April 03, 2013

Manchin speaks to journalism students | Huntington Herald Dispatch

HUNTINGTON -- Sen. Joe Manchin talked about the challenges of his job and those of the next generation of workers during a meeting with journalism students at Marshall University on Tuesday.

The informal group discussion was part of Manchin's "Commonsense Solutions" tour across West Virginia and an opportunity, Manchin said, to hear from members of tomorrow's workforce.

"This is another chance to be here with the Herd, to talk to some of the best and brightest and learn from them what their perspective is on the issues," Manchin said. "Journalists, the business they're in, is what makes, breaks and shakes us in Washington."

Manchin spoke to the group for 10 minutes about issues ranging from fiscal responsibility and Social Security to education and being marketable employees.

"We need to get back to basics. Everyone has to work to make ends meet. What can't we eliminate and what can we?" Manchin started, speaking on the country's economic climate. "You can't go every place you want to go and you can't buy everything you see that you want.

"That's the problem the nation is having right now. We're $17 trillion in debt, and we have to make some choices," he continued. "It gets complicated. What do we pick and choose? We have to do something because we cannot continue down this path, or we're going to see inflation like we've never seen before."

Some of those choices, he said, might include means testing for Medicare, raising the age for Social Security benefits to 69 and potential discounts in student loan debt for students who finish a degree in four years and find a job in West Virginia.

At times, Manchin removed his Senator hat and became a career counselor, offering three tips he said would help the students be successful in the workplace.

"One, how good is the product? You're the product. Can you do better? Can you niche yourself? How do you improve the product? Second is value. What's the market? You have to know the market and be realistic. Once you get a food in the door, you show them the value from there," Manchin said. "And three, is serviceability. Are you a self-starter? Are you looking ahead? Employers want to find people who can grab a issue and run with it."

Manchin fielded questions from the group, ranging from Medicare to the elementary school woes in Kenova, an issue he told the group he was not aware of but would look into. Manchin concluded the day at the Mason County Chamber of Commerce's annual dinner in Point Pleasant.

By:  Beth Hendricks