LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — The announcement of more than 1,600 new jobs coming to London by October is monumental for the community and kudos should be appropriately given to the many city, county, and state officials for this astronomical achievement. The City of London, Laurel County Fiscal Court and Industrial Development Authority should all be commended for their dedicated efforts to bring jobs to the area. Neither of these companies locating in London was an overnight deal and the citizens of the area should recognize and appreciate the ongoing efforts of our local leaders.
Now comes the issue of the skills of those wishing to land a higher paying job with benefits not offered by smaller businesses. Small business is the heart of every community and those must carry on.
But the new jobs — and some existing higher paying jobs in the area — have two major drawbacks. They require the ability to type. Those who did not have the ‘formal’ keyboarding in high school may not qualify for most of these new jobs.
The second is these jobs are government jobs that require a background check. Anyone with a felony may well be blacklisted from obtaining a job of this nature, although that felony charge may have been decades past.
There are many in the area who did not complete high school or obtain a GED, another restriction on many of the “better” jobs in the area. Long before students were required to remain in school until age 16 (and now age 18), many residents in the area dropped out of school to raise a family or get a job. People in their 40s and 50s who took vocational classes and graduated from high school may still not have the clerical skills to land some of the new jobs that will soon fill the area.
Those without technical skills have few offerings other than factory work, which may not have the job availability’s of these new companies, thus still lending some level of unemployability to select residents.