Meet Janice Bryant Howroyd, the first African American woman to run a $1-billion business

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CEO of Act 1 Group

Janice Bryant Howroyd, 65, is founder and chief executive of Act 1 Group, an employment agency that also provides consulting and business services, including background checks and screening. She’s the first African American woman to operate a company that generates more than $1 billion in annual revenue, according to Black Enterprise Magazine. Act 1, which includes other brands such as Agile 1, A-Check Global and AppleOne, has contracts with 17,000 clients in 19 countries.

“If you visit any of our offices,” Howroyd said, “you’ll see that we live by the mantra that ‘the applicant is the center of our universe.’ It’s always been our belief that if you get that applicant in the right job, then they will be the best representation of who we are as a company.”

Early lessons

Growing up in Tarboro, N.C., as one of 11 children, Howroyd had early lessons in team building. Each sibling was assigned an older one to act as a mentor.

“My sister Sandy was my appointed guardian angel,” Howroyd said, “so it was up to her to see that I’d gotten my homework done, my hair was done, and my thoughts and process were in line with what the family wanted. We were very organized.”

Big move

After studying humanities and English at North Carolina A&T, Howroyd faced culture shock when she moved to Los Angeles in 1976 with just $900. Her older sister again provided welcome advice to “settle myself into knowing who I was, learning the power of that and understanding it.”

Brother-in-law Tom provided a temporary job at Billboard and saw entrepreneurial talents in the way Howroyd interacted with clients. Even when she was ill at ease, “I would revert to what I do well, which is strategize. I love to look at a problem, break it apart, find the better potential, knowing when to eliminate what doesn’t need to be there.”

Word of mouth

Howroyd, who didn’t even own a fax machine, opened Act 1 in a small office in Beverly Hills in 1978. She started out by making full-time job placements for companies needing workers, then shifting to temporary placements. Pleased clients were her best advertisements.

“It still matters in business more what someone else says about you than what you say about yourself,” Howroyd said. “You can have the best advertising, but unless someone else certifies what they are saying, you won’t last long. Word of mouth has always been my best referral system.”

Standing out

Early on, Howroyd employed a strategy that allowed her to compete against bigger companies, preparing her prospective hires by training them in what their employers were looking for in new workers.

“It always works best when you can tailor a hire to fit into a company’s philosophy,” Howroyd said. “They walk in better prepared and it’s more likely to be a very good fit for your client.”

Standing up

Whether it was dealing with racist students and teachers in her youth or businesspeople who uttered the most stunningly insensitive remarks, Howroyd said there were times when she was forced to bite her tongue and muddle through and other times when it was clear a stand had to be made, as frightening as that might clearly be.

“In order to be outstanding, sometimes, you’re just going to have to stand out” and not hide, Howroyd said. “My personal business protocol, my life mantra: Never compromise who you are personally to become what you wish to be professionally.”

Continue onto the LA Times to read the complete article.

TFS Scholarships Launches Online Toolkit to Provide College Funding Resources

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Higher Education

SALT LAKE CITY— TFS Scholarships (TFS), the most comprehensive online resource for higher education funding, has launched a free online toolkit to provide counselors, families and students with resources to help improve the college scholarship search process. The toolkit, available at tuitionfundingsources.com/resource-toolkit, provides downloadable resources and practical tips on how to find and apply for scholarships.

The launch comes in celebration with Financial Aid Awareness Month when many families are beginning the FAFSA process and researching financial aid options.

“We hope these resources help raise awareness around TFS and the 7 million college scholarships available to undergraduate, graduate and professional students,” said Richard Sorensen, president of TFS Scholarships. “Our goal is to help families discover alternative ways to offset the rising costs of higher education.”

The resource toolkit includes flyers, email templates, newsletter content, digital banners and table toppers which are designed to be shareable content that counselors, students and organizations can use to spread the word about how to find free money for college.

