A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Lauren and Rob Hudson: America is exceptional; education and training is key to jobs, the economy


This week, we focus on how education and training can make or break America’s ability to remain an exceptional country. Education and training, now more than ever, will be keys to our country’s economy and jobs.

Earlier in our nation’s history, more Americans could get by without as much education or training. Today we have fewer high-paying jobs for people who have less education or less training because many low education and low training jobs went to other countries where people earn less money. In addition, machines have replaced many jobs which used to provide a decent living.

What can we do about it?

How can we win?

We will continue to be a prosperous country, but much of that prosperity will be with more sophisticated jobs. As President John F. Kennedy said, “Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource.” We need educated, skilled citizens to attract more high-level jobs and opportunities to America.

How are we doing with education in America?

Don’t listen to those who claim that most people can’t get a good education in America. Unlike many other countries, every student in the United States can attend at least twelve years of school for free. It’s okay to debate the quality of our schools and to want them to be better, but much of our academic achievement is what we decide to make of it as students. About 9 out of 10 adults have at least a high school diploma or GED, and well over half of America’s high school graduates go to college.

Don’t buy into people’s statements that they can’t go to college or get advanced training. Every American who does well in high school has an opportunity to attend college or trade schools. People from all over the world want to study at America’s great universities. Yes, it’s easier financially for some people to go to college or get advanced training, but scholarships, assistance, or student loans are available.

The big question is whether Americans understand what will be needed to succeed in the future.

Some reports have ranked our grade schools in the middle among industrialized nations. Only about 30 percent of Americans attain a college degree. Many high school students fall short of college readiness. As Americans, we shouldn’t settle for being in the middle range.

We can turn it around. Amazing things can happen when people know how much better the country’s future can be with advanced learning. If we become better educated and trained, every good business around the globe will want to have operations in America, employing more and more Americans at higher and higher wages. American companies that need smart employees will want to grow here, rather than sending their jobs to other countries.

It doesn’t begin and end with jobs.

With more educated, smart, well-trained people, we can solve government problems, become better family members, and be better citizens. President Harry S. Truman said “Without a strong educational system, democracy is crippled. Knowledge is not only a key to power. It is the citadel of human freedom.” President Truman understood we can’t remain free and exceptional without the smarts to make good choices.

Imagine an America where nearly every young person is dedicated to learning and achieving. This kind of cultural focus on the common ground of education would move us along a path of improved quality of life, business, and government.

It can be done.

Join us next week when we explore the common ground of integrity and independence. Frost Brown Todd LLC Member Rob Hudson is a Past Chair of the Northern Kentucky Chamber and a recipient of its Frontiersman Award. 2018 Independent Author of the Year Lauren Hudson is a Singletary Scholar at the University of Kentucky.

These columns for families are based on the book “It Can Be Done” @studentsleadusa


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