High Schools - Rural Community Job Creators

Growing our economy and saving our schools and communities can be done by creating high schools that teach young people they don’t have to work for a big company or for other people. Teach them that owning their own business is a possibility and, in fact, is a local strategy that will grow the economy. The best way to accelerate our job creation rate is to embrace and support policies in all levels of the political spectrum that create entrepreneurs. This is especially critical in today's job market, where change is taking place so rapidly, it's challenging to know what "jobs" will be available in the next three to five years. Especially in rural communities, business creation and succession are easier to determine and execute.

If we really want to make a difference in our economy and grow our towns, we must focus on entrepreneurship in our schools and towns. Don’t just create an entrepreneurship "class." Create a holistic entrepreneurship school that incorporates entrepreneurship practices into the core curriculum and an ecosystem in the community to support entrepreneurship.

We need:

  • to encourage people to dream.
  • to help talented individuals start companies that create business models that grow big-, medium-, small-sized, sustainable organizations.
  • to encourage students to create local jobs by owning local businesses.
  • to support them to grow regionally and globally.
  • entrepreneurship schools that give students alternative curriculum that teaches the components of business planning and use their youthful creativity to design the future.
  • holistic schools that engage youth to develop as local leaders, energizing them through entrepreneurship and business growth.
  • policies and new traditions that include youth in decision making for family-friendly communities.
  • to teach the importance of philanthropy and giving back locally.

Many of our towns are losing population. Schools are losing enrollment, and budgets are shrinking. We can turn around this trend by giving our youth an alternative to working for others and an alternative of having to move away to get a good job. That alternative is owning their own business and locating in the town where they are educated. 

Imagine a school in your town that incubates business ideas and business models that will spin out to locate on Main Street or can be run from a home using the community’s local technology, contributing to and growing your local tax base!

Do your students see a future for themselves?

Gallup identified the reason students drop out of school and disengage in education: they have lost all hope in graduating. They cannot see how the education they are getting will lead them to where they want to go. Students will engage in their education when they see how it will provide them with a good job and a chance for a good life. For many, it is giving them hope that their “good job” will be created by their own creativity and the realization that they can own their own business.

Innovation itself doesn’t create sales. The entrepreneur is the connector, the person who envisions a valuable product or concept and its customer, and then creates a business model and strategy that creates sales and profit.

This isn’t just a school’s issue. For many towns and cities, it is a community survival issue.

Entrepreneurship is a long-term commitment that needs the support of the local community, local school district, coupled with state policy support. From his book, The Coming Jobs War, Jim Clifton, chairman of Gallup, states, “If you were to ask me, from all of Gallup’s data and research on entrepreneurship, what will most likely tell you if you are winning or losing your city, my answer would be, ‘5th-12th-graders’ image of and relationship to free enterprise and entrepreneurship.’ If your city doesn’t have growing economic energy in your 5th-12th-graders, you will experience neither job creation, nor city GDP growth.”

 Entrepreneurship schools in our education system is a must and needs to be a supported strategy by leadership on all policy levels for our healthy, growing, successful future.

Who powers your town?

The dominant theme on any news is how “bad” big business is and how many employees “they” have added or taken away. Many people think that this country is run by “big business,” but actually, our country is really run and dominated by small- and medium-sized businesses. Ninety-eight percent of a community’s new jobs are created by businesses you see on your Main Street, home- based businesses that are a part of your town’s hidden economy, and many other of your existing businesses that you count on to meet your needs.

Clifton continues, “as of 2007, there were about six million businesses in the United States with at least one employee; businesses with 500 or fewer employees represent more than 99% of these six million. There are slightly more than 88,000 companies with 100 to 500 employees and about 18,000 with 500 to 10,000 workers – and only about 1,000 companies with more than 10,000 employees.”

Math says, of six million U.S. companies, only 107,000 of them have more than 100 employees. That leaves 5,893,000 businesses with fewer than 100 employees.

We work with communities on many different levels time in very rural areas. We’ve watched communities spend many thousands of dollars to “steal” companies from other towns, thus creating a neutral net gain of jobs in the economy. Many of those companies, after they have used up their tax advantages from relocating, will look elsewhere to gain more tax advantages and their loyalty to that community ends as soon as they receive a better deal, if there was any loyalty to begin with.

This is not just about taxes or regulations, though those are important components to the economy. Our focus is about teaching young people from a very early age that there is an alternative to working for someone else and that is creating your own business and products and working for yourself.

