need to wait a few years to publish it because the paper would be cc’d on the note below.
North Carolina has one-upped itself in terms of being a state of short-sighted nitwits. Granted, the economy continues to struggle, yet our legislature has turned back the clock by shoving North Carolina into the upper 40s in terms of per-student education spending. The budget has largely done away with early childhood education plus other deep cuts that deny public education’s role in forming kids into ready-to-go workers and an educated populace. The problem is, the extent of the damage really won’t be known for a decade or more.
Fast forward to the year 2022. Let’s say I ran a successful business that would move to or expand its sizeable operations in North Carolina. My due diligence would weigh North Carolina’s business environment in a number of ways, including the size and extent of an educated workforce. Assume, too, that the governor and other business-types were cozying up to my firm in the days leading up to my decision. This year’s actions – or non-actions – would kick in right about then.
June 26, 2022
Dear Governor and President of the North Carolina Senate:
I greatly appreciate the time and attention you gave our company as we explored our options to grow our business. There is much to like about North Carolina; a favorable business climate, ready access to transportation, a physically attractive state, and yes, your moderate weather. All of those factors, and some others too, weighed in your favor.
As you know, we asked about (and explored on our own) the scope and availability of the qualified work force we will need to help our business succeed. Your assurances aside, we are not convinced that such a work force exists today in North Carolina. We disagree that your unemployment rate signals sufficient numbers of a ready-to-be-tapped labor pool. On the contrary, it is a labor pool that from our perspective lacks the prerequisite skills we need in quantity, particularly entry-level positions. Not that we do not train our workers – indeed, we take great efforts to do so – but we expect any candidates to come to us with the fundamentals already in place so we can mold them into the productive work force we need. We are troubled by your state’s low rank in per-pupil education funding. My business takes the long term view that whomever we hire must come to us with sets of skills they have already been taught that we cannot be expected to teach. At any of our locations, we depend on a steady flow of qualified workers year after year after year.
We have decided to pursue other options for our business operations. We appreciate your attentiveness to our questions about incentives and favorable business climate, but in the absence of what we perceive to be a readily available, skilled and educated work force, we cannot stake the future of our enterprise on a state that cannot assure us of a continuous supply of qualified workers we need.