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LETTER: Education: the way out of COVID-19

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor - 123RF Stock Photo

We’ve had a tough year in 2020, but thanks to sound advice from Dr. Heather Morrison, chief health officer, as well as the co-operation and mutual support of Islanders, we have avoided the tragic health outcomes others have suffered. Nevertheless, whole industries have been compromised due to the COVID-19 pandemic causing underemployment and job loss with financial insecurity and hardship for many Island families and businesses.

The development of COVID-19 vaccine is a bright light at the end of a dark pandemic tunnel, but given time for distribution and the seasonal nature of our Island economy, 2022 offers the best hope for a return to social and economic well-being in our province.

Education and technical upgrading is a practical strategy to carry us through the economic lull in which we find ourselves. Many courses are now offered through Holland College that prepare Islanders for good paying jobs in many industries, including hospitality, health and small business. The college has proven to be very versatile in pivoting to skills needed by industry.

A recent survey indicates that one third of unemployed Canadians are suffering from mental health issues. Availability and financial support for educational opportunities could provide hope and financial security for Islanders, as well as a more resilient return to a thriving Island economy post COVID-19.

With urgent and substantial provincial and federal support, and co-operation with businesses, investment in an even further roster of available courses at Holland College would be a great way to add value to our Island workforce providing skilled employees for Island businesses in a rebounding economy as the pandemic resolves.

A mentorship program with provision for COVID safe protocols, as well as compensation to employees and businesses would be a valuable investment justifying deficit spending this year. The immediate benefit to underemployed Islanders and suffering businesses would be followed by long-term benefit for the Island post COVID-19.

The King government would serve the Island economy, and Islanders well with an immediate, and well-funded educational strategy that will equip Islanders and businesses in leading our way out of COVID-19.

Dr. Herb Dickieson,

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