“Bright Spots After a Hard Week” an Op-Ed by Jared in the Daily Item

(from November 16, 2016)

Last week was hard for our country. No matter who you supported, you were either disappointed in the result or in how people reacted to the result. It was also hard for our city. We learned of a daunting fiscal setback that requires our urgent attention. The week ended with images of a brush fire in Lynn Woods.

We are focused on solving those problems. We have also been working all along on our longer-term priorities. Considering the difficult week, I thought you might be heartened by the following update on our progress towards one of our longer-term goals. Especially since I think it has broader implications.

In Lynn, like the rest of the country, one of the biggest long-term priorities is jobs. Like many of the cities in other parts of the country that the pundits got wrong in the presidential election, Lynn is a working-class city that has been hit hard by the loss of manufacturing jobs.

So it is with great pride and optimism that I share that Lynn Vocational and Technical Institute (Lynn Tech) has some announcements. It is completing an application for a state grant to establish an information technology and networking program. Its plans to open an HVAC program are progressing promisingly. Its health technology program is adding training in EKGs and phlebotomy (blood work). Its machinist program is thrilled at the news that General Electric is setting out on the largest local hiring spree in recent memory. And with investments in Lynn Tech having yielded opportunities for adults to take classes, the Community Enrichment Program is having a successful second year.

Boosting vocational education is, in my opinion, a perfect example of one of the ways forward that can bring us together towards an economy that offers more opportunities. Lynn Tech alumni know better than anyone the value of good vocational programs. They actively and enthusiastically support the school’s current students, whose backgrounds are quite diverse. The alumni’s support seems to me like a great example of identifying opportunities amid hard economic realities and working together to give people a better shot. If you want to see it in action, they are running a terrific event this week at Lynn Tech, their 2nd Annual Festival of Trees.

None of this is meant to distract from the troubling issues we face today – problems that must be solved without easy answers. But as we do that, it is important to define our Lynn community inclusively and remember that there is a lot we can agree on that will help Lynners make their way in today’s challenging world.

Jared Nicholson is a member of the Lynn School Committee.