JP column

There was more to last Wednesday’s meeting of contractors, military personnel and government officials at the Civic Center than meets the eye.

It represented a 12-month process of a dream becoming reality for the Jones County Commissioners.

Did you all think it was purely by chance that something so huge that will ultimately effect all of eastern North Carolina – maybe the entire nation – took place it Jones County? If so, think again.

The Military Growth Task Force represents seven counties: Jones, Pamlico, Duplin, Carteret, Craven, Onslow and Pender. Jones is pretty close to being centrally-located, and I’m sure that strengthened proponents’ argument, but in terms of population density, it didn’t make a lot of sense to have it here.

You can thank your county commissioners for this wealth of job opportunities being in your back yard, residents.

I have heard – and have no reason to consider it untrue – some commissioners have worked quite hard with folks at LCC and Camp Lejeune to organize classes to offered locally that are specifically tailored toward producing electricians, cabinet builders, sidewalk makers and homes, among other things.

I even heard they would offer grants for this (and this is something I heard – not something I’m throwing in here based on personal experience).

It’s all part of the push by your local government heads to give more jobs to Jones County residents – even if some of those jobs are outside the county.

Speaking of last Wednesday’s meeting, am I the only one who was struck by how internet-based looking for a construction job with the military seems to have become? Sure, it’s a decent way to weed-out the guys who have no business applying for a job so prime contractors don’t waste time meeting clearly unqualified candidates, but what about the guys who a.) don’t have access to a computer, b.) can’t navigate the Internet very well, or c.) a combination of both?

There are probably some highly-skilled subcontractors out there who will hit a brick wall when it comes to getting a job at Camp Lejeune for this reason – and that’s a pity.

But, then again, it is what it is. The jobs are available, presenters said, so now it’s up to those seeking employment to clear that hurdle. They’ll figure it out if they want the job bad enough.

Besides: there were at least a dozen contractors there people could network with in person, the old-fashioned way … a few who I spoke with were looking really, really hard for help, too – I probably could have gotten work with some, and I can’t even build a gingerbread house.

Good luck to all the men and women who viewed this job fair as treasure chest of opportunity during these miserable economic times – and if you strike gold because of it, don’t be afraid to thank your county government for bringing it to you.

It’s one area where these men and women seem to be looking out for you.

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