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Closing America's Job Gap Hardcover – January 30, 2011
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That s exactly what Garry Ridge, president and CEO of WD-40 Company, did a few years ago on a cold evening in London. But in his case the irritating alarm bell continued to sound, interfering with Garry s plan to relax that night and watch a British comedy in his room. What finally got Garry s attention was the security guard banging on the door and insisting that everyone evacuate. Not having time to dress warmly, Garry was directed down a flight of stairs and ushered to an open park near the hotel as it started to rain. He remained in the park for over an hour, cold and wet, as a bomb scare was checked out.
Knowing Garry as I do from coauthoring our book, Helping People Win at Work, I know he views everything as a learning opportunity and so do his tribe members at WD-40 Company. On his flight home to California a few days after the incident, Garry started to reflect on his trip and how stupid it had been to ignore the initial alarm bell. He quickly realized that alarm bells have a purpose especially if we choose to hear them and act on them.
Do you have any alarm bells going off in your life, either professionally or personally, that you are choosing to ignore or that the busyness of your life is drowning out? If so, you might want to think twice and take action before negative consequences sneak up on you and have a major impact on what you are doing.
Why did I spend so much time talking about alarm bells? Because this book, Closing America s Job Gap: How to Grow Companies and Land Good Jobs in the Age of Innovation, is all about a big alarm bell. While the economy is beginning to turn, the job market is lagging behind. In the past we have looked to large industrial companies for job creation, but today the real job opportunities are being created by smaller innovative entrepreneurial ventures. Yet today s workforce does not have the ready skills to fill these jobs. The concern is that policy makers in Washington, business leaders, and individuals trying to navigate this very difficult period of American history are not paying attention to the lack of alignment that exists between our innovation and business development sector and our workforce and talent development sector.
The authors Mary Walshok, a thought leader and subject matter expert on employability, career innovation, and the new innovation economy; Tapan Munroe, a recognized author, speaker, consultant, and advisor in economics; and Henry DeVries, a job and career expert suggest this is a fixable problem requiring a change in mindset among individual workers in terms of realizing what Peter Drucker told us years ago: All work is learning. It is fixable if employers will put a little more time and money into continuous learning in the workplace. It is fixable if the government reexamines its current workforce education and training strategies and reengineers them to fit the demands of the 21st century global economy. To do this, we have to stop falling asleep at the switch in America and take action in response to this alarm bell.
Thanks, Mary, Tapan, and Henry, for sounding the alarm. Let s hope that policy makers, business leaders, and individuals trying to survive in this tough economic time will listen. It s all about empowering our workforce. It cannot be done alone by any of these three groups together we must devote energy to solving this problem and closing America s job gap.
Coauthor of The One Minute Manager and Leading at a Higher Level --Ken Blanchard
About the Author
Tapan Munroe, Ph.D. is a recognized author, speaker, consultant and advisor in economics. His expertise includes regional economics, environmental economics, and high-tech industry analysis. His current research and writings focus on the economics of innovation and economies of the Silicon Valley and Bay Area.
Henry DeVries is a job and career expert who speaks to thousands of business owners and executives each year, teaching them how to grow their business and advance their careers. As assistant dean he has helped the continuing education arm of University of California San Diego grow enrollments in certificate programs by 44% in three years. He is responsible for communications for 4,600 classes that annually attract 54,000 people interested in career advancement. In addition he is the Jobs and Career editor of the online news magazine San Diego News Network.
Top Customer Reviews
The book was initially written to "send the alarm to:
* entrepreneurs and
* policy makers,
especially at the state and county level, to take a hard look at what is really shaping the labor market today" and outline a response to keep the American Dream of "good jobs for all" alive and well. But, purposely or inadvertently (I do not know which), the authors have served up a feast not an alarm for job-seekers, and for those trying to develop a regional innovation cluster (ecosystem), like my alma mater, the University of Notre Dame with its Innovation Park.
For job seekers, "Closing America's Job Gap" lists where innovation is happening, the good jobs needed by these sectors, and how individuals can prepare for the upcoming surge in new jobs. Innovation is happening in these sectors:
1. Health IT
2. Clinical trial design and management for oncology
3. Data mining
4. Embedded engineering
5. Feature writing on the web
6. Geriatric health care
7. Mobile Media
8. Occupational health and safety
9. Spanish/English Translation and Interpretation
10. Sustainable Business Practices and the Greening of all jobs
11. Teaching adult learners
12. Teaching English as a foreign language
13. Marine biodiversity and conservation
14. Health law
16.Read more ›
This book contains an analysis of hundreds of studies, such as the ones my wife and I did for the Workforce Investment Act some 12 years ago. The analysis and recommendations are worth reading. This book contains a prescription for how to find employment: get properly trained. It is refreshing to find educators of such stature publish a learned study of such practical advice.
I highly recommend this book!
But that's not all it is. It full of great, straightforward, practical advice across the spectrum. It is an invaluable guide for anyone who is, or thinks they might be a job seeker or career shifter anytime in the next few years, which is pretty much everyone. I am giving my copy to my nieces and nephews and friends' kids who are planning their lives and choosing their careers. It is my hope that the information in this book will help them find successful and fulfilling work, and have a mindset of innovation, flexibility and learning. This book gives not just the conceptual grounding for what must be done, but very, very specific advice about how job seekers can compete in the years ahead. It offers, for example, a section about what jobs are growing and what trends support their growth. The jobs listed are as specific as "welding" and "marine biodiversity and conservation."
It's rare to find a book that is such a great combination of hard analytics and practical advice - all of it hopeful. With luck, the audience will listen!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Having a bachelors in accounting and a masters in economics, I found the book presented a good hypothesis even
if I did not agree with their approach 100%.
Today in 2012, our unemployment rate is staggering. I doubt that you don't know a person that has been affected by job loss. You yourself may have been in this situation. Read morePublished on November 13, 2012 by Phil Vice
Another must read book along the lines of the most recent Friedman book. We definitely have a job crisis in this country but we also have a severe skills crisis. Read morePublished on October 24, 2011 by Robert D. Bechill
I ask myself why there are hundreds of open jobs at my company and I am not qualified for any of them? Closing Americas Job gap explains why and what to do about it. Read morePublished on August 14, 2011 by EPatrick
Closing America's Job Gap is an energizing read and a pre-requisite guide for individuals and companies competing in today's economy. Read morePublished on April 21, 2011 by Monica I. Doyle
As someone who works in the health care clinical staffing business, I've found "Closing America's Job Gap" to be engaging, pragmatic and a must read for those wanting to know how... Read morePublished on April 21, 2011 by Don Cowan