From the Editor: The great divide

From the Editor: The great divide

0513 EdLetter 01There are two kinds of people in this world: those who are computer-literate and those who take an hour to figure out how to indent a paragraph in Microsoft Word. Alas, I fall into the latter, techno-illiterate camp.

Thankfully, the rest of the Oregon Business team is not only tech savvy but also well-schooled in politesse and graciousness. So when I ask our web editor, Emma, why the spacing is skewed on the blog I uploaded, or assistant art director Sophie where the photo disappeared to on the server, or research editor Brandon how to delete my junk-mail folder, or creative director Jon Taylor why I can’t see fonts on InCopy — well, there is nary even a rolling of the eyes.

Well, at least not in my presence.

Ensuring a new generation has the technical skills to succeed in the modern world is one of the themes of this issue. In his cover story, “The Skills Gap,” writer Jon Bell chronicles efforts to improve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in light of gloomy statistics showing just how far American students are falling behind high-achieving nations in Europe and Asia.

The economic context for Bell’s article is the rising number of Oregon jobs that require some STEM training, from traditional blue-collar manufacturing jobs to engineering Ph.D.s — and the growing number of students who are unprepared academically to get those jobs.

Our profile of Growth Science CEO Thomas Thurston, who uses computer modeling to predict the success or failure of a new product or company, also shows how technical skills are becoming de rigueur in all industries — i.e., business consulting — and not just in traditional engineering and science fields.

Back in the office, I am doing my part to stay abreast of tech trends in journalism, yet another industry roiled by the digital revolution. As part of a larger ongoing magazine and website redesign, we are beefing up our online offerings by adding weekly op-ed columns from Oregon business and public policy thought leaders along with more frequent blogs from the OB staff.

We also aim to boost reader participation in discussing and debating issues relevant to the Oregon business community, so we hope you weigh in with your views and experiences on oregonbusiness.com.

Now, if only I could figure out how to convert that double space between paragraphs into a single space. It’s a skills gap I’m certain everyone in the OB office is waiting for me to close.

0513 EdLetter LindaLinda Baker