#RuralAmerica #EconomicDevelopment #jobs #employment
Rural areas want to boost their economy.
They want to attract companies/employers who can employ lots of people who are now out of work for a variety of reasons – not the least of which is where they live.
Kyle Wingfield, a columnist for The Atlanta Journal Constitution, took on this issue, as it applies to rural Georgia, in an Aug. 27, 2017, column.
“There are a lot of different factors that affect the quality (of the workforce),” Wingfield quotes Amy Lancaster, director of workforce development for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. “The education system is a big piece of that … but the opioids (epidemic), criminal justice reform – all those things have a big impact, so it’s hard to limit or confine it to one issue or agency,” the quote continued.
Regarding the education system, Wingfield discussed the community college system with Lancaster. “The course offerings may not be aligned with local demand, at least not from the employer side,” Wingfield quotes her. In other words, what the employers want the students to learn is not what the students themselves want to take.
She told Wingfield that there are no incentives for colleges, either two-year or four-year, to offer what the employers really need students to learn.
Let’s break this down further. Rural areas, be they in Georgia or any other state, have a distinct disadvantage to urban areas in terms of attracting employers. It’s difficult to attract the type of talent employers seek because the workers they want to attract, usually young and fairly educated, don’t want to move to a rural area. They look for the multitude of life options urban areas provide in abundance. And those workers already living in rural areas may not be the type of workers Company X needs.
Secondly, though there is relatively high unemployment in rural areas, it doesn’t appear that people are willing to do what it takes to become more employable. In other words, if a company needs, say, welders, and people are not willing to take the necessary training to become a welder, there’s a mismatch between the supply of employable people and the demand for the needed skills.
From the worker’s perspective, he may think, “is it worth my time to get the extra training that Company X wants me to have, only to find that a year or two later, the employer demands something else – or needs to reduce staff — and I’m no longer needed?”
Many workers who thought they had secure jobs have lost them, so it’s easy to figure out why they would ask whether the extra training and effort would be worth it in the long run.
An example might be truck driving. Would a prospective new truck driver want to go through all the training that it might take, only to discover a few years later that his company will be going to driverless vehicles?
Welders may be in demand now, but will they be replaced by robots later?
It’s a tough position all around. But, if you are a prospective worker who is examining what to do with your life, you might want to think outside the box. There are plenty of ways out there to make a potentially sizeable income, without a W-2 job, if you are open to checking them out. To learn about one of the best, message me.
If you are an employer, consider that workers willing to be retrained for the skills you need now will want some assurance that they will be able to adapt as your technology changes. And, in fact, that they will still be welcome as needs change. So, it’s not only the educational institutions that need incentives to offer courses in skills employers need, the workers, too, need incentives that a decent future awaits them, if they make the effort to be retrained.
It’s not just technical skills that employers look for. The so-called soft skills – being able to work as a team, being friendly and attentive to customers etc. – can be just as important to employers.
It’s a tough world. Good things come to those willing to adapt. How you adapt – and how you think about the future – could make all the difference in your success.


#problems #solutions #PinkBat
Has a problem arisen for you? If so, do you just acknowledge it as a problem, and try to adjust accordingly?
Or, do you try to turn the problem, or problems, into a solution? It may require some creativity and imagination, but it will definitely require an open mind.
Michael McMillan discusses this concept in his book, “Pink Bat: Turning Problems Into Solutions.”
The Pink Bat has become McMillan’s metaphor for a solution from a perceived problem. As a boy, he and his friends were looking for a way to play backyard baseball without breaking windows of their houses. They replaced a hard ball with a rubber ball. Then, McMillan remembered a gift he got as a child – a pink bat, designed to help toddlers learn baseball.
To condense a longer story, the pink bat broke from use, and the boys, with the help of one neighbor boy who didn’t usually play ball with the rest, came up with a new baseball-related game, using the broken pink bat.
“We’ve all heard the expression, ‘one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.’ If (the neighbor boy) could take a discarded bat (perceived problem) and turn it into an exciting new game (solution), then what’s stopping you from doing the same?” McMillan writes.
He goes on to write that subconsciously, our brain chooses what we believe is possible, plausible and “real,” while ignoring or blocking everything else. He gives the example of a person listening to others’ conversation, when he hears his name mentioned. His brain filters automatically tell him that his name is important, thus he listens more intently.
