Today was my 3rd day in Safety Class for my Tsunai Relief job. Between 11 and 2pm there was a "company BBQ." 250 workers of which aabout 40 were students going through safety classes like myself met – to get fed (by the company on the clock), to hear the people that organized it, the city, county and harbor to give us all a pat on the back for good work, for what has been done to the community (weed clearing, curb painting, painting, disposal and some repair construction, new sidewalk, cleaning, painting, etc.). At lest one-third have been out of work for 2 years. Another 1/3 at lest 1 year, and the rest just since the Tsunami of March 11th this year.
There was a spirit in the air of the building that you could almost cut with a knife A sense of purpose, belonging, regained dignity and gratefulness that of the 700 applications, minus the 430 other people that didn’t get a job, pass drug screening – they would have an income – and an unemployment check when they make their $12,000. There was an awareness of a community coming back together and in many ways not like it has known since 1965 after the 1964 tidal wave. Not like since the timber industry was killed by the environmentalist and the spotted owl.
A seed has been sown. Having so many people come together is not only just "temp work," it is the creation of a cauldron – in which ideas will boil and create a rich stew. The participants are getting Federal, State and recognized OSHA safety training for their future resume’s. Some who have never even had a job will learn self discipline. Those who have had a job will acquire new skills. Much like the military – this is government subsidized WPA – the building/reconstruction of tomorrow’s workforce.
Business will be born out of all this. Some of them will be MINE. I sat across from a kid, who had to be in his early 20’s who had mushroom picking experience. What are the odds? I saw the future workforce of Smith River Industries today (NOTE by publisher: Smith River Industries is a business idea by the writer). I talked to the Mayor, greeted all the people whom I’ve rubbed noses with at city council meetings, board of supervisor meetings, or schmoozed at Chamber of Commerce mixers that all played an important role in making this project come together.
FYI, today only 16% of the US population lives in/on the rural countryside. If the economy goes into a slide the cities will fall first, the furthest and the hardest. There is a tomorrow but the country and the people are here now.