The organization is profiled in Blueridge Business Journal:
So what kind of income can a young Lynchburg resident expect from membership in YAC?
Emphasis on youth
By Deborah Nason
Despite gloomy reports of the region's young workers fleeing to more urban hot spots, many young professionals, both natives and newcomers, are indeed here. And they are creating professional, civic and social organizations to enable them to stay here and attract others.
One of the most established of these groups is Lynchburg's Young Adult Council (YAC). With 200 members between the ages of 18 and 35, and an office within the Region 2000 headquarters, the council has an ambitious civic and social agenda.
The group's initiatives include the Young Adult Links of Central Virginia social/networking group, the upcoming "Greener Grass Study" which will benchmark Lynchburg against other urban areas, and the "All 'A' Board Project" which encourages young adults to join local boards. (link)
Just kidding. But that's really what it boils down to. If a person is fortunate enough to find employment in Southside or Southwest Virginia, he or she might be inclined to join the club. But a person has to eat. And career opportunities are few and far between around here (unless you're one of the fortunate few to be selected to work in one of Rick Boucher's growing number of tourism centers).
So "the brain drain" will continue unabated.
How do we stop it?
In addition to having fine social networking and educational associations like YAC in place, we elect politicians who have other ideas besides renaming roads, naming hiking paths, and building isolated and wasteful tourist centers. We then ask them to focus on the following;
- Gross Domestic Product
1. Declare the area an Enterprise Zone, but ...
2. In doing so, rather than simply provide state and federal funding to companies that invest in their business and work to expand their workforce, reduce or eliminate corporate tax rates on manufactured goods and financial services.
3. Reduce or eliminate the costly environmental regulations and prohibitive environmental mandates that have burdened business in the area and sent manufacturers fleeing overseas.
4. Invest those tax dollars that are currently being wasted on "tourism" and instead invest them in such entities as the Manufacturing Technology Center at Wytheville Community College, the Center for Self-Assembled Nanostructures and Devices and the Center for Geospatial Information Technology at Virginia Tech.
5. Encourage foreign investment in area businesses and demand the elimination of protectionist policies.
6. Reduce the state personal income and sales tax burden. The less wealth confiscation that occurs, the more disposable income a person has to invest in his home (increasing property values) and small business (creating capital; creating jobs).
7. Encourage the foreign exchange student program and work toward an increase in net immigration to the area.
8. Demand a computer literate student population and encourage the development of broadband access regionwide.
9. Demand that our congresspersons invest transportation funds in the transportation infrastructure rather than in parks and tourist centers. (... Mr. Boucher!)
10. Develop the I-81/I-77 junction and the I-81/I-64 corridor. Accelerate the develpoment of this critical transportation nerve center. In the process, expand I-81 to accommodate increased traffic flow.
These ideas are not necessarily new. But they are foreign to the leadership here in Southwest and Southside Virginia. They concentrate on providing assistance to the poor and funding the displaced (and investing in tourism, for God's sake) - this while the poor and displaced would do much better by having a job. A career. Opportunity.
Congressman Rick Boucher and Congressman Virgil Goode will be devoting their energies this morning to doing what they do best - throwing money at problems. Today's problem of course has to do with Hurricane Katrina. At the same time, employees of Celanese and Johnson & Johnson and Lear and Dan River and Tultex and Spring Ford Industries and Buster Brown and Natalie Knitting Mills and American of Martinsville and Virginia Glove and Virginia House Furniture and Lea Industries and ArvinMeritor and Alcoa Wheels and VF Knitwear and Burlington Industries and Hooker Furniture and Stanley Furniture and Thomasville and Bassett Furniture Industries and Pulaski Furniture have packed their bags or are in the process of packing their bags and heading north. Graduates of Virginia Tech and Roanoke College and Emory & Henry are accepting job offers in Philadelphia and Manhattan and Syracuse.
I applaud the efforts of Lynchburg's Young Adult Council. But we need to do more. So much more.