He cites a bunch of examples of “problems” turned into “Pink Bat” solutions. They include turning waste vegetable oil from restaurants into motor fuel, and turning the methane gas from cattle waste into fuel gas.
His point is that problems become solutions by different thinking. It’s been said by many experts that we become what we think about. If you see your life as a series of problems to endure, rather than solutions to help you thrive, you will be less happy and less prosperous.
Pity pots can be comfy, but they get us nowhere. Sometimes, we have to delve into what’s not comfortable to change our lives.
McMillan says every problem is a solution, waiting for the right person to find it. If you become a person willing to look, eventually you’ll turn a problem into a solution – for you and perhaps many others.
If you’re situation is not where you want it to be, and you see yourself as a solution finder looking for something good to check out, message me.
“You can live each day in a world filled with ‘problems,’ or rise each morning and embrace a world filled with unseen solutions … eager for you to find them,” McMillan writes.
So get up. Swing your Pink Bat. Rather than see the world as a group of unsolvable problems, look at ways YOU can create solutions from those problems. Be willing to look at things you never would have thought you would look at. You might be amazed at what you find.
“For every problem, there exists a solution … or at the very least … an opportunity. But it takes an open mind to see it … and intelligence and imagination to create it,” McMillan writes.
Perhaps it’s the outsider who sees something others have missed, he continues. Perhaps being an outsider, or going outside your comfort zone, may help you see what YOU might have missed had you not looked.


#RaisingTheRetirementAge #retirement #WorkingLonger #disabilities
The government continues to raise the retirement age.
People are working longer.
Yet, their health continues to decline.
Ben Steverman discussed this in an article for Bloomberg News. It was also published Oct. 24, 2017, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“The age-adjusted mortality rate in the U.S. rose 1.2 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to the Society of Actuaries,” the article reads. “That’s the first year-over-year increase since 2005, and only the second rise greater than 1 percent since 1980,” the article says.
So, Americans are retiring later, dying sooner and are sicker, the article says.
Almost one in three Americans age 65 to 69 is still working, along with almost one in five in their early 70s, the article says.
Americans in their late 50s have more serious health problems than people of those same ages 10 to 15 years ago, according to the article. To boot, cognitive skills have declined. Those with a retirement age of 66, 11 percent already have had some kind of dementia between ages 58 and 60, the article quotes a study by University of Michigan economists HwaJung Choi and Robert Schoeni.
Experts say obesity, high rates of suicide, drug overdoses and alcohol abuse have been cited as causes, the article says.
The higher death rates are good news for pension plans, the article points out.
“Americans may have already seen most of the benefits from previous positive developments that cut the death rate, such as a decline in smoking and medical advances like statins that fight cardiovascular disease,” the article reads.
So are you among the group that feels worse than you think you should for your age? Has the economic downturn of 2008 got you working at a job you hate, when it’s high time for you to retire?
Perhaps a solution to the latter problem may relieve the difficulties of the former. There are many ways to make money beyond a traditional W-2 job – especially one that you hate, or that is making you sick. To check out one of the best such vehicles, message me.
And though pension plans may like this news – the Society of Actuaries calculates a typical pension plan’s obligations could fall by 0.7 to 1 percent , the article says – not everyone is fortunate enough to have a pension.
That puts the onus on every worker to make sure their retirement is not only survivable, but potentially prosperous.
This may entail some thought outside the proverbial box, especially if your employer is not providing you a pension.
If you’re young, start saving your money sooner. Cut out that extra coffee-shop visit or extra meal out, and put that money toward your retirement.
If you are older, not only must you think about how long you WANT to work, but also how long you will BE ABLE to work. It may not be an illness that gets you. You may be one bad manager or one reorganization away from a dead career.
You may not be able to solve health problems, but money problems can be conquered. You just have to have the best life you can, and try to live as long as possible.


More men are expected to be attracted to “women’s jobs” in the coming years.
However, the reverse is not proving to be a trend.
That’s according to research by Jed Kolko, economist at the job-search site Indeed. His study was quoted in an article by Ana Swanson in the Washington Post. It was also published in the April 23, 2017, edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Kolko concludes that less-educated men may especially face challenges in the job market of the future, the article says.
