Letters to the business editor

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Connect industry, youths

The Sept. 28 article "Production Jobs Rare For Young Workers" sheds light on a growing concern for some of the region's key employment sectors -- older workers with jobs in manufacturing, education and health care are expected to leave jobs faster than employers can find qualified younger workers to replace them.

As pointed out in the article, and in the report on which the article was based, there's no question that when workers retire, they take with them a lifetime of skills, knowledge, experience and relationships, and employers will struggle -- and spend -- to bridge that gap.

But overlooked and vital to stress is that there is no lack of opportunity for young people to enter these key sectors. Young people, rather, aren't choosing these careers, often opting instead for a four-year college degree. It's this disconnect that will ultimately impact the regional economy.

Understanding and bridging that disconnect has been the focus of numerous youth-focused collaborations throughout Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.

The Allegheny Conference on Community Development and the Energy Alliance of Greater Pittsburgh recently released a workforce analysis emphasizing the need for a cooperative investment to skill young talent for high-demand, hard-to-fill occupations in the energy sector.

And the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board sees career and technical centers as a key component to fulfilling the needs of the region's employers now and in the future. By connecting employers and training providers, and educating youth about the opportunities available in the region, we are seeking to build the pipeline of qualified workers prepared to step in where others leave off.

STEFANI PASHMAN
CEO, Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board


Patient-physician trust key

In a business that is supposed to be patient- oriented, why does it seem like patients are the ones losing out? "Patients May Suffer As Doctors Switch Practices, Health Systems," Sept. 26, is an all-too-true article that hits a personal nerve.

Showing up to an appointment and finding out a trusted health practitioner left without notice is rather upsetting, if not harmful, as I have learned from my personal experience. An article published in the Journal of Family Practice that studied the strength of physician-patient relationships in primary care, found that continuity of care significantly predicted voluntary patient disenrollment.

In addition, a patient's trust in their physician and their assessments in how well the physician knows them were leading predictors of patients' loyalty to their primary care physician's practice.

One study found that as the length of patient-physician relationship increased, scores on communication, accumulated knowledge of the patient by the physician, and trust improved -- and trust predicted delivery of preventive services.

It simply cannot be denied that trust between a patient and his or her physician is essential, which can only be built through time and quality of experience.

CHRISTYANNE DEAL
North Oakland

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