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Letters: Public works project would ease job crisis

Public works project would ease job crisis

We wonder why less-skilled or unskilled workers have so much difficulty finding jobs in today’s work environment. Much of the problem can be associated with the fact that jobs that were once available to them are gone, or require much greater skills. Many of the jobs that are gone are now done with computer, robotics and artificial intelligence. This automation will never be reversed. As an example, jobs in manufacturing decreased by over 1.8 million from 2006 to 2016 These are typically higher-paying jobs.

Here are some propositions that I believe will help America create jobs for the underemployed and undereducated, and eventually result in very significant contributions to American economy. This would have to be a very large undertaking, similar to the public works program conducted during the Great Depression.

My major thesis is that large and small beneficial infrastructure works be initiated throughout the country that will create new jobs for unskilled, disadvantaged and unemployed Americans. Serious infrastructure needs include upgrading or replacing of old, failing wastewater treatment plants, such as the Niagara Falls treatment plant; replacing of failing sanitary and storm sewers; repair and replacement of unsafe bridges, unsafe roads and deteriorated highways. The list goes on and on.

Give the poor and undereducated the education and training to be productive members of the U.S. economy. They can be initially put to work as low-skilled laborers, and receive on-the-job and classroom training to advance on their own merit. In other words, let them become that which they are capable of becoming. Although this would be an extended and expensive national program, there would be enormous long-term benefits to the national economy and social fabric of the nation.

Richard P. Leonard

Orchard Park

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