06 July 2013

An Open Letter to Sen. John Moolenaar, R-Midland

One of an ongoing series of letters I am writing to Michigan legislators about the lack of suitable employment in the state. When I receive an answer from one of the legislators, I will post it here.

Hi John,

I hope this finds you doing well. I wanted to share with my experiences since I left the Daily News, and hopefully help you understand some of the issues currently facing college graduates in this state.

After I left the Midland Daily News in 2009, I attended graduate school and completed my master's degree in English Composition and Communication in August 2012. Cheryl Wade — I'm sure you remember her — also left the paper to go to graduate school, and she received her master's in rehabilitation counseling.

Both Cheryl and myself have years of experience in journalism, and I have five more years experience as a social worker. We both are intelligent, talented, and known to be very hard workers.

And we both are unemployed. Cheryl is currently working full-time without pay as a counselor for a women's center in Lansing, where she did her internship. I am freelancing for the paper while I look for full-time work.

Next week, Cheryl will fly to Kentucky to interview for a position as a rehabilitation counselor there. You see, she has applied to numerous positions, but nothing has stuck. She has tried to find a job in Michigan — she loves Michigan and has family and friends here. But she thinks one year is enough, as I'm sure you will agree.

Today I applied for a job in Kentucky. I also want to stay in Michigan — it is my home state, and I also have family and friends here. But I did not earn my graduate degree to simply live on unemployment and whatever freelance or low-paying options I might be able to find.

My question to you and all state legislators is what are all of you going to do to stop this "brain drain" from continuing in Michigan?

Some day, the economy will stabilize here in Michigan. Some day, professionals will retire and positions will open up. What will this state do when it turns around to hire new people, only to find the best and the brightest gone, employing their talents and skills in other states, because their state had nothing for them?


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