The Virtual International Round Table 10/4/2017

We have just celebrated the beginning of a new year on the Jewish Calendar.  In Jewish terms it is the year 5778.  In our tradition it is not a one night blow out with champagne and such.

We begin ten days before with the actual beginning of the year, called in Hebrew “Rosh Ha Shana” – which translates “First of the Year.”  In our tradition we then have ten days to contact everyone we may have wronged in the past year and ask their forgiveness.

At the end of that ten day period we celebrate Yom Kippur – meaning “The Day of Atonement”.  Basically, now that we have straightened out out relations with man, it is time to do the same with God.  We confess our sins, ask forgiveness, hope for a better year and trust God to do the same.

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Our unemployment rate has dropped to historic lows.   Following a steady drop over the past eleven years.  It is about as low as it is going to get.  Statistics show there are more than six million unfilled jobs in the U.S.  –  Many of them high paying.  Which begs the question:  Where are all the workers?

The truth is that many have dropped out of the work force.  We heard some politician say on the air last week :”the healthy guy in Bangor, Maine sitting at home getting benefits and playing video games has to go out and get a job.”

We discussed this at breakfast.  Okay, here is a healthy guy in Bangor. Maine – or anywhere else – he worked a fork lift at the GE plant for eighteen years.  The plant closed.  GE opened a new one in Schenectedy, New York which is totally automated.  Now a robot does what this guy used to do at the same pace – without breaking for lunch, taking a vacation or any sick leave.

Is he happy  being home “playing video games” – without the training to compete in the new Industrial Revolution?  We doubt it.  We need a complete retraining program that trains the worker to fit the job.  Do we expect a fifty five year old coal miner to learn coding?  Well, maybe…

 

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Germany has found its niche in the world economy in precision engineering.  They have a shortage of workers.  They work on a “Guild”system of apprentice, journeyman and full worker.  Back in the day in Cleveland, many of our plants had the same system.  Sometimes three generations from the same family would be working at Lincoln Electric or a similar business.

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Is there a middle or high school in our State without a football team?  Doubt it.  Is there a middle or high school in our State without a student orchestra or theater program.  Probably plenty.  Searching for statistics, we find that indeed the twenty five top rated schools in Florida all have strong arts programs.

Arts programs lead to better grades, better SAT scores and enrollment in better colleges – with higher scholarship rates.  These programs cost a lot less then football and produce significantly fewer concussions.

This is not a rant against high school football.  For some kids it is a great experience and for a few of them a shot at a free ride in college. But an arts program?  That’s a proven road to success for a greater percentage of kids – ’cause not all of them can do a 4.4 forty yard dash or grow to a size commensurate with college players’ average size.

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Things put off due to a lack of money range from a new car to a flooded neighborhood or an island (in a BIG ocean) without power or adequate roads.

Personally, we got very lucky during the Lady Irma’s visit, mostly because our area’s utility pipes are 100% underground.  This is Florida.  We have hurricanes. There will be more.  What changes should be made.

Look – we come from Cleveland.  Cleveland has blizzards. Yet every time there is a BIG one they act as if it never happened before. So, Florida – you’re not alone.

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Like to hear your thoughts on some of the above.  Be well, do good work  – stay in touch.

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