Laurels to the nearly $500,000 grant that will help Rowan-Cabarrus Community College train workers for jobs in computer-integrated machining. With the North Carolina governor (and others) calling for colleges to focus more on preparing students for viable jobs, this initiative is good use of Golden LEAF Foundation funds. (It’s also a nice 50th anniversary present for RCCC.) And bravo to the college for also extending the program to the high school level. While automation and robotics are replacing many low-tech factory jobs, advanced manufacturing is a different story. The job outlook for machinists and tool and die makers is healthy, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. About 438,000 workers were employed in the field as of 2010, and the BLS projects job growth of at least 7 percent through 2020. Median pay is almost $40,000 per year, with experienced and technology-savvy workers more in demand and able to command higher pay.
n n nDart to the continuing toll from this flu season, which has been especially hard on the elderly. Thus far, the rate of deaths for those older than 65 exceeds any prevous year of record-keeping, Michael Jhung, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told USA Today. What’s worse, health officials say that with several weeks of flu season remaining, it could still get much worse, even though the spread of the illness appears to be on the wane nationally. While influenza always poses the greatest risk for older Americans and those with underlying immune system vulnerabilities, this year’s prevalent strain — H3N2 — is especially dangerous because it hasn’t widely circulated since 2005, so previous vaccinations offer little immunity.
n n nLaurels to healthy hearts and circulatory systems — which medical experts are promoting throughout American Heart Month, The annual observance, which kicks off this weekend, helps raise awareness of the risk factors related to cardiovascular disease, with particular emphasis on preventive measures people can take such as eating healthier diets, getting enough exercise and sleep and controlling stress. Even with consumers paying much more attention to living healthier lifestyles, there’s much room for improvement. Cardiovascular disease remains the nation’s leading cause of death, claiming more than 23,000 lives annually.