Skills shortages

More than half of firms in a recent Business Roundtable survey “believe that skills shortages are problematic or very problematic for both their company and their industry.” Thankfully, Congress recently passed the bipartisan Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act, which will direct $1.2 billion into workforce-training programs.

But federal dollars won’t close the skills gap without help from the private sector. Businesses must invest more time and resources in workforce development by offering technical training and internships to kids when it really matters: in high school. Capital One, for example, has hired high school interns since 2014. One intern created an app to hail the company shuttle bus, so it would stop running empty and wasting fuel.

Companies must take an active role in developing talent. America’s future workforce depends on it.

Sanford I. Weill, Founder and Chairman, National Academy Foundation

Two for the road

I thank the Tribune-Herald for two letters it published on Jan. 22. One letter by Mike Miller titled “Who’s essential” commented on who is considered an “essential employee” for determining who receives pay during a government shutdown and who does not. If you read it with somewhat of an open mind, it makes a lot of thoughtful points. Certainly it does not seem reasonable that just certain employees of the federal government are listed as “non-essential” and do not receive pay while the president and Congress continue receiving pay and expense accounts.

The second letter, by Nonie and Tina Orosco, was titled “Two-Headed Snake” and concerns Baylor University’s approach to some Pi Beta Phi sorority members singing along with a video that includes filthy words and expressions including the N-word. Many questions in coverage of this event are answered by this letter: The snake does have two heads and it begs the question of why Baylor does not address both heads.

Robnett Martin, Waco

Impact fees

An impact fee for new development is long past due, but it must be countywide. If it only applies to the city of Waco, it will drive development to nearby cities and, worse still, to unincorporated areas.

The farther out the development, the more it requires additional infrastructure and services, much of which will be funded by county taxpaying residents. We already incentivize sprawl by allowing those in unincorporated areas to evade city taxes while county roads, driven almost entirely by them, are paid for by all county residents. This evasion is exacerbated by those who gain a lower agricultural tax rate by growing hay or having a few animals.

Let’s elect county leaders who will require an impact fee on all new development, in and out of city limits.

Bill Franklin, Waco