Monthly Archives: March 2011

Brain Drain in Maine

For years, we have all hear about “the brain drain”, an issue that plagues Maine’s economy and sees hundreds of new grads leaving the state in droves. In May, a new contingent of graduates will receive their diplomas from Maine’s colleges and universities, but the lack of jobs available in the dismal economic downturn we are currently facing leaves few positions up for grabs. The problem remains as we continue to see employers leave the state for areas which are more lucrative for business.

For those out of the know, the brain drain refers to a phenomena in which young, college educated individuals leave the state in order to seek employment opportunities. With this large-scale departure of those with marketable skills, Maine sees it’s economy struggling to withstand hard economic times in industries where blue-collar workers prevail. However, with most jobs seeking candidates who have years of experience, it is no doubt as to why recent graduates struggle to find careers in their specific fields of study. Were the brain drain really as primary of a concern as politicians make it out to be, employers would be embracing the enthusiasm and fresh perspectives that new grads bring to businesses instead of turning them away, forcing people to decide between pursuing their career goals or staying near family and friends.

Of those I know who have graduated in recent years, very few are able to get jobs pertaining to the areas of discipline in which they hold a degree. Certainly not for lack of effort, many find themselves settling for jobs in which they will be able to pay off student loans, losing hope that they will ever be able to break into the career path in which they originally wished to find themselves working in. With the state of Maine holding little career opportunities for those who have big dreams, the only people we have to blame for this deficit of educated individuals are those employers who fail to reach out to recent grads as well as the political climate which does not offer ample benefits for those businesses who wish to bring their operations into the state.

As I embark on my own personal job hunt, it is shocking to discover that there are very few entry-level positions available, leaving few options for those in a similar situation as myself. Reluctant to leave the state that has nurtured my young mind and provided me a safe harbor for the last 22 years of my life, it comes down to making touch decisions whether to stay behind and wait for the dream job that will likely never come or taking my degree as I embark on a career path to success in another state.

While the thought of bringing new business to Maine during hard economic times might seem daunting to some, it is a necessary force in order to combat the evil brain drain. We must provide jobs that will stimulate recent graduates of our state’s colleges and universities, giving them incentives to add to the state’s economy instead of taking their talents elsewhere. Many large corporations might see Maine as the last place to do business, but in all reality, it is bursting with opportunities. With a growing pool of hard workers and plenty of vacant factories and warehouses that could be put to good use, it’s a shame that these resources remain untapped.

Until both businesses and politicians recognize that the brain drain is a huge problem, it is unlikely that we will see any noticeable decline in the number of graduates leaving the state. With so many possible solutions to the problem, it seems that the issue could have been fixed long ago with collaboration between both business and political institutions. This is not the case however, and until it is drastically overcome, we will, as new grads, continue to seek out other employment in places far away from home.

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Carefully Donate to Trustful Organizations

In the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that ensued in Japan as of recent, there are many concerns as that country begins to pick up the pieces. With natural disasters on the rise, the global community faces many issues that arise in the wake of tragedy, as is the case currently underway on the island of Japan. A nuclear disaster eminent, the emission of radiation is something we all must consider. With incidents such as Chernobyl and Three Mile Island coming to mind, we must remain optimistic that the Japanese people will be able to overcome such tragedy and rise to the occasion in order to rebuild the country.

At the forefront of this tragedy is the Japanese people. Living in a country that has felt the wrath of natural destruction, the Japanese are struggling to acquire even the most basic of needs and it is time that the global community reaches out during this difficult period. As organizations come together to help those in their suffering, a large-scale sense of community is felt. With search and rescue teams being brought in from various locations around the globe, it’s truly amazing to see the unity of individuals who don’t even share a similar language or cultural beliefs. Just weeks ago, relief workers from the United States were working alongside their Japanese counterparts to aid the victims of the earthquake in New Zealand, and now they are coming to the rescue of those they once worked beside. Coming to the need of others is exactly what we should be doing, but unfortunately there are individuals who seize this opportunity to scam those who wish to help.

