SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



The "Younger" crowd
By Rick Grams


April 18, 2006

Here we are facing the end of April already. The feeling in the air is one of renewed energy as the summer (and busy) season gets closer and closer. Recently, while walking through the downtown area one afternoon I couldn't help but notice many of the buildings getting a cleaning from the winter weather. Other stores have people scurrying about rearranging artifacts and trinkets in preparation for the newest tokens of Alaska to be displayed.

It is always invigorating to see our town come out of the winter slumber, ready to show off its best and tell the tales of Ketchikan both current and past. To be sure, it is the history of this town which continues to be one of the best assets around. Even the most imaginative writers in Hollywood couldn't come up with the unique history that has unfolded right here in Ketchikan!

Then, when I think of history I automatically balanced the thought with the prospects of tomorrow. Specifically, who would be the people to continue this colorful history and where would they get the real knowledge from. It was with that thought; the image of "The Younger Crowd" came to mind.

According to the United States' Census of 2000, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough has 1,736 people between the ages of 15 ­ 24, which means approximately 12%. Therefore, prior to when the season kicks off with cruise ships sitting at the dock, every 12th person out of 100 that walks by your particular place of business will be a person of that younger generation.

What does this mean to Ketchikan? Here is a thought. Ketchikan business people are a strong part of this town's history. Since we are an active part of that history, the opportunity to bring some of the people in the 15 - 24 age groups into our environment becomes one of knowledge sharing. It will be the sharing of knowledge that keeps our history alive, and provides the experience needed for our young people to grow up and become local knowledge experts themselves. That is the social impact of business in Ketchikan.

Speaking from a specific business point of view, investing in the people of this younger generation provides the business with an employee who may work in the business for at least a couple of years. There is not a business owner I know who relishes the thought of teaching a new employee the "ropes" of that particular business. However, employing a person while they are finishing up high school or college provides the business owner with an employee who will not need to be shown the "ropes" at the beginning of each year's busy season.

I encourage business owners and other organizations to weigh the potential of this scenario. Teaming up a person of little or no experience with a business full of experience seems to have merit. Look at your employee base; see how it compares to the 12% segment of our population. If the business areas of Ketchikan do not involve our younger generations with the experience and opportunity to work in the economy we will certainly not have any right to complain when they move on to the lower 48 and only come home for the holidays. There is plenty of knowledge and experience in Ketchikan, and our younger generation is a prominent factor and a hidden asset in the continuance of our town's history.

About: Rick Grams
Ketchikan, AK - USA

About: Rick Grams writes, "I have lived in Ketchikan, Alaska since June of 2000. I have four children, all of them grown and living here in Ketchikan as well. I am currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration/Master of Business Administration dual degree program. I also belong to the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce at the individual level. Most of all, I desire to see year round jobs that provide career opportunities to our local population."


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Ketchikan, Alaska