Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My Favorite Education and Workforce Development Quotes

Hi folks,

I’ve been away from the blog for a while. You know it's very difficult being a thought-leader with full-time responsibility for a multi-million dollar operation and 180 employees. At any rate, I thought I’d share some of my favorite workforce development and educational quotes as a way of getting back into the flow of blogging!

“Workforce development is a journey not a destination.” Anonymous
-Conveys the importance of lifelong learning.

“Workforce Development is about getting the right people, the right skills for the right jobs at the right time.” Anonymous
-Conveys the notion of a just-in-time supply chain training source role.

“Postsecondary education is a Tier 1 Supplier to the Talent Supply Chain.” Bill Guest
-Speaks to the prominent role of higher education in the knowledge economy.

“When planning for a year, plant corn. When planning for a decade, plant trees. When planning for life, train and educate people.” Chinese Proverb: Guanzi (c. 645BC)
-Speaks to the power of lifelong learning on life itself.

“The first rule of education and government is when the horse is dead, dismount!” Daniel Fenn (adopted from Dakota tribal wisdom)
-Conveys the importance of using product lifecycles in our educational planning processes so that old programs are refined and new ones are created before they become obsolete.

“Access without success is an empty promise!“ Achieving the Dream Community Colleges Count
-Conveys the importance of student success as a hallmark promise of the American Community College – not just access to quality, affordable education.

Thoughts? Do you have any to share?


Saturday, May 22, 2010

How experiences at home, school and the community influenced my management philosophy

The Judeo-Christian teachings of my parents had a profound effect on my management philosophy. My parents required my two sisters and I to attend church every Sunday where the Golden Rule to “love your neighbors as yourself” was repeatedly cited in songs and sermons (Leviticus 19:34 and Matthew 7:12, New King James Version). This value was also reinforced consistently at home, which helped infuse a deep, abiding respect for people into my character.

Growing up in poverty-stricken East St. Louis taught me the value of hard work. I was well aware of the accomplishments of famous natives such as Miles Davis, Katherine Dunham and Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Their success was attributed to hard work and the ability to execute a life plan with the help of the community. The cultural norm for responsible youth citizenship was that if you were not active in fine arts or sports, social gravity would surely pull you down.

For me, work ethic and follow-through were reinforced in the band room nearly every school day from elementary school through undergraduate studies. I eventually excelled at musicology in high school, earning all-state honors, first-place in the statewide composition contest and several collegiate scholarships.

Teamwork skills were developed through the art of listening to ensure that my unique contribution to the overall sound was appropriate. As section leader, I was held accountable for developing other trombonist on my team. As a jazz improviser, I became very comfortable with the ambiguity and chaos that comes from interacting with other free spirits. Finally, as a composer and arranger, vision was the genesis of every good work of art.

Excerpt from The Personal Management Philosophy of Roderick Nunn
Submitted in Spring 2010 for UMUC Doctor of Management in Community College Policy and Administration

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Are You Looking Beyond the Veil of the Recession?

As community colleges showcase their adaptive, resilient spirit in response to the current economic crisis, its leaders must be mindful of the projected deficits in human capital that existed before the downturn. The interplay between America’s declining international share of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) graduates, poor student achievement by a growing minority population, and the age of the existing workforce continue to form a perfect storm requiring leaders to take a forward-looking approach to helping America secure a sustainable economic recovery.

At the dawn of the 21st Century, one had to be hiding under a rock to miss the well-researched refrains of many thought leaders across the nation. How will America increase is production of STEM graduates to keep pace with the rest of the world? How will America address the large gaps in literacy and numeracy for minorities – the fastest growing college population? How will America replace large numbers of baby boomers set to retire in the coming years? Many of these issues were profiled in 2008 Compete 2.0 publication, Thrive: The Skills Imperative.

Unfortunately, the current fixation on the Great Recession has caused leaders to take a hear-and-now approach driven by budget cuts and worker retraining investments. Thanks to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and its recent three-part series, Can St. Louis Compete, those of us in St. Louis were reminded of important workforce issues deemed critical before the recession: the age of the existing workforce; the immigration debate; the need to grow and retain our own talent, etc. Are these still issues still important to our economic future? Are you looking beyond the veil of the recession?