    According to Clifton, “the United States has successfully invented and commercialized between 30% and 40% of all breakthroughs worldwide, throughout virtually all categories, in the last 200+ years.”

    That is a startling statistic when you really think about what that means.  We have a culture of creativity and invention. We also have a culture of taking those inventions to market.

    That takes an entrepreneur.

    Who are your entrepreneurs?

    It appears to us we have been losing "entrepreneurial spirit" in our creative business cycle. Many community businesses are third-generation owners, passed down in families, leading to many of our communities and leaders losing their entrepreneurial culture, innovation, and drive.

    Entrepreneurs are the bridge to the innovations and those customers that will use the products, and the business model is everything! You can have all the inventions and innovative products in the world, but without the business model the entrepreneur creates to bring a product to market, new inventions and innovations sit on the shelf.

    Entrepreneurs are those who usually start businesses, but teaching entrepreneurship in school also introduces the concept of “intrapreneurship.” Intrapreneurs work inside companies and are the brains and energy behind creating customers.

    An entrepreneur/intrapreneur will create business models that will identify more customers and create innovative ways to address local, commercial, and social concerns.

    Who do YOU see has a great idea that can become a successful business for your community?

    If you'd like to explore ideas for your school and community, we're here!

    Fund Early Care and Education for a Better Workforce

    Why should businesses, communities, and states be concerned about creating family-friendly policies for their workforce and citizens?

    • Communities are concerned with keeping their youth and attracting young people and families to live, work, and play.
    • Communities across the country are pursuing the same families, so special attention is needed to stand above the rest.
    • U.S. companies lose $3 BILLION annually as a consequence of childcare-related absences and 85% of employers report providing childcare services improves employee recruitment. 

    Here's how: inject money into making sure yours is a Be WUCA! family-friendly business and community with a quality, fully-funded early care and education environment. Every decision your community makes, asks: "how will this decision affect children?" Look at all your policies and ask if they are family-friendly. 

    Issues with childcare often affect the job performance of working parents by increasing absenteeism, tardiness, turnover rates, recruitment, and training costs. In turn, these issues affect productivity and work quality and, ultimately, the competitiveness of the businesses that employ these workers.

    An average business with 250 employees can save $75,000 per year in lost work time by subsidizing care for employees' sick children. Employers surveyed report that childcare services decrease employee absences by 20-30 percent and reduce turnover by 37-60 percent. If it's your own business, it impacts your bottom line.

    Research shows that work-family benefits have a direct impact on employee recruitment and retention. For example, a small textile manufacturing company in the Southwest experienced a 40 percent turnover rate that dramatically dropped to seven percent after beginning a childcare program.

    It's critical employers attract and retain good, productive workers to stay competitive in the market. Given the changing composition of America’s labor force and the impact childcare has on worker productivity, businesses with employer-assisted childcare implement a cost-effective way to control labor costs, enhance worker productivity, and engage your workforce. Employees will be loyal to and productive for a company who helps care for their children!

    Investing when the brain is developing is good policy.

    The following chart shows the relationship of brain development to public expenditures.

    The brain develops 80% by the age of three and 90% by school age. In fact, the brain is connecting new neurons in the first 2000 days of a child's life at a rate of 700 connections per second. Every connection is a thought, belief, or a new learned experience. These first 2000 days are when school and work habits are being formed. We need to spend dollars when they will do the most good. 

    Think back to your first thought. How old were you when you have your first memory? For most, our first memories average at three or four years old. As that is true, what is being taught to children during this critical phase of lifetime brain development is crucial to a child's - and society's - welfare.

    But, as the diagram shows, public expenditures increase in the preschool and kindergarten years when a child begins school, near the end of early significant brain connections. In fact, the Federal Reserve has documented that for every $1 invested in early care and education, communities save between $4 - $14 in future costs of remedial and special education, the juvenile crime system, and welfare support.

    The labor market today and into the foreseeable future is radically different than it used to be. New jobs that we will need have not even been thought of or invented. The old problem of finding enough work for rising numbers of workers is replaced by the new problem of locating enough workers to fill new jobs requiring technical skills generated by an expanding economy. 

    Every experience we have had shapes who we are, including our school and work habits. Good early care and education is critical to the students and workers of the future. 

    When you invest in and create a family-friendly WUCA! community with a quality, fully-funded early care and education environment, families will look for you and choose your community to call home.

    When you implement these recommendations in your community and state, you will stand above the rest and grow! 

     How does this decision affect children? Is it FAMILY-FRIENDLY?

