Thursday, October 10, 2013

Career Discovery Toolkit

The intention of the 3-DVD set Career Discovery Toolkit is to make career assessments and supporting material available to counselors whose centers do not have internet access. The idea is that copies of various documents could be downloaded and printed by a press that can do so inexpensively. Entire assessment kits could be assembled from the material in the set. The contents of such a kit is up to the career counselor who should apply knowledge and experience in the assembly of materials to fit their intended audience. The kit also includes a library of videos, slides, and reading material related to career development.

This toolkit now available online for those with internet access. The collection originated with a request from the Greatness Factory Trust to support tours of schools, job fairs, conferences, and other events in Zimbabwe on career development. Comments were gratefully received from Rabison Shumba and Emily Gurupira.

You are more than welcome to access this toolkit. If you have suggestions for inclusion, please add them to this posting's comments section.

Monday, May 27, 2013

OpenAccess for World-Wide Education and Training

The number of people with the desire, focus, and energy to learn skills that require considerable rigor far exceeds the resources that would be required to educate and train those people. By this I mean that the capacity is there (both in the person and the institutions) but the funding is not. This is especially the case with people in less wealthy countries.
One of the cost issues lies in access to the literature. Many authors and others concerned with education and training have recognized the problems that come about when commercial publishers (for-profit and non-profit) get control of the world's intellectual output. Thus, those who produce that output are increasingly turning to OpenSource, CreativeCommons, OpenAcess, GeneralPublic, and PublicDomain styles of licensing. The internet has created a connected world. Within that world, it is relatively easy to produce, store, and index books, articles, seminars, and even entire courses. Additionally, print-on-demand presents a cost-effective means of producing a physical product when that is desired.
I was asked by the University of Zimbabwe, Department of Computer Science, to design a course that would retain rigor and quality study material while not depending on a traditional textbook. You are welcome to read what I found out about freely-accessible material that maintains quality while controlling costs.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Book Review: Share or Die

Share or Die has the goal of talking about sharing as a means of survival in today's economy. The book presents stories collected from young liberal arts graduates and their post-graduation efforts to establish themselves. The stories are most revealing. There are 26 stories. These come from a broad spectrum of situations involving many types of people. I found that these groups of people include: the totally clueless, the totally rebellious, the achievers, and the survivors. Along the way you will find inspiring stories from people who made something meaningful happen in their lives and careers. They tell about what they did and how they got through the down times. These stories offer a lot to think about and many ways to look at difficult situations. You will benefit from the stories offered in this book, even if some of them are an example of what not to do. A detailed review is posted on my website.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

STEM Education Websites

It has always been my opinion that the education and training of the next generation of professionals starts in the home. Society can assist though its educational systems but the beginning and foundation of a person’s upbringing has to be provided, fostered, and encouraged by the parents.

Others in the professional community can be called upon to assist in the educational pipeline. To that end, a committee was formed in our parish to develop input to the parish grade and middle school on STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). Part of the committee’s task was to find websites that offer resources for teachers and students. These resources are just as well used by parents as they help their children explore their interests and talents.

Our committee published their results.

Friday, February 22, 2013

For Those Said to be "Over-Qualified"

Often, I hear of people being given the "over-qualified" brush-off. What I do about that is seek out jobs for which most people are under-qualified. I also do not put pearls before swine. What I mean by that is I seek out employers who need, and know they need, people of high skill and long experience. One has to know one's industry and maintain good networking but that does have advantages.

This mentality draws from my concept of a job/skills pyramid. The pyramid has three sections:

1. Bottom of the pyramid. This RED section has tons of jobs, so many that one is easily fooled into thinking that employment will always be available. However, these jobs are so easy that, regardless of the number of jobs available, there are tons more people than there are jobs. Generally, such jobs involve commodity skills. It is a good place to start but no place to stop one's development.

2. Middle of the pyramid. This YELLOW section has fewer jobs but a balance between the number of jobs and the number of people who can do those jobs. Getting to this level takes more personal and professional development than that required for the bottom RED section.

3. Top of the pyramid. This GREEN section has even fewer jobs than the middle YELLOW section but there are always fewer people who can do those jobs than the number of jobs available. Regardless of the economy, companies that need such skill and experience can never find and keep enough of this kind of person. The required skills are definitely not commodity.

To rise through the job/skills pyramid, one needs a strong performance ethic, an on-going cycle of study-learn-work-produce. From this perspective, work ethic is not sufficient, since work by itself will not yield the desired results. One also has to activate the entire performance-ethic cycle.