Jobs with housing

To the Editor:

It was disturbing for me to read that hospitality jobs are considered somehow less valuable than "jobs that will bring young families to the area" ("Not good paying jobs"). Why, I wonder, does Cornell University offer a Master Degree in Hotel Management; because the jobs in hospitality are irrelevant? I'd love to see the argument at the Culinary Institute of America that they are training graduates to be incidental. Lodging and food service bring Vermont a whole lot of cash. It's difficult to understand why anyone would disparage two major Vermont industries.

I will agree that it would be nice if medical, financial, manufacturing, technology or similar companies were elbowing one another for space in downtown Manchester. They're not, at least not yet.

As for my proposition that Manchester consider supporting affordable housing for the employees we need, I didn't intend any disregard for the highly valuable Habitats for Humanity (Answer to a question). Building affordable single-family houses for young families with steady income and solid credit is admirable and important, and I have and continue to support the organization. The organization provides a very valuable opportunity for a segment of society in need, and it's possible some of the family members will work in hospitality.

I was arguing in support of another type of affordable housing, one that might be able to take a college graduate out of their parent's home, or a young couple just starting out and unable to afford or want a house, into a new and independent life in Manchester. Studio, one or two bedroom rental apartments (with a live-in superintendent), ideally within walking distance to downtown, was my vision of the affordable housing. We already have jobs for young adults early in their working lives, we just don't yet have their apartments.

A few years ago, shortly after graduating from college, I asked my niece "What would make you move to Manchester?" Her prompt answer was "a job and a place I could afford to live." She then spent 2 years in Brooklyn N.Y. scooping ice cream, sharing various apartments with strangers from Craigslist before she got an internship with the urban planning commission in New York City. She was an honors graduate from Brown University. I believe we could entice good people to Manchester as long as we provide what they need to thrive - good jobs and places they can afford to live.

Beth Whitaker



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