The newly revamped TFS website curates over 7 million scholarship opportunities from across the country – with the majority coming directly from colleges and universities—and matches them to students based on their personal profile, where they want to study, and stage of academic study. By tailoring the search criteria, TFS identifies scholarships that students are uniquely qualified for, thus lowering the application pool and increasing the chances of winning. By creating an online profile, students can find scholarships representing more than $41 billion in aid. About 5,000 new scholarships are added to the database every month and appear in real time.

Thanks to exclusive financial support from Wells Fargo, the TFS website is completely ad-free, and no selling of data, making it a safe and trusted place to search.

For more information about Tuition Funding Sources visit tuitionfundingsources.com.

 

About TFS Scholarships

TFS Scholarships (TFS) is an independent service that provides free access to scholarship opportunities for aspiring and current undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Founded in 1987, TFS began as a passion project to help students and has grown into the most comprehensive online resource for higher education funding. Today, TFS is a trusted place where students and families enjoy free access to more than 7 million scholarships representing more than $41 billion in college funding. In addition to its vast database that’s refreshed with 5,000 new scholarships every month, TFS also offers information about career planning, financial aid, and federal and private student loan programs as part of its commitment to helping students fund their future. Learn more at tuitionfundingsources.com.

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Let Me Tell You About Athalie Range…

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Mrs. Athalie Range and Santura Pegram

By Santura Pegram

It was once said that boxing great Muhammad Ali believed parents should be very careful when considering the name of their newborn child(ren), because that name will follow the child throughout their lifetime and often serve as an introduction to an unfairly judgmental world.

The late boxing-civil rights icon felt a name should serve as an ‘honorable title’ to be remembered by, as opposed to being a discriminatory reason to dismiss someone from a particular subject matter. Therefore, this belief should’ve served notice to those who initially questioned the name M. Athalie Range.

Unusually small in stature, yet awe-inspiring and captivating in presence, Mrs. Mary Athalie Range of Miami was a giant in a small body. A profoundly impactful political visionary, effective civil rights trailblazer, and successful black female entrepreneur, she had no choice but to be a person of significance with a unique name like Athalie.

Long considered the Political Matriarch of the State of Florida, a trusted advisor to President Jimmy Carter and several governors in Florida and from other states too, those who were blessed to know her understand why it was so easy for people of all generations and backgrounds to adore this sweet little woman. She had a magical presence about her that even melted the hearts of the most hardened politicians and business leaders, and won her favor among countless notable figures throughout the U.S. When she entered a room—whether it was a corporate board room full of high-powered executives or the political chambers of government buildings throughout the State of Florida—she characteristically had the E.F. Hutton effect upon most people: “when Mrs. Athalie Range talked, everyone listened.”

Mrs. M. Athalie Range
Mrs. M. Athalie Range

Commanding such respect and admiration from people came natural for her, which explained why she had over 125 local, statewide and national awards and honors covering every space on one wall of her office. Additionally, it’s also why she was blessed to see the main branch of the U.S. Post Office in downtown Miami, and a public park and swimming pool named after her long before she died in 2006. Since her passing, a special group of local leaders, which includes her grandson N. Patrick Range II., are preparing to spearhead a multimillion-dollar capital investment campaign to build a state-of-the-art museum educating people about the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park, once the only public beach in Dade County, Florida open to African-Americans (virginiakeybeachpark.net).

In 1999, after years of being closed and virtually abandoned, it was Athalie Range’s final mission when she, Gene Tinnie, and a small group of progressive minds prodded the City of Miami to not only eventually re-open the park, but also agree to designate it to the National Register of Historic Places list. A few years later, the park officially re-opened to the public and is, undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful, serene beach locations in the entire U.S. today. Unfortunately, most tourists visiting South Florida don’t realize that a breathtaking pristine beach is available to them just a 15-minute drive from downtown Miami and is a far more relaxing option than the typical overly-congested beachfront, streets and sidewalks of South Beach.

