The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

May 19, 2013

Way to go, graduates!


DANVILLE — Hundreds of Vermilion County residents will walk across a stage this month, smile, shake hands and pick up a diploma they earned from their school.

Whether it be from high school, college, technical school or some specialized training program, that diploma serves as a ticket to be a better job and a brighter future.

For many finishing high school this month, the diploma is just a first step. Next comes more learning, a vital decision in today’s information-driven economy.

Fifty years ago, a high school diploma was enough to guarantee a good job in one of the factories or local businesses. A high school diploma remains important today, but it often is no longer enough.

Many of the factories from 50 years ago are gone, not just from Vermilion County but from the United States as well. The global economy creates a shifting landscape, with multinational companies moving their production from nation to nation.

Today’s U.S. economy needs people with advanced skills, people who can think and make critical decisions on their own. It needs innovative, creative workers who recognize ways to make improvements in their businesses.

Today’s jobs mean a lifelong commitment to learning in order to remain viable in the workforce. Long gone are the days when being able to turn out widgets faster than the next guy for an eight-hour shift is enough to ensure a long tenure on the job.

Today’s careers embrace constant change. The ability to learn, to think and to create — in other words, brain power — are far more important than the muscle power needed by jobs decades ago.

We add our good wishes to this month’s graduates. You face a challenging and exciting future. Your success is in your hands.