ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.
Today’s guest blogger is Dave Pelliccio. If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.
I would like to begin with the use of a four letter word. However, I am pretty confident that you will not be offended and my mother will not wash out my mouth with soap. The word is….JOBS. When David Sher wrote the post “This Number will Scare the Bejeebies out of You,” I read it knowing that I had to respond in some way. I felt as if I identified with it and more importantly, can provide a real experience to support David’s facts.
I moved from Birmingham to Charlotte a year ago in order to accept a position in Corporate Treasury for a financial services company. While I enjoy living here – Charlotte is a beautiful city with a lot to offer – one thing is clear. I miss Birmingham. In moments of nostalgia, I long for the food (local cuisine here just does not measure up – especially the barbecue), miss my good friends and family, and, perhaps most importantly, recall the sense of community that I felt living in Birmingham. It is truly home.
So, why don’t I just move back, you ask? Well, it would be easy to reach that conclusion. However, there is one thing that prevents me from doing that – and that is the scarcity of employment opportunities for young professionals. As a financial analyst, job vacancies in Birmingham that are in my field are limited. And the ones that are available unfortunately do not pay a salary that is suitable for people my age to make headway toward long range goals – paying off debt, fortifying their savings, getting married, purchasing a home, and starting a family.
Even though my address is in North Carolina these days, I continue to read the Comeback Town quite regularly. David Sher and others eloquently opine on issues that Birmingham must overcome in order to reach its potential – education, race relations, and self-image to name a few. However, it is my belief that employment (or lack thereof) does not get the attention that it deserves. Due to the shortage of jobs, a cycle is created that impacts our local economy. What cycle, you ask? Allow me to illustrate for you.
It is my experience that Birmingham is a great place to grow up and for parents to raise their children. After some time, these children go off to college at Alabama, Auburn, UAB, Birmingham Southern, and other schools that are fairly close to home. However, after graduation, many will flock to Atlanta, Nashville, and Charlotte among other destinations in search of employment. They stay for a few years, gain some job experience and earn higher wages, and eventually move back to Birmingham to raise a family of their own.
This doesn’t have to happen. It is wonderful that we talk about the development of the North Side, the Barons moving back downtown, the proliferation of breweries, and the endless options for world class meals. However, it is difficult for people in their mid to late 20’s to take advantage of these without sufficient discretionary income. And that is not possible without more jobs coming to Birmingham. Healthier employment may entice recent graduates to consider staying in the Magic City after they don the cap and gown. With the work that David and others are doing, as well as the ideas brought to this forum, we can close this gap once and for all.
Dave Pelliccio is a Corporate Treasury Analyst for a financial services company and currently resides in Charlotte, NC. A Birmingham native, University of Alabama graduate, and avid Crimson Tide fan, he is doing his best to assimilate in to a culture that is more concerned with ACC basketball.
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David Sher is the publisher of ComebackTown, a co-founder of Buzz12 Advertising Agency and co-CEO of AmSher Collection Agency. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham)), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).