Residents of South Florida and visitors alike should forever feel indebted to Athalie Range because without her selfless endeavors and tireless advocacy, one of the last remaining examples of paradise on Earth simply would not exist.

To see a woman of her caliber evolve from fighting for the rights of children as the PTA President of her son’s school, to becoming a political and civil rights legend known for advocating for fairness among people, one can not help but wonder what Mrs. Range would’ve voiced about the current dynamics surrounding the senseless killings of black people by black people and black males by police officers.

President Jimmy Carter & Athalie Range
President Jimmy Carter & Mrs. M. Athalie Range

Her grandson, N. Patrick Range II., recently expressed, “my grandmother would have been very disturbed by the violence and senseless killings taking place in our inner cities today. She always fought for blacks to have the same rights as others. During her lifetime, she dealt with issues like racial profiling and police violence in the inner cities. As an example, she was very vocal and extremely active during the killing of Arthur McDuffie. She was a loud and calming voice during the Miami riots, too. She urged blacks to stop the violence because we were only destroying our own community.”

He went on to say, without a doubt, Mrs. Range “would be unhappy with the lack of progress in community relations with police all over this country. She also would be equally concerned with the amount of black-on-black violence in every urban neighborhood and the proliferation of guns as well. She actually helped to start a program to encourage violent youth offenders to change their ways.

The program is called GATE and was designed to help minors avoid being convicted and carrying a record before they are adults. If the minor offender completes the coursework and program satisfactorily, then they have an opportunity to have their case dismissed. She was always proactive in doing things to resolve issues as opposed to sitting back and merely talking about the issue(s). She knew she could effect change with the right approach and that was always her goal.”

While many communities have never had the chance to learn from someone like M. Athalie Range, there’s always hope that the youth of today will grow into a modern day version of her. And, just maybe, help to make the world a far better place today and tomorrow than it has been for most disadvantaged people of color.

After all, we only live once. Why not make your life as meaningful as Athalie did?

• (Santura Pegram is a freelance writer and a business professional in South Florida. A former protégé – aide to M. Athalie Range – Santura often writes on topics ranging from socially relevant issues to international business to politics.)

Laila Ali: Be Unique and Pursue Your Dreams

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Laila Ali

Laila Ali developed the values of hard work, determination and courage growing up as the youngest child of the legendary boxer and humanitarian Muhammad Ali. Her own record of 24 wins—21 of which were knockouts—and zero losses has made her the most successful contender in the history of women’s boxing.

The boxing world champion, TV host, author, and speaker, said, “I like to live my life with an ‘All In’ attitude. I’m always asking myself, ‘What more can I do?'”

Most recently, Ali partnered with T.J.Maxx to launch “The Maxx You Project,” encouraging women to let their individuality shine. In response, T.J.Maxx is launching The Maxx You Project—aimed at helping women break those stereotypes by embracing the personal aspirations or lifelong dreams that make them each one-of-a-kind. Ali has overcome adversity, defied expectations and pushed herself beyond her comfort zone—to help 80 women to do the same.

“As a woman, I know there are ‘boxes’ the world might try to place us in and go-to labels often used to describe us: mother, sister, boss, friend, etc., but they don’t even begin to scratch the surface of who we truly are at our core,” Ali said. “From ‘Mom Boss’ to boxing world champion, entrepreneur to cooking enthusiast, author, speaker and TV host, there is no one role that defines me. That’s why I’m really excited to partner with T.J.Maxx to inspire others to break through those labels and pursue what’s inside them.”

Dollar General Announces Call for New Vendors

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Suppliers, companies and manufacturers with exciting new products who want to reach millions of consumers and partner with one of America’s fastest-growing retailers that is currently listed #128 on the Fortune 500 list and posted $22 billion in FY 2016 sales, listen up!

Dollar General (NYSE: DG) is encouraging new suppliers and those who