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When I graduated from high school, you could very easily find work at one of the businesses in or around Fort Wayne. Some of the wages allowed you to have many of the things you desired such as a nice home, a nice car, a retirement plan, and vacations. You could provide or help with secondary education for children.

Jobs were plentiful and easily obtained when I was young. Places like the Lincoln Life, International Harvester, Magnavox, B.F. Goodrich, Essex, Rea Magnet Wire, General Electric, Joslyn Steel Mill, Tokheim, NIPSCO, Indiana and Michigan, General Motors, General Telephone, The City of Fort Wayne, and supporting businesses for the factories seemed like they were constantly hiring. I have a brother who put in applications at several factories after he graduated high school. The day after he was hired at one factory, another one called him and offered employment.

Most of the companies listed earlier are no longer considered "hiring giants" in Fort Wayne. Members of the younger generations are not able to obtain employment as easily as my generation did, even though they have accomplished more educationally. My children, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren have far exceeded what their parents have done as far as completing secondary degrees. I can see that most of the younger ones who've received college degrees have higher living standards than those who haven't completed secondary educational degrees. Having a high school diploma or equivalency, or secondary degree increases one's chances of obtaining employment and not having to work for minimum wage. Even though the business sector is such that this is not always the case, it is imperative that job seekers distinguish themselves by increasing their level of education.

According to U.S. census data, more than 33,000 Allen County residents - a little more than 13 percent of the population - age 18 or older do not have a high school diploma. Our employees take time to find out which of our clients don't have a high school diploma or GED, and help them to sign up for GED classes. I feel strongly that education is the key to getting out of poverty.

Some of the sites you can contact for GED information are: Educational Opportunity Center (eocfw.org), Anthis Career Center, Fort Wayne Urban League (fwurbanleague.org), East Wayne Street Center (ewscenter.org), IVY Tech (ivytech.edu), Faith United Methodist Church, Love Community Church (lovechurchfw.org), and Literacy Alliance (fwliteracyalliance.org). You can check with the sites to find out if they have free childcare.

Here are some great quotes attributed to some well known people; Nelson Mandela - "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."; American education reformist and politician Horace Mann - "Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance-wheel of the social machinery."; Author and human activist Victor Hugo - "He who opens a school door, closes a prison"; Aristotle - "The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet."

At the Wayne Township Trustee Office we wish to help empower our clientele, therefore we have partnered with the Fort Wayne Urban League and The Boys and Girls Club to expound the need for continued education. We work with the organizations to pay tribute to students for their success in improving their grades and attendance.

Richard A. Stevenson, Sr.
Wayne Township Trustee
www.waynetownship.org


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