Technology Jobs Southwest Virginia are Call Centers
The only "technology" jobs we get in SW Virginia are answering the phone. These jobs really don't pay much and receive millions in taxpayer subsidies, as much as $50,000 or more per job. The real problem in this region are low education levels and poverty wage scales which drive out most college graduates.
What makes things worse is the hostility to education in this region and refusal by many employers to hire college graduates for even the most menial jobs. One example of this is a young lady which I will call S, a friend who graduated from Emory and Henry College in Washington County, Virginia.
S worked at a local food chain in Bristol since she was in high school. Through her four years at Emory, she did very well and graduated in the top 10% of her class and continued to work for the local grocery chain during her years at Emory. On graduation, her troubles started.
For no explanation her hours were reduced first to 20 hours a week, a few weeks later she was reduced to an "as needed" status which reduced her to about ten hours a week. When she demanded to know what was going on, she was told the job really was beneath her status and she could always get a better job somewhere else.
S was frantic by this time, her teaching degree has proven useless in this region and she had no real recourse with her employer because she never was full time and it was her word against a female supervisor. The reality is nobody ever gets "fired" from a job in Bristol, they just quite. S never could find a decent job and ended up moving to Richmond.
S's story is not unusual. Another student I'll call Kim had the same problem, couldn't get a burger job until she changed her application at the next low wage job and said she was only a high school graduate. She was hired immediately and the employer went on to say how hard it was to hire "good people." Kim finally got a job in her profession in Marion, Virginia: over 100 miles a day driving, part time, and $6.37 an hour.
I can also speak from personal experience on this matter. I was informed by both Electrolux Vacuum Company and Line Power, both in Bristol, that they don't hire college people because "they are unhappy" and "tend to quite." It turns out they only hire them part time while in college, not after they graduate.
This is why a college degree is worthless in SW Virginia and East Tennessee. We have eight colleges (2 and 4 year) within a 50 mile radius of Bristol including East Tennessee State University and most graduates leave the region searching for work.
The idiots below will never have any real "high tech" jobs unless they deal with the near total loss of educated, skilled workers in this region. Answering the phone is just another dead-end job because several of the companies they've spent millions to bring in have already left.
Congressman Boucher is said to be writing telecommunications legislation and some of these phone companies they've brought in are here for him. What will happen when they don't need Boucher any longer? These companies didn't invest a penny here, what do they have to lose if they leave?
The only winners so far in this deal have been consultants, contractors, and politicians. The jobs "created" are when millions of tax dollars are spent on corporate welfare and consulting fees. Some bargain.
Written circa 2000. Still true in 2014.
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