Near the end of Monday’s joint county council and hospital board meeting, talk turned to the opportunity for Fairfield County residents to better themselves.
Fairfield County Council Chairman David Furgeson mentioned that the nuclear plant expansion at V.C. Summer is a golden opportunity but that many of the jobs go to persons outside Fairfield County due to a lack of skilled workers.
He said that folks who are unemployed or underemployed could come to Midlands Tech for free and utilize specific funds and programs to help them get a job.
“We still don’t have the applicants at these schools to get numbers at the program so our residents can get good jobs,” he said.
Ten percent of the employees at the two nuclear plant sites are from Fairfield County, according to Furgeson.
There is no reason the school should not be bursting at the seams, he said, but he noted that there is a lot of apathy in the county and that people have become complacent about jobs.
“We must change the mindset, but I know know what else to do at this point, Furgeson said. “Thus far, Midlands Tech has not panned out (as we had hoped).”
He said that unemployment needed to decrease and that person’s means needed to increase. There are jobs right here in Fairfield County and are jobs that are going to be.
District Four councilman Kamau Marcharia differed in the assessment. He pointed out that there are other obstacles in the way that represent barriers to employment, more than just apathy.
“The so-called free programs are not free, he said. it is my understanding that you must have a job first in order to get the funding,” Marcharia said.
He said at least that seemed to be the message in the community.
Ferguson countered that the county has plenty of apathy to work through but that public officials need to work together to put young people to work.
He said if public perception about barriers to employment is found to be a problem that county council must work to straighten that out and ensure the correct information is being relayed to the public about job searches and assistance to that end.