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The Projo reports today that over a hundred thousand dollars is being
invested by government agencies to help develop a "knowledge economy."
Presumably this will bring high tech jobs developing hardware, software
and bolstering design jobs. All of which sounds wonderful, of course.
But still I have to ask myself, who's going to be working in these jobs
of tomorrow? Currently the overwhelming majority of jobs in this state
are in the service industry. These are mostly unskilled or semi-skilled
positions which pay modest wages. A lot of these jobs ought to be
transitional ones at best; minor rungs on an upwardly mobile ladder.
Only they're often not. Social mobility tends not to reach thousands of
workers in the service sector. Part of the reason is because they lack
the skills and training opportunities of workers in other sectors. When
money is tight, educational expenses can be hard to justify. So when I
see the prospect of hundreds of possible high skilled, high tech jobs
coming to Rhode Island, I can't help but wonder who will benefit most.
Whoever it is, I doubt it will be the workers who are here now,
struggling to make a decent living for themselves and their families.

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