An open discussion to our junior and senior high school students: 2030 is just a short 12 years away. It is being predicted by 2030, almost half of the jobs in America today will be handled by robots. Think of this, half the jobs today, may be done by machines, no humans. Unemployment could be substantial while our financially broke government will not have the means to take care of everyone unemployed.

This should be a wakeup call for many.

It will be more important than ever, our youth chooses careers that may have longevity. Working locally in the building trades, i.e., plumbing, carpentering or an electrician looks promising along with good livable wages. Computer science is another area as well as health care professions.

In the not too distant future, your Mitchell County Board of Supervisors will attempt to work with our local progressive school districts to set up apprenticeships with local businesses, so interested students can have a valuable head start learning a trade, a lucrative trade, that does not have tens of thousands of dollars of student debt associated with the educational aspect.

The local school districts will have the educational expertise setting up these apprenticeship programs and the Mitchell County Board of Supervisors can provide financing through the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) legislation to make the programs doable. (TIF is not local property tax dollars.) The third leg of the stool will be motivated students willing to be at the forefront of obtaining the skills necessary to obtain good paying jobs and opportunities of owning their own businesses at some future date.

Parents should be elated about this opportunity possibly becoming a reality. The world is changing. Four year BS or BA degrees are not what they use to be. Many careers in the “trades” pay substantially better than a four-year diploma. Parents, now is the time to start working with your child on a career that can be pursued locally while in our secondary school systems. Living here in Mitchell County, Iowa, does have many opportunities and advantages.