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Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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Letter: Philip T. Sparks
A proactive work force

Friday, February 15, 2013

I have read with interest the accounts of how sophisticated industry and business is in selecting places to locate new ventures. Demographics must satisfy requirements before stockholder money can be risked on new ventures.

One thing I have heard is (and I don’t know how true) that Martinsville and Henry County has in the past demonstrated that the available sustainable work force may have difficulty in passing drug screens. If this is true, then I am sure that corporations and others have ways of determining this. I know that many people have advocated that persons be required to take drug screens in order to receive any type of government benefit. It isn’t a popular idea with anyone abusing drugs while receiving benefits, that is for sure.

What if we (the community) established a voluntary drug-free work pool. Persons desiring employment could volunteer to take periodic or random drug screens to prove that they are ready to report for employment at anytime. A roster could be maintained to keep track of those available for employment, and those participating could receive some sort of certification of being clear and free of substance abuse. This roster could be heralded to potential industry and corporations as a positive demographic of this area. If XYE Corp. knew that this area had a pool of, say, 15,000 substance-free workers ready and willing to work, it would have to look favorably upon that demographic in selecting a site for expansion and growth.

The Harvest Foundation is geared to be doing things to promote better health in the area, and this would be a perfect fit for these times. You don’t have to be a narcotics agent or a drug-sniffing dog to see the evidence of the proliferation of drug use in this area (check the sales and availability of drug paraphernalia and promotional products in convenience stores). We are probably never going to stop substance abuse but we can certainly work beyond it and try to reward and protect those who are not part of the problem.

It is a step that I haven’t heard mentioned before.

Philip T. Sparks

Martinsville

 

 
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