Publisher's Note: Simple Beginnings

Last month I attended a presentation by the Federal Reserve Bank and United Way about Investing in America’s Workforce and the ALICE population — an acronym for Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed — and you can visit this site for more details about ALICE unitedwayalice.org/home.

What I want to write about is something panelist Stephen Toups of Turner Industries mentioned during this presentation. He talked about jobs and the struggle with finding employees who will show up for work consistently and drug-free. But there was one line he used that hit home for me. He said, “Someone who comes to work for us can go from entry-level hole watcher to sustainably employed and move out of this ALICE category.”

As I sat and listened, I reflected on my career. In 1986 I had that job — hole watcher.  My father was a plant guy —someone who earned a living and raised his family at one of the many industrial plants along the river — and in 1986 he was able to get me an entry-level position with a subcontractor doing turn-around work. So, for three weeks during Christmas break in college, I watched a hole.  

That job did so much for me in those three weeks. The appreciation I had for my father and the career path that job moved me toward meant even more to me than the good pay it gave a college student during Christmas.

Thank you Dad. Love you.

Todd Matherne

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