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Ed Center prepares Pagosans for future job market

The types of jobs available to our youth in the future will likely be affected by two major trends in the job market.

Both trends will reduce the number of jobs available to those with minimal education and training, but will likely increase the number of jobs available to well educated individuals.

The Archuleta County Education Center (ACEC) recognizes these trends and has programs for preparing both youth and adults to compete and remain competitive in the changing job market.

One trend is the loss of jobs to other countries where production costs are much lower than in the U.S., often because the salaries are very low and regulations on pollution and safety are weak. In the U.S., one of our best means of competing with foreign markets has been increased automation to reduce production costs. But both exportation of jobs and automation reduce the need for unskilled labor in the U.S. On the other hand, automation increases the need for skilled workers.

Another trend that will reduce the number of jobs available to unskilled workers is the continuously increasing complexity of our world. Many examples of this trend can be found even in our own local building industry. What was relatively simple construction has become complicated. Simple septic systems must now be engineered systems. Solar heating systems require understanding of many technical concepts, including heat loss calculations, British Thermal Units (BTUs) and fluid dynamics. Building codes have become more complicated. With the introduction of hybrid, electric and small diesel cars, auto repair will become much more complicated.

These trends in the job market will lead to fewer jobs for people who lack basic knowledge in math, science, reading and writing. On the other hand, there will be more opportunities for people who have graduated from community and technical schools. With this shift in the job market, how will our youth who do not graduate from high school support themselves and their families?

The Archuleta County High School (ACHS), which is operated by the Ed Center through a contract with Archuleta School District 50 Joint, provides another opportunity for those students who have not been successful in the public schools to prepare for employment and postsecondary education in the changing job market. ACHS graduates have the basic skills in math, science, reading and writing required for entry level jobs. In addition to their high school diplomas, ACHS graduates now earn state and national career readiness certificates. They also qualify for admission to community and technical colleges where they will be educated and trained to compete effectively for good jobs in the future high tech job market.

You are invited to attend the ninth annual ACEC luncheon to learn more about its workforce development programs that prepare individuals for successful employment and position Archuleta County for economic advancement in a global economy. The luncheon will be held on Tuesday, April 13, starting at 11:45 a.m. at the Centerpoint Church on U.S. 160. Tickets are available for a $50 donation by calling 264-2835.