Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How Americans Can Help Bring Jobs Back to America

The high unemployment rate is here to stay unless consumers help to bring jobs back to America. If you think the overall unemployment rate of 9.8% is bad; wait until you break the numbers down across various American demographic groups. It gets worse.

This last unemployment report for November 2010 had really very little good news and all major worker groups saw an increase in their rates of unemployment. The unemployment rate among African Americans went up from 15.7% to 16%. Within that group, the unemployment rate for black men was up to 16.7% from 16.3% and for black women up to 13.1% from 12.7%. Whites saw an uptick of 0.1% from 8.8% to 8.9% and Latinos had a bigger jump, up 0.6% to 13.2%. Rates among American teens were overall at 20.9% for whites, down from 23.6% and an astounding 46.5% for African-Americans. This actually was down from 48% and 30% for Latinos, a 1.6% drop from the month before. The rate of underemployment which looks at the unemployed, marginally attached and those working part-time for economic reasons was unchanged at 17%.

I looked hard to find the bright side, but couldn't -especially when I know that many of the jobs lost in manufacturing and construction sectors are not coming back to the America. Not that I don't want them to come back or think they can't. I think some can; especially those in the manufacturing sector.

I think that until Americans really begin to take notice of what they consume and what they buy, there will not be enough pressure on politicians to do the right thing and impose tariffs that will make American made products more attractive.
The next time you are in your favorite coffee shop waiting to pick up your $4.50 latte, wander over to the shelves adorned with mugs and assorted tea-drinking or coffee paraphernalia. Where are they made? What percentage of them are made in America? 

I guess the question would be, what exactly is the reason that they can't be made in America? I suspect it has something to do with tax incentives to ship jobs overseas, lobbyists and politicians who really don't care what voters think.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tips To Fight Age Discrimination in the Job Search

I spoke with an older employee who had recently lost a spouse and was looking to go back to work. She was fearful of her chances of finding employment.  "Nobody wants to hire old people anyway and with all these young people looking for work, I feel bad trying to take a job from them.  They have families."

I reminded her that she really needed to put her best forward and not show hesitation in her search.  Not only did she feel most employers would not want to hire her because of age, she also felt that those who would, were not willing to pay what her experience deserved.

I shared with her the following list of tips Ishared to help her fight any age discrimination in employment.

1. Stay cheerful and high energy for all phone or in-person job interviews
2. Speak to the benefits of experience, professional maturity and expertise
3. Keep resume content current and stick to relevant information. Read 50 Hot Resume Writing Tips.
4. Speak to the long term value you can bring to the company
5. Tell stories about outstanding outcomes in prior assignments
6. Consider using a functional resume
7. Use cover letters to focus on relevant, recent experiences
8. Speak to your ability to collaborate and work with everyone from Boomers to Millennials.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pennco Tech: Let Career Training Turn your Hobby into a Career

Pennco Tech has been offering Automotive Technology programs in the state of Pennsylvania for decades. The first time I heard about the school was when my nephew applied to the Bristol, PA location in the early 1990’s. He had just graduated high school and the US economy was sputtering as the country slowly rebounded from that recession. He continued to tinker with cars to earn extra money as he decided on his next step.

Now, almost two decades after graduation from Pennco Tech, my nephew is a successful auto mechanic and entrepreneur managing his own shop now for almost 15 years. Despite the bad economy, his business has grown steadily. Primarily, I think, due to ongoing professional training for himself and his staff, and the early commitment he made to providing excellent customer service. In addition, the very nature of the bad economy we are experiencing seems to drive his business as well. People who are looking to increase or preserve the value of their automobiles are choosing to repair and routinely maintain their vehicles.

It is often said that one of the surefire ways to recession proof one’s career is to get serious about additional training. My goal today is not to tell you about my nephew’s success, but to encourage you to explore opportunities for learning and new careers even in a down economy. Or maybe I should say, especially in a down economy. Experts widely believe we are living in a "knowledge economy" and the more committed we are to lifelong learning and new training, the more recession proof our careers will be.

As experienced automotive technicians retire, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is predicting that opportunities should be very good for those who complete postsecondary automotive training programs like that at Pennco Tech. If you are thinking about your next career step and not sure where to start, look around your own city for training programs that could help you turn your hobby into a successful career like my nephew did.