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Letters to the editor – Sunday (7-27-08)

Who is going to fill biotechnology jobs?
The July 23 article “N.C. Research Campus struggling to find employees” is, unfortunately, not surprising to me at all. I grew up in Salisbury, but I now live in Raleigh, where I work in the biotechnology field. I have been following the development of the N.C. Research Campus, and I was happy to finally see an article that addressed some of my fears toward it.
Yes, the N.C. Research Campus will need “educated” people, not employees straight from Pillowtex. Anybody believing differently is fooling himself! Also, I believe a lot of people will be recruited from elsewhere to fill jobs at the Research Campus. I understand that the growth spurred by the Research Campus will improve the local economy, but it seems to me that a lot of people are just looking forward to the jobs it will bring.
I am aware that biotechnology programs have been developed at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, and that the area high schools are putting more emphasis on biotechnology training. (But after reading in the Post about the local schools’ federal testing scores, perhaps the high schools should just stick to the basics.) However, according to the article, less than 25 percent of workers laid off from Pillowtex took advantage of the educational opportunities given them by RCCC. This assistance was just GIVEN to them, and yet they weren’t willing to be trained to get new jobs?! It just shows that so much can be done to help people get back on their feet, but it’s impossible to help people who won’t help themselves.
Hopefully, the rural Southern attitude of not putting value in education (referenced in the article) will die out soon. I wonder how long before people in Rowan and Cabarrus counties start getting upset and resentful that the new Research Campus was built there.
ó Melissa A. Cox
Raleigh
Decorum isn’t lost
Janet McCanless’ lament over the bygone days of decorum (July 22 Post) is on the surface a critique of American society, which is often disturbingly unrefined. But after reading McCanless’ arguments a second time, I had the funny feeling that there is a definite hostility and discomfort behind her words.
Her offense at the sight of a backward baseball cap or a well loved, well worn pair of jeans seems a little extreme. Not only is McCanless repulsed by the fashions of the millennium generation, but she proclaims us to be uneducated and uncivilized. This is a gross generalization. We teen-agers are not so wholly lost to decorum as McCanless seems to think.
McCanless’ idea of decorum divides society into clean-cut desirables and counter-culture undesirables. Far from dividing society, decorum is intended to bring people together. In the end, McCanless’ railings against the loss of decorum, which she believes especially evident among today’s youth, reveals a common prejudice against people living outside the mainstream. In defense of my generation, torn jeans, and of course the occasional piercing, I will say this: many of us are civilized, educated, intelligent and promising young people for whom self-expression, not just the latest trend, is the current fashion.
ó Rachel Mobley
Salisbury

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