My son and I are at Sacramento State this week for “Summer Academies for High School Students,” a cool program. “Summer Academies provide high school students with the unique opportunity to explore various career paths during one-week, specialized courses while being introduced to the college experience.”
It’s a wonderful program — he’s in the health careers and biotech courses, based on his own interests — with top-notch college instructors. (For example, Dr. Christina Strandgaard earned her bachelor’s degree in nutrition at UC Davis, her master’s degree in nutritional science from the University of Washington, and returned to UC Davis for her doctorate in endocrinology — a great role model for aspiring teens).
Other Summer Academy courses include cybersecurity, government, engineering and robotics, farm to fork, fashion, fire, forensics, law enforcement, multimedia journalism and theater and performing arts.
It’s a good opportunity for my son and I to visit and talk about careers over dinner. It’s also a good opportunity for him to be exposed to some ethnic diversity — in short supply in our community. Last year, our son took a summer writing course at Sac State.
After I dropped him off at the morning class, I grabbed a cup of coffee and The Wall Street Journal. I was drawn to an article titled “In Rural American, students chase big-city dreams.”
With a dateline in Mahaska County, Iowa it read: “Many young people in rural communities now see college not so much as a door to opportunity as a ticket out of Nowheresville. The result is a redistribution of educated graduates to urban areas, which is helping to widen the divide in educational attainment between urban and rural areas.”
This is a theme explored regularly on this blog.
Our magazine also is proud to feature the more positive outcome, what we have called “Bring Them Home.” These are stories about locals who went to college or the “big city” and returned to run successful businesses or land good jobs. Examples we’ve written about are James and John Arbaugh and Wendy Van Wagner.
I don’t know where our son will wind up. He’s been having a good conservation with a local pediatrician who grew up in Colfax, went Back East to medical school and returned home.
It’s going to “take a village” to bring these youths home. And the responsibility lies with more than the ERC. It rests with all our local institutions. We need civic, political and business leaders who can inspire our youth. So far, I don’t see enough of that.
The consequences could be dire, including for the retirees who will depend on younger people to take care of them.