Job creation usually looks to the future. However, sometimes the past has some opportunities for job creation as well. Learning from the past is not always a solitary act in which someone reads a book or meditates. Sometimes, preservation and education demand large, collective efforts.
The Department of the Interior has announced the continuation of a large effort that began in 2006 to learn from the past. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that the National Park Service is awarding 24 grants totaling $2.9 million to preserve and interpret sites where Japanese Americans were confined during World War II.
“These places, where more than 110,000 Japanese Americans were unjustly held, testify to the alarming fragility of our constitutional rights in the face of prejudice and fear,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “The National Park Service is honored to help preserve these sites and tell their stories, and thus prevent our nation from forgetting a shameful episode in its past.”
Congress established the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grants Program in 2006 and authorized up to $38 million in grants, for the life of the program, to identify, research, evaluate, interpret, protect, restore, repair, and acquire historic confinement sites. This year – the grant program’s third – the awards will provide $2.9 million to projects in 11 states. These undertakings include restoration of an internment camp cemetery at Rohwer Relocation Center in Arkansas; production of a film exploring the lives of mothers and children detained at Poston, Arizona; and production and distribution of a documentary on the jazz bands that flourished at many internment camps.
While these projects deal explicitly with learning from a historical event, there are other ways people are creating new jobs by revitalizing old practices of doing things– whether it’s organic farming or old business models. Recruiters looking for new industries to work in may, inevitably, find themselves turning one eye to the past.