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AstronautTake a moment and think back to when you were a child and recall the big dream that you knew you were destined to achieve when you became an adult.  Think about that dream for a moment. Let it linger. Embrace it.

Some of you reading this have gone forward and achieved that dream.  You climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, wrote the great American Novel, or set foot inside the International Space Station as an astronaut.  Now, some of you didn’t achieve your dream, but it wasn’t from lack of trying or from lack of opportunity. Whatever your situation, you had the means to try and fail and maybe you didn’t taste the sweet fruit of victory, but you have the experience of the journey and that experience has shaped you.

What if you were never allowed the journey?  What if growing up, your family didn’t have enough money to allow that opportunity?  What if you didn’t have the ability to access information about educational opportunities such as scholarships and grants?  What if you had to focus your efforts on finding a job to help out your family instead of concentrating on school?

While achieving a dream is a great freedom, I would argue having the opportunity to make the journey is an even greater boon – even if you don’t make it.

The lack of quality jobs in Appalachia is halting the journey for many Americans before they even have the chance to try.  While the per capita income of the United States is $39,937, the per capita income of Fahe’s service area is $18,908.  793,890 people in that footprint are unemployed.

Not everyone in Appalachia is impoverished, but a large portion of the population here goes without the opportunities presented to many in the rest of the country.

Good jobs can change everything.   Money doesn’t bring happiness, but it does allow opportunity, stability, and the time to pursue one’s passions.  Having one better paying job means that it requires fewer jobs to support a household.

So think about if you didn’t have the opportunities to go to college or the evenings and weekends free for hobbies or personal development.    Think about what it means that you or someone in your family had access to resources to allow you to chase your dreams.

Leave a comment below.  Do you think it’s fair to say quality jobs allow us an opportunity to live our dreams?  Have we missed the mark?  Let us know.

Join us next week when we discuss the question, “Why Should You Care About Jobs in Appalachia?”

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