Pittman addresses Civitans on Economic Development
The Civitan Luncheon Club welcomed Ward 5 Selectman Jasper Pittman as guest speaker at Wednesday's meeting.
Pittman expressed his pleasure at the appointment of Burnell McDonald as new Superintendent of the West Point School District.
Pitman spoke on how economic development and education go hand in hand. You can't expect a town to be able to court and bring in industry without an educated workforce ready for the demands of new and technologically advanced plants such as Paccar, Aurora Flight Sciences and Stark Areospace. It is not a coincidence that these industries chose to build near EMCC and Mississippi State University. Those who scouted the area for optimum places to build their facilities knew the perfect place when they saw it.
“We need to focus on our children, here in West Point. They are the key to our future success or failures economically.” said Pittman. “Teaching begins at home, we shouldn't expect teachers and faculty in the schools to do everything for our children. Education starts at the house. We have entirely too many kids walking the streets during school hours.”
Pitman pointed out how that looks to those who consider our town for a place to start a new business. They don't want to see school age children hanging around when they should be in school. It makes a very bad impression.
Kids also need to know a GED is not going to cut it anymore. When you apply for a job online and it reads where you have a GED, have dropped out of school or have done jail time, it kicks those applications out of the system. Young people have to take responsibility for their actions and themselves. Think about the future and what you need to do to further your educational opportunities. Pittman had a lot of good advice for youth.
“Kids come in my barber shop all the time asking about jobs, they come in needing a haircut and their pants hanging down. How is that ok to look when you want someone to hire you? How can parents let their kids out the door dressed like that?” asked Pittman. “Look and act like you were raised right. Parents need to stop trying to be their kids brothers or sisters or friends. Act like parents. Be in charge and teach your kids right from wrong.”
Pittman continued with how children need structure in their lives. A strong parent who shows them they love them by correcting them when they do wrong. Children often act the way they are expected to act. Some kids will not mind at home but respond well to an adult authority figure who cares and holds them to a high standard.
Pitman commended Pilgrim Grove M.B. Church and Northside Christian Church for their after school programs and youth related activities. The churches, community, schools and parents all need to work together to do the best for the young people of West Point. They are our future.
A question and answer session followed with Pittman happy to answer the Civitan Club members questions.