Just as we saw with Hurricane Katrina, people are collecting funds under the pretense of it going to Japan, only to benefit those scheming enough to take advantage during crisis. While we might want to give money and help out in every way that we can, it’s also important to make sure that money is getting into the right hands. Overhearing a conversation at a local establishment, an artist expressed an interest in raffling off her craft in order to raise money for the relief efforts. Others in the room were skeptical as to which organization she would be donating too, strictly because of the questionable practices of those groups who claim to donate but fail to follow through on their promise. This woman, however, was quick to note that she donates directly to the Japanese Red Cross, and I couldn’t think of a better way to ensure that help gets to the right place. It truly is tragic that we live in a world where we have to question the motives of others. While it should be human nature to help those suffering, others have their own personal agendas to attend to first. Seeing images of the destruction in Japan should be enough to deter people from taking away resources to the Japanese, yet people still do it regardless. Assuming that these people lack any conscience, it is those that wish to help that must first find a worthy and reliable organization to deliver the goods to those in need. Shooting a quick donation via text might be simple, but is it really going to the right cause?

Before eagerly pulling out your wallet or willing opening up your bank account to the tsunami relief effort, first make sure that your money will actually will be benefiting those who can really use it, not scam artists who will lavish in your generosity.

With this being said, Yahoo offers a great list of organizations that are accepting donations to the Japanese relief effort and are trusted internationally. These include the American Red Cross, Save The Children, and World Vision. Do what you can to help, but be wise in the channel you choose to donate to. We all want the best for those who are suffering and with a little responsible research, we can do a lot of good.

Wonky Warlock

Are you winning? Has Charlie Sheen inspired you to be the best you can be? With the constant bombardment of information about Charlie Sheen and his utterly chaotic life, its hard not to bring some attention to what the media is having a field day reporting. While it might be fun to poke fun at this ridiculous self-proclaimed warlock, it really is a tragedy the amount of amusement America is getting from such a tragic situation. Instead of giving Sheen the attention that he so desperately craves, it would be much more worthwhile to address his addiction and mental instability, finding a way to get him help for the problems that he presents.

As a product of three failed marriages, Sheen has five children. His life unarguably out-of-control and his children being taken out of their father’s custody, Charlie Sheen should be much more concerned about being a good parent and doing everything he can to be a positive role model. Instead, it appears that he is doing everything to prove to America what they already know: Sheen is a victim of substance abuse and narcissism. Promoting Charlie Sheen’s infamous bad boy behavior is the fact that he has set a record in getting the most amount of Twitter followers in the shortest amount of time. Currently with almost 3 million followers on the social networking site, Sheen posts constant updates of his irrational way of thought, constantly insisting that he is “winning,” regardless of the fact that he is no longer employed and separated from his estranged wife, Brooke Mueller.

For the past few weeks, we have grown accustomed to getting our daily dose of Sheen, whether it be on the Today Show or whatever news outlet we turn to for our intake of the celebrity. Some might have been disappointed when greater news stories took over the Charlie Sheen segment of our daily newscasts, but quite frankly, I couldn’t be more pleased. By profiling the downward spiral that Sheen is uncontrollably falling into, we are almost glamorizing his substance abuse and crazy outbursts. By no means is this nearly as entertaining as the media is making it out to be, and really people should be feeling a genuine sense of sorrow for the disarray Charlie Sheen currently finds himself in.

Call it a midlife crisis or a mental breakdown, there is no exception to the outrageous antics that Sheen takes great pleasure in showering us with everyday. This is not the first time that a celebrity has gone through a crisis of such nature; the tabloids have always been first to report the disruptive behaviors of Britney Spears, as well as the breakdown of Michael Jackson. Under constant scrutiny of the media, every action of a celebrity is an event and one that must be heavily analyzed by America, deciphering what each action means. In the case of Charlie Sheen, his actions indicate a man who is in dire need of help. Clearly the love and support of his family nor the motivation of his children is what he needs to conquer his problems and he now turns toward the greater nation for encouragement, not realizing that his inflated fan base is more entertained with his off-the-wall statements more than anything else.

As is the case with anyone dealing with substance abuse, it’s a shame to see Charlie Sheen throw away his life and succumb to an addiction that rips his best talents away from him. Next time Sheen announces another episode of his webcast “Sheens Korner” resist the urge to tune in. The more supporters he has, the less likely he is to actually get help, instead being encouraged to crazily rant about tiger blood and whatever under nonsense he comes up with during the airing. This only encourages him to continue doing what he’s doing, which is clearly not working. Charlie Sheen, stop trying to redefine “winning” and be a REAL role model for your children and America alike by getting some help.