    Student Success is Good for the Workforce

    We met Brittany as a sophomore in 2008 when we began teaching Coaching in the Classroom.

    A young woman from a hard-working family facing some challenges, Brittany, in this phase of her life, was a free spirit in search of herself. Not following any one “look,” she colored her hair and wore a variety of clothing to express herself. Academically, she had passed few classes and accumulated few credits toward graduation. Her future looked pretty dim unless she made changes in her life.

    We could see she was smart. Very smart. Capable. Very kind to a great many people, especially those she let into her trust. What she lacked was belief in herself and a support system to encourage her intelligence and skills. Her circle of friends tended to be students from similar backgrounds for mutual support – and not always good choices.

    During the course of the next three years, we worked closely with Brittany at school, on Facebook, in phone conversations, and many, many texts. We talked through drama. We talked through friendships and how associations affect a person and their decisions. We talked about her family and what she was dealing with at home. We advised her what we told the classes – that sometimes you have to leave behind the life you know to have the life you want. Sometimes figuratively. Sometimes literally.

    As her time with us progressed and she matured, Brittany heard the message of WUCA!

    She shifted her shocking hair colors in favor of highlighting to bright shades to show her individuality.

    She heard and chose the message of C + A = R.

    She heard the message of understanding the viewpoints of others, asking bright, thoughtful, curious, intuitive questions.

    She heard the message of identifying her passions and setting goals.

    She heard the message of changing the way she looks at life.

    Most importantly, she chose to act on what she heard.

    Through extremely hard work, dedication, taking extra classes, getting extra help from teachers, choosing different friends or, a lot of time, choosing to be alone, Brittany chose to turn around her circumstances and act differently to gain the result she desired.

    She was one of 12 high school students to participate in a deliberative dialogue on America’s Role in the World. Her comments were included in a report and video shared at the 50th anniversary of the Dartmouth Conference on U.S./Russia relations in 2010 in Washington, D.C.

    She graduated on time, with her class. We were there to celebrate with her and her family. And we’re still celebrating.

    Now in her early 20s, Brittany has gone on to college – the first in her family to do so. And she has a 3.5 GPA.

    That’s choosing your direction.

    That’s leaving the past to press on to the future.

    That’s realizing your value.

    That’s a star.

    That’s the power of WUCA!

    What the World of Work Wants for Students, Faculty, & Staff

    When the student understands how their school work is relevant to what is required in the workplace, they can adjust their attitude and actions. When students in a rural Iowa school implemented WUCA!, the at-risk population plummeted from 41% to 12% in three years.

    Employers consistently report dissatisfaction with many job candidates they see, particularly those for entry-level positions. Many of those habits and attitudes are formed by the student while in school. Global Horizons’ connection between classroom learning and workplace skills is critical because habits developed throughout school transfer to careers. What the World of Work Wants attaches classroom learning to workplace goals by measuring student performance with employer standards:

    • Student attendance & punctuality. Employers want employees to show up on time, ready to work.

    • Grades. Employers will reward “A” quality work with promotions and raises. An employee may keep their job doing “C” work, but only maintain their current position. Less than “C” work could cost an employee their job.

    • Standardized tests. Employers will measure performance through evaluations at least once, if not twice, per year.

    • Participation in extracurricular activities. Employers want employees to know how to “play well” with others. It’s imperative that employees know how to operate with a team structure.

     


    It Takes a Village to Engage a Workforce

    America’s low level of employee engagement is a huge drag on your community’s economy.

    An October, 2013 Gallup survey indicates that only 13 percent of employees worldwide are engaged at work, according to their 142-country study on the State of the Global Workplace. In other words, about one in eight workers -- roughly 180 million employees in the countries studied -- are psychologically committed to their jobs and likely to be making positive contributions to their organizations.  http://www.gallup.com/poll/165269/worldwide-employees-engaged-work.aspx. 

    In the U.S. and Canada, that survey indicates employee engagement remains at 29 percent, static since Gallup’s 2006 survey of employees engaged in their workplaces.

    In the 2013 report, Gallup states, “Increasing workplace engagement is vital to achieving sustainable growth for companies, communities, and countries --- and for putting the global economy back on track to a more prosperous and peaceful future.”  

    These statistics matter to communities as global business relationships flourish and economies are increasingly interwoven. An engaged workforce is critical to each community infrastructure for safety, stability, and sustainable growth. An engaged workforce keeps vital services in place like police and fire departments to protect citizens and homes. An engaged workforce provides jobs and business opportunities. An engaged workforce provides volunteers for churches, civic, and philanthropic organizations.

