Time to upgrade yourself

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There's a lot of talk about how to make our area more attractive and marketable for new employers. Local leaders talk about upgrading utilities, Internet service, infrastructure and power to accommodate a new industry.

But our greatest resource is our workforce, and it's in need of an upgrade, too, after years of being trained to work in the textile and furniture industries.

Twin County residents are renowned for their craftsmanship, dedication and strong work ethic, but it's time to take it upon ourselves to install a new set of skills for the 21st Century. Job retraining programs through WCC and the Crossroads Institute have been successful, and now there is an effort to promote the availability of free GED classes so workers can earn that most basic and essential key to landing a job — a high school diploma.

It was surprising to learn last week that 36 percent of Grayson County residents age 18 and older do not have a high school diploma or equivalent degree. With the skills and knowledge required in most of today's — and all of tomorrow's — jobs, that issue must be addressed.

GED class organizers are making it as convenient as possible to earn the certificate, with after-work classes and no cost. The prison set to open in Grayson will provide stable, well-paying jobs, but not to those who lack a diploma.

It can be daunting to go back to school later in life, but is it any more frightening that the prospect of getting left behind as the economy evolves?

The sense of pride and personal accomplishment is reward enough, and could open doors that were closed to you before.