The jobs are there, the education is not…

Source: The jobs are there, the education is not – USATODAY.com.

This disparity has come to be known as the “skills gap” — the divide between the jobs American businesses need to fill and the jobs Americans are qualified to do. Research shows that approximately 90% of the jobs in the fastest-growing occupations in our economy require some level of postsecondary education and training. And 80 million to 90 million adults today — about half of our current workforce — do not have the skills needed to acquire or advance in jobs that pay a family-sustaining wage. Where once we had a significant advantage in the global economy, our nation is quickly falling back to the pack and is growing increasingly unable to compete with nations such as China, Canada, Germany, India, and Korea.

The proposed GOP budget set up my the vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan proposes a 30% reduction in spending on education. In fact Mr. Ryan actually believes that the Department of Education should be eliminated and that we should have fifty different versions of what makes for adequate job training…

I started out as an electrical engineer and ended my career as an information technology team leader. Looking back I probably was not that well suited to be an engineer but due to not having any counseling advice I didn’t really know what my skills, some say gifts, were. There was just no funding for that in my little rural high school. But at least I did get an education to advance my skills in one area.  I was the first one in my family to even go to college so that was quite an accomplishment that I am proud of.  The quality of education in this country continues to be quite literally all over the map. If I had gone to one of the big city Indianapolis schools I would likely have been led into a different field that was more attuned to my gifts.

Perhaps the saddest part of the above quote is that there are so many who are still dropping out of high school especially in the rural areas and States. When we need to be increasing our spending on our education system there are those in the GOP that want to continue to cut it.  Because of this lack of funding at the federal level college education both two and four-year degrees continue to cost more and more. That fact is causing many in the lower-income families to be doomed to minimum wage living in the future.

We should be doing everything possible to ensure that none of our citizens drop out of high school and to make post secondary education the norm in this country. I guess I need to do a study on just why people drop out of high school before completion. Is it due to circumstances, boredom, or just lack of motivation?

Embracing Change….

Yes, even we seniors should embrace most changes in our lives. For one thing it keeps our times on earth interesting. For another it keeps us out of potentially harmful ruts we tend to get into. Change seems by nature to be something that humans adamantly resist. We tend to most often fear it rather than embrace it. This fact leads to nothing but varying degrees of misery in our lives.  Change is going to happen whether you want it to or not; that is just a fact of life.  How we handle it is what is important.

As I have said before I am just one of those people who gets bored easily so change is an often welcome visitor in my life. It offers new challenges and new opportunities to experience different things. Of course, not all change is good; some of it in fact can be quite detrimental! Where that is the case it is up to each of us to make sure that it is stifled as quickly as possible. But for the most part change is just a result of moving from one moment to the next.

One of the things that is changing in my life is that I am now officially a Mac guy once again. I have shed my corporate skin of Microsoft Windows computer and have rejoined the Mac crew of my origins. It has been almost twenty years since I was forced to the PC world by the corporate hierarchy. I grudgingly gave up my Mac then but now that I am free from that world I choose to return to a friendlier and more enjoyable computing experience. A lot of new lessons must be learned in this process but that is what makes my life interesting.

For those of you seniors who are not yet on-board with this new electronic world I can definitely tell you that you are missing out on some really good changes in your life. Yes, person-to-person contact still remains a very vital part of the human existence but the things we can now accomplish via the internet and other electronic sources will keep us connected with the outside world which of course includes our friends, both past and present, and relatives. Isolation has historically been an enormous detriment to senior citizens. That doesn’t have to be the case now. You can stay connected to the events of the world going on around you even if you have difficulty getting out of the house.  If you can’t afford a new computer try one of the many second-hand shops around. I would suggest you get a Mac but a PC is better than nothing.  🙂 Get one of your grandkids to help you if you need it; they would be tickled pink to help you.

Don’t be a grumpy old soul who constantly grips about how the world is different from when you were a kid.

I Tried but……

After such a heavy post the last time this one just must be lighter. Back in November I announced that I was starting up a hobby room in my barn to set up a slot car track with Lego buildings.  I did quite a bit of research but the planning it seems was more rewarding than the actual doing.  🙂 I got the basic tracks all built and put together a half dozen Lego projects and then pretty much abandoned the idea. I haven’t been out there in almost a month now!

This project started with the remembrances of my Dad in his garage building HO model trains. He would spend months doing all the work, then played with it for a while. But after a month or so he would tear everything down and start over again. He said he was just trying to “get it right”. I thought if it was good enough from him it was good enough for me. Since I didn’t want all the electrical stuff to do, I did too much of that in my work life, I decided to go a slightly different approach. Well I come to find out that I am just not the same kind of person my father was I guess.  After running the cars around the track for a few hours I got bored!  After building the sixth Lego project or so I got bored! I guess this type of stuff is just not for me?

So, here I am back at the keyboard putting out more blog posts. I now have five blogs running and still have ideas for others!  I guess I am just more cerebral than physical type of guy. I may try it again when the weather turns warmer but this may be one of those things I will just chalk up to “tried but didn’t work out” in my senior years.

In addition to blogging I am now in the travel planning mode. I have a surprise for Yvonne soon about where I think we should go for our twenty fifth anniversary trip in April. I am also working out some plans for our Nova Scotia trip in the summer.  On thing I know I am is a planner. I have been one all my life and am not about to change that now.

I know Spring is just around the corner and that is when I get back into the yard and garden mode. That is definitely one of my most wanted modes.What other projects are in my future I just don’t know yet. But that is one of the enjoyments of retirement. If something doesn’t work out just move on to the next thing. Anybody want to buy a slightly used slot car track; how about some Lego stuff ? 😉

And the journey goes on…

Life is Mainly Little Steps…

 

I like most people I guess, seem to go through my life concentrating mainly on the giant leaps. Getting my driver’s license, my first legal drink, the first job, getting married, retiring, etc, etc. These always seem to be things I am waiting for. But I have come to realize that by far most of life is the little steps. Those things we choose to do day in and day out are mainly what defines the quality of our lives. This is a difficult lesson for me to learn even in my retirement years. I by no means have that concept completely down but it is slowly sinking into my infinitely hard head. But little steps does not mean that you have to be resolved to a life of boredom!

One of the problems I have with retirement is that there seems to be no giant leaps to look forward to. About the only giant leap left is the leave this life for the next one. I am like most people I guess, I want to get to heaven but I don’t want to have to die to get there!

Currently one of my favorite books is entitled 1,000 Places To See in the U.S. Before You Die. I am resolved to see as many of them as I can; or at least the ones that interest me. Since I don’t really know how much longer we will be on the earth I want to do them all now! So I guess I have replaced the giant leap with one thousand smaller steps. Now my main chore is to get my home body wife as infected on the list as I am. That will be a giant chore indeed! Maybe if I take it one at a time she won’t realize I have a grander scheme in mind.

The picture above is me and my big brother. I think I was still waiting for my first birthday when it was taken.

And the journey goes on..