Earlier today, we reported here that Albany’s unemployment rate rose to 9.7 percent for December of this year. That was up from 9.2 percent in November, though it was down from the 9.8 percent it was in December of 2011. The question is, what is to be done about it?
First, let’s note that it was down one-tenth of a percent from the year before. That’s good, though it’s not all that good if you’re not one of the one-tenth that got a job. It’s a sign that things are moving in the right direction. Unfortunately, it’s very, very slowly.
Now is the moment when you probably expect me to jump on the city and county commissions, the school board, and everyone else in local government. Well, you’re in for a surprise. I’m not.
That’s not to say I don’t believe they bear at least part of the responsibility for our current mess. However, blame isn’t going to really help a whole lot right now. We’ve got bigger fish to fry at the moment, and that’s all about getting more and better jobs here to Albany and making it back into The Good Life City that it used to be.
First, and these are in no particular order, I’d like to urge the city commission to follow through with a proposal for the use of their third of the MEAG funds. The proposal involved creating a “closing fund” that would help lure new businesses to town. Using that, and using it for the right kinds of business, and we could see an increase in employment that would continue to grow.
Next, I have to address the Dougherty County School System. I said I wasn’t going to jump on them, and I don’t mean to, but they have to do a better job. One of the biggest complaints employers have is the lack of quality applicants. It’s a problem, and it’s one that needs to be addressed. Frankly, that falls on the schools. They have got to educate students better.
That said, it’s not all on them. There is a large subculture in Albany that holds no value for education. They just don’t think it’s a worthy use of their time. These individuals would rather steal for their daily bread than to actually earn the money. On that front, I call on the churches of Albany, regardless of their affiliation. Folks, a depressed economy isn’t a white or black issue. It’s not a Protestant or Catholic issue. It’s a people issue. The churches are the best capable of stepping in and helping to reshape the culture of Albany into one that values hard work and education.
We didn’t get here overnight, and we’re not getting out of it that quickly either. However, I do believe we need to recover just a bit quicker than we currently are. All Albanians need to step up and band together, put aside past differences, and realize that we either work together or we all go down with the ship.