    If workforce engagement is such a huge issue for companies, and the statistic of engaged workers has been the same for nearly eight years, why is little being done to address the problem? Companies, communities, schools, and individuals must move in a different direction. Doing the same things in the same way will get you the same results. 

    A picture of a village engaging a workforce

    In a given geography, we identify four “workforce hubs:” individual, community, education, and business, each an entry point of opportunity to engage citizens. For example, in the business hub, engaged employees are critical for a company’s bottom line. An engaged worker will contribute more to profit, growth and innovation, increased investment and purchases by outside interests, and an internal productive, enjoyable environment. Workers need their “head in the game” while on the clock. When workers are distracted for any reason from the task at hand – making money for the business – worker productivity decreases. In short, worker engagement matters to the company bottom line. 

    All businesses, community organizations and governments spend money to attract new opportunities and people from around the globe for economic growth. It’s imperative communities have a holistic approach to workforce engagement to be efficient with those dollars.

    What to do? 

    Implement an overall community approach with targeted actions to better-engage citizens in every hub to strengthen schools, increase productivity, build volunteerism, and reinforce families.

    • In the individual hub, get to know yourself. Coach citizens to know themselves and identify their skills. Find their passion and purpose, define their vision of the future, and establish goals to get there. In turn, the community will benefit from new businesses, stronger families, and increased pride. New voices, ideas, and attitudes that welcome must exist and be promoted.
    • In the community hub, be open to newcomers and new ways of seeing the world. Newcomers arrive in our towns in many forms seeking a place to connect, feel safe, perhaps raise their families, and contribute to society. In a five-county area, we used a process called Community Builders. By encouraging new ideas from residents and newcomers, 250 new jobs followed during the next three years. 
    • In the education hub, connect your students with your area workforce. The learning environment in your education system establishes habits for your future workforce participants. Schools are workplaces. Interactions between administrators and teachers and teachers with students need to model workplace etiquette and skills. 

    In our method, Coaching in the Classroom, intentional outreach, especially with students “at-risk” is crucial to a community’s success. Gallup identified the reason students drop out of school and disengage from education: they have lost all hope in graduating. Our experience indicates these are the students who will run their community someday, so engaging them, teaching them early on to be productive citizens, business owners, and mayors will pay off. In one school district  that implemented Coaching in the Classroom, the “at-risk” population decreased in three years from 41 to 12 percent.

    • In the business hub, knowing employees and their strengths is key to success. When a worker is considered for a position, there is an effort made to connect their resume and skill set to what is needed. Likely what would be more effective, especially in the long-term, is to determine what the applicant is absolutely passionate about doing. Doing what they love to do and contribute will indicate whether they “have” to come to work, or “get” to come to work. When a person “gets” to come to work, a business will have an engaged, productive, energized workforce. 

    In companies large and small, the relationship between supervisors and employees strongly impacts worker engagement. When there is worker dissatisfaction, it’s often with a supervisor, not the company itself. It pays in the long run for companies to train their front-line supervisors to have respected, encouraging relationships with the workers in their charge.

    Gallup concludes, “If your business is like most, only about one-third of your employees are committed to your company’s success and that’s clearly not enough to overcome the two-thirds of your workforce standing in their way. So, while doubling engagement may seem like an uphill climb, it’s easier than justifying a company’s downhill slide.”

    When you take a holistic approach to worker engagement, your whole community benefits by increasing wealth beyond the bottom line. People will volunteer. They will take pride in their town. They’ll invite their friends and family to move to the area, growing school districts. When you feel valued, you have personal and professional satisfaction and peaceful relationships - outcomes every community seeks in its quality of life.

    Implement The BeWUCA! Way methods to motivate your village to engage your workforce. Click here now to create a 21st century workforce economy!

    Curriculum Meets Demands for Business Needs of a 21st-Century Workforce

    The reality of our classrooms today is that our students are being taught core academic fundamentals but our educational system, government mandates, and lack of solid parenting don’t allow time or staff to bridge the gap between school learning and applicability to the workforce once they leave school.

    However, as employers are demanding connection between their workforce and schools, should this be a critical component of school core curriculum? According to a recent Iowa Workforce Development report, almost 50 percent of businesses surveyed indicate a workforce that needs soft-skills training and Gallup surveys show more than 85 percent of the national workforce is disengaged, costing companies valuable time, energy, and profits.
     
