Choices made now by Utahns will determine what the state will be like in the year 2000 and beyond, according to businessman and author Richard Eyre.
Uthans must begin to make important educational, business and social changes to prepare for the next century, Eyre told members of the Provo/Orem Chamber of Commerce at its First Friday Forum.Using ideas suggested in his recently released book, "Utah In The Year 2000: Choice or Chance?" Eyre presented alternative solutions for some of the state's problems.
"We must search for a different kind of answer," Eyre said. "What are our assets? We have remarkable assets."
As for the local work force, Eyre believes that too much emphasis has been placed on quantity jobs and that business should concern itself with quality jobs.
High technology, according to Eyre, is one of the best ways to enhance the quality of life in Utah, stop pollution, slow prison growth, and improve transportation.
According to Eyre, too many of our problems have been solved by raising taxes. "We are a heavily taxed state. If you just look at the statistics, you can get very depressed."
Eyre belives that business and education should work in tandem to correct exsisting problems. While some talk of education as merely job training, that is just one aspect of the educational process, Eyre said.
"We need to look for a market solution - change your parameters and look at (education) as a businessman not a bureaucrat," he said, later adding that "it's a miracle we have as good a teachers as we do with the way we treat them."
Eyre believes competition between schools for students would enhance the level of education for all children. This process could be achieved by using the proposed voucher system, giving parents the opportunity to choose the school their child attends.
"It would shake the education in this state to its roots. Education would become involved in marketing. I think it would turn us around."
Another proposed area of change is social services, using volunteerism. However, he said our ideas on volunteering will also have to change. "Too much of our volunteering goes to decorating cultural halls," said Eyre, a board member of the National Volunteer Center.
One idea Eyre expressed was a telethon where people pledge volunteer hours instead of money to their favorite charities.
Also suggested was the Roundup Program, which is being tried in other states. That program allows shoppers at the supermarket to voluntarily round their bill up to the next even dollar, with the extra money going to social service programs.