Monday, November 9, 2009

St. Louis Community College and the Triple Bottom Line

With metro St. Louis having one of the nation’s worst per capita carbon footprints, unemployment approaching 10%, and 30% of adults (age 25 and older) with no education beyond high school, opportunities to contribute to the ‘triple bottom line’ are very much in play. This is the impetus for the greening of St. Louis Community College (STLCC), the region’s largest educational institution, and its role in helping the region achieve the interdependent goals of sustainability, economic recovery and a skilled workforce.

STLCC’s journey to sustainability includes a commitment to Green Building Projects, the greening of existing degree and certificate programs and the creation of accelerated job-training programs targeted at low-skilled adults who are seeking opportunities in the green-collar economy.

STLCC completed its first Green Building project at the Wildwood campus in 2007 which attained Gold LEED Certification and was the largest Gold certified education building in the country at the time it opened. We are soon to open a new biotechnology facility at BRIDG Park and the Harrison Education Center in the fall of 2010. Both are slated for LEED Silver certification.

Green workforce development efforts include the infusion of LEED standards and sustainable building practices in architectural and construction technology; short-term training in home energy auditing and environmental remediation; and several on-line professional development courses designed to quickly bring working professionals up to speed on different green technologies and practices.

If St. Louis’ ideal future includes green corporate social responsibility and an eco-literate community fueled by knowledge workers who contribute to sustainability at home and at work, then count on St. Louis Community College to be an indispensible part of the social and economic fabric of the region for years to come.

Republished with permission of the St. Louis Business Journal.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Creating Real Opportunities in a Recession Economy

Many bloggers across the United States have posted comments on the dreaded statistic that based on the July 2009 Bureau of Labor Statistics data, there are about 6 unemployed Americans for every job opening - over three times the rate from when the recession began in December 2007.

Unfortunately, not many have offered advice as to how workforce professionals responsible for retraining and reemploying the nation’s dislocated workers should be dealing with the crisis. What exacerbates this information gap, is the shallow reporting by some media outlets who have chosen to focus coverage on workers who have utilized much needed retraining investments to recreate themselves for a new career only to find out that the jobs are not there upon program completion.

First of all, most people realize that the recession provides a necessary opportunity to add skills, competencies and credentials to their portfolio. Obviously, they hope to do this as quickly as possible so that they are prepared to seize the opportunity when it arises - surely because of financial considerations.

The average age of dislocated workers in the St. Louis region is 45-49 years of age ( and most have accrued liabilities over the years (e.g. mortgage, carnote, etc.). So, when they are asked about the shrinking job market upon graduation from their chosen discipline, the obvious disappointment comes across. Well, this is the nature of retraining in a recession economy and there are real ways to deal with these issues. I want to focus this online conversation on how we at St. Louis Community College, with the support of Missouri’s Division of Workforce Development and local workforce boards, are aligning the production of short-term certificate completers with labor demand in a contracting market.

Our college is working feverishly to increase the number of accelerated training programs so that dislocated workers have an option to recreate themselves more quickly. Many innovative community colleges are doing this. One of the differentiating qualities of our programs is that we have an evidence-based approach that: 1) utilizes real time survey research to identify market opportunities that are perhaps hidden in the static labor market information; 2) actively engages employers in conversations about the quality of their workers to uncover those areas that require a specialized intervention; 3) utilizes instructional designers to profile jobs so that the training is contextualized to the workplace; 4) partners with Missouri Career Centers to create a bring a wider array of assets to the table (e.g. recruitment, screening, training, placement); and 5) obtains commitment from employers to utilize tailor-made program as the primary source for employment in the specified occupation.

We call this approach Pre-Employment Training. Simply put, we are threading the needle, even in a recession, so that dislocated workers have reemployment opportunities in industries and occupations that are helping to fuel our recovery efforts. Current and future offerings include pre-employment training programs in health care, energy, aerospace and environmental remediation. The ROI inherent in the model includes increased employment retention on the demand side and lower unemployment on the supply side - a compelling investment for policy makers and community college leaders.

For more information visit St. Louis Community College’s Division of Workforce and Community Development.