    Global Horizons has taken the requests for a stronger workforce and created a classroom process called Coaching in the Classroom (CIC). The process is based on more than 28 years of experience in business  and economic development at the local, state, and federal level to know what employers are looking for in workers.

    Using their book, The Be WUCA! Way, The ART of getting along, CIC guides students in directing their life by creating a classroom learning environment, coupled with solid 21st-century workforce skills, to increase student achievement. CIC also urges students to consider starting their own new business and/or transition into buying existing businesses someday in their communities.

    Here are results, how CIC connects classrooms to the workplace, CIC goals and the relationship to 21-Century skills, and the critical importance of classroom relevance to community growth.

    In three years, CIC accomplished these measurable results:

    Different than learning to build or knowing the details of a specific product for a company, these needed skills are called “soft” because they are less tangible. Skills like show up on time, ready to work. Play well with others. Do your best work - always. Skills known to be critical to a company’s success, we call these “workplace” skills.
     
    CIC began as a pilot project in 2009, focusing on 7th – 12th-graders deemed “at-risk” by Iowa Department of Education criteria in two settings: a rural Iowa school district and a metro alternative school. CIC uses powerful relationship-building techniques and goal-setting utilized by championship athletes to develop championship students in the classroom. 

    • High school student population considered “at-risk” decreased from 41 to 12.3 percent.
    • Within months of CIC’s inception, students sent to the principal’s office for misbehavior decreased more than 50 percent.
    • The 2009 freshman class of a school district using CIC established a goal for 100% of their class to graduate together. They achieved that goal in 2013. This accomplishment was so notable that the superintendent commented on it during commencement.
    • 35 percent of 7th and 8th graders met established grade goals set at the beginning of each semester. 
    • Students recognize that classroom work in core areas has direct impact on their future either in further education, enlisting in the military, or by remaining in or near their hometown and joining the workforce.

    CIC connects classrooms to the workplace

    This connection between classroom learning and workplace skills is critical because habits developed in school transfer to careers. CIC attaches workplace goals to classroom learning by measuring student performance with employer standards.

    • Student attendance and punctuality – employers want employees to show up on time, ready to work.
    • Grades – employers will reward “A” quality work with promotions and raises. An employee may keep their job doing “C” work, but will only maintain their current position. Less than “C” work could cost an employee their job.
    • Standardized tests – employers will measure performance through evaluations at least once, if not twice, per year.
    • Participating in extracurricular activities – employers want employees to know how to “play well” with others. It is imperative that employees know how to operate with a team structure.

    When the student understands how their school work is relevant to what is required in the workplace, they can adjust their attitude and actions. 

    Coaching in the Classroom believes that all students succeed when their passions, purpose, and goals align with their personal and occupational visions. CIC is the bridge that keeps all students in school through graduation and develops habits in self-motivation and drive for success for today’s global workforce.

    CIC Goals

    • Instill entrepreneurial spirit and skills to help students see the possibility of being local business owners and leaders.
    • Strengthen the local workforce by reinforcing the relevance of classroom instruction material to their futures.
    • Improve self-esteem of students when they achieve personal success raising scores and feel more hopeful about their future options.
    • Improve behavior of students in the community.
    • Improve relationships between students, staff, and faculty in school.
    • Improve relationships between the school, students, and the community.

    CIC also meets Iowa's 21st-Century Universal Constructs: Essential for 21st-Century Success. CIC teaches competencies and habits needed for future successes in careers, college, and citizenry in all six areas:

    • Critical thinking
    • Complex Communication
    • Creativity
    • Collaboration
    • Flexibility and Adaptability
    • Productivity and Accountability

    Classroom relevance to community growth

    A primary goal of education is to provide opportunities for economic stability for the rest of a person’s life. Education is a means to find a way that fulfills passions while reaching economic stability. Personal and professional economic stability is crucial for community stability and growth potential.

    Connection between a school district and its business community is vital for growth. Local businesses can strengthen the workforce through relevant speakers to the classes. They can identify gaps in businesses needed by the community and look to students to fill those gaps. Business can understand, instruct, and support how high school learning will impact future goals for the student and area opportunities. The community must want to reach out to students to welcome, engage, and recognize the talents they have to offer. Plus, community members need enthusiasm and patience to teach students the skills they need to learn.

    By identifying passions and aspirations with all students early in their school careers, ensuring they are welcome and have a place, and helping them determine the steps to make their goals reality, students are more focused, better-behaved and satisfied in school and better prepared to join the workforce.

    Agree of disagree? Leave a comment below. Or better yet, to implement CIC in your schools, contact Global Horizons for more information.