MINT HILL, NC – Tony Long, owner of Mint Hill Tool Rentals and an elected officer on the Board of Commissioners, is motivated to fill a need to assist our youth. Long hopes to better prepare them for the future through real-world experience in the form of apprenticeships and internships.
However, dedicated mentors are required for a program to be successful. This is where local businesses, educators, and local government can play a major role to get this worthy objective accomplished.
“There is nothing more important than gaining real-world experience,” said Tony Long. “Much too often high school and college graduates have a difficult time obtaining their first full-time job, mainly because they lack the experience that matters to employers.”
In order to fill this gap in our workforce, we need to focus on how we can improve our youth’s preparation for the job market and the real-world that awaits them after high school or college graduation.
There is a Mint Hill citizen who has proposed a course to become an elective for juniors and seniors in high school on Personal Finance and Money Management. This course would encompass the financial basics to establish a solid foundation to obtain a better understanding and appreciation for “Financial Literacy For Youth” in our society.
Having the youngsters meet and talk with entrepreneurs, small business owners, community colleges, technical schools, and trade schools about apprenticeship and internship opportunities available in our local area could help lead to good-paying careers. “We have a lot of options that are not being sufficiently utilized to create more success,” said Tony.
Long also has concerns about our education system compared with others in the world. A 2021 Survey ranked the United States 26th in the world while China is #1 when it comes to reading, math, and science. Among the top ten countries producing education for skilled workers, we are not listed in the top category. How are we going to remain competitive in the world marketplace unless this changes? Tony is convinced it must first happen and begin at the local level all around America. What can we do as concerned citizens and with our peers to make a difference? This is the challenge we face, and our future is our youth.
We are in the infancy stage of getting this type of program off the ground locally. However, the opportunity is huge, and we need to start somewhere. The dialogue needs to begin; it starts with an idea, a goal, and it will take a commitment from business people, educators, public servants, parents, grandparents, local Chambers of Commerce, and other professionals to make this a reality not only in Mint Hill but throughout the country.
This is the first article in a 3-part series on mentorship and mentoring our youth for the advancement of their futures, our community, and the nation. This writer is proud to be working together with Tony, and hopefully others in our community who have an interest in participating in a challenge that, if successful, can and will make a difference.