“From the Bridge” With Chuck | Dispatch #1 – Immigration

Social media today has literally transformed the way we interact with each other. We’ve all seen it. We are staring at our phones more, even in the presence of each other at gatherings. Yet we seem to have an insatiable appetite to know what those around us are thinking. Just look at how we scroll through Facebook. Even a contractor I was talking with recently said, “I hope the next president we elect tweets like this one, because I want to know what’s on the president’s mind every day.”

Thus, this is the intro to the basis of our blog. It’s an opportunity to know what we’re thinking and what’s foremost on our minds.

Here’s one of the things we’re all thinking about.

Immigration. It is practically on everyone’s mind these days. Last week was the story of separating children from their parents who enter this country illegally. Everyone’s heard of “the wall.” Opinions are so divided on this, that even our congress can’t pass a comprehensive reform bill on immigration. And the Supreme Court just upheld the president’s immigration ban on primarily Muslim countries. Fortunately, the ruling was more about presidential power in the face of national security than singling out a religion. Nevertheless, the ruling will support an outcome that I can’t tolerate personally.

We are a nation of immigrants, from all stretches of the planet. That’s what makes us strong. Despite being a nation with a history of “inclusion,” are we dangerously becoming a nation of “exclusion”?

Thirty years ago I read an article in The Atlantic Monthly that said in 30 years, meaning today, we will not have enough immigrants to do all the work that will need to be done. How prophetic that was.

Our own field, the field of serving those with disabilities, is experiencing its greatest labor shortage ever, with little prospect of getting any better for the foreseeable future. Other fields, like agriculture and construction, are experiencing the same thing.

If there’s any good news in this, it is that “necessity is the mother of invention.” How we do the work that we do will have to change, whether it’s our field or other fields. The old way of doing things won’t work in the future. And creativity will become the engine of change. If you want to see creativity in action, just look at our own Silicon Valley in California.

The prospects of change are exciting. Mains’l has its own Vision 2020 to meet the challenges necessary to thrive in the future. Not everyone though wants to embrace the notion of change. It can be uncertain and a little scary. That said, however, I want to lift up the people doing the work in our agency, because they believe in the vision and recognize that changes must and will occur.

But the big question, maybe for a topic later, is what will the next 30 years bring and how will we meet those challenges?

For the time being, be well. We’ll talk later.