“In recent decades, fields that are dominated by men and by women have not fared equally. Many men have fallen out of work as increased mechanization has allowed the U.S. to produce more agricultural and manufacturing goods than ever, with fewer people than before,” the article says.
“Jobs that are dominated by women are projected to grow nearly twice as fast as jobs that are dominated by men,” the article quotes the Kolko study, based on figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“Fast-growing ‘male’ jobs that require lots of education don’t really help men without a college degree who have been in traditionally ‘male’ jobs,” the article quotes Kolko.
We all have an idea what a “male” job – construction, manufacturing, mining, farming etc. –or a “female job” – nursing, administrative assistant, etc. –is. The article says that computer programming was once dominated by women, but is now heavily male.
It’s been reported many times that men fared worse in the Great Recession than women. The good jobs done largely by men went away more quickly than those done mostly by women.
Kolko points out that some “female” jobs, such as telephone operaters and textile workers, also have been automated out, according to the article.
The broader trend is away from manufacturing and more toward services, which could draw men into jobs traditionally dominated by women, the article says.
So let’s step back and examine this. Good jobs in general are disappearing quickly. Lots of folks, if they are lucky to find new jobs, generally are getting paid less than their previous jobs paid them. Many are not using the skills they were trained for. Those skills, largely, are being replaced by machines. There’s nothing a person can do to stop that!
But what a person CAN do is think about other ways to make money. There are many such vehicles out there for those willing to step out of what’s comfortable, and look at something different. To learn about one of the best such vehicles, message me.
The economy, the recession, downsizing – however you wish to think about it – is not something that will, or can, go away. So, if such circumstances hit you, don’t beat yourself up. Sure, those circumstances will hurt, but by further beating yourself, the pain will be worse.
Americans can be very resilient. Sometimes, tough circumstances require bold action. Sometimes, one has to think differently to better himself.
If you view yourself as a hard-working person, and most do, don’t expect someone to give you something. You may have to look for other opportunities, perhaps completely unrelated to what you’ve done before.
So whether you’ve been doing a “male” job, or a “female” job, and it has gone away, remember that someone you know, or may not yet know, may introduce you to something you may have never heard of. Listen. Don’t dismiss out of hand. You could be hearing about the light at the end of your tunnel.



#HappyNewYear #Make2018Great #joy #prosperity
Another year is about to begin.
We can look at it, to borrow from the song “Sixteen Tons” that Tennessee Ernie Ford helped make famous, as “another (year) older and deeper in debt.”
We can look at it as “how am I going to make it another year?”
Or, we can look at it as, “it’s going to be the best year ever.”
It’s not just how you think about the new year, it’s how you are going to MAKE the new year your best ever.
You may think, “how am I going to make the new year great, if things aren’t going great now?”
Well, you may have to look for something better. You could even be lucky, and something better will just serendipitously come along to make your life better. If that happens, you have to have the wherewithal to recognize it.
In other words, you have to be open to new things, even if they are things you’d never dreamed would be part of your life.
Pessimism partly comes from pigeon-holing your life. You may have even been taught that “this is what you were destined to do.” When that destiny disappears, you may think your destiny has gone with it.
Optimism partly comes from knowing that you deserve something better in your life, and making yourself available to it. It’s been said that good fortune comes to those who prepare for it.
If you are open to making your 2018 great, and are looking for a vehicle to help you do that, there are many such vehicles out there. To check out one of the best, message me.
Meanwhile, take stock of what is good in your life. How can you use what is already good in your life to make your new year even better?
How can you take the turning of a calendar and turn it into the life you’ve always wanted?
Don’t let a good cup of coffee, or whatever your favorite beverage is, just sit and get cold. Drink it while it’s hot, or at its best. Propose a toast that your new year will be filled with the joy and prosperity you deserve.
If things aren’t what you want them to be, the change must begin with you. To borrow from a spiritual song, “let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.”
The world is filled with issues and circumstances that could lead one to think there is little to celebrate. You may even have personal circumstances that can allow you to believe that struggle is just part of life.
Struggle CAN be part of life, certainly, but it doesn’t have to run your life.
So make a resolution to let 2018 be a great year. Then, make a promise to yourself that you will not just LET it be a great year, you will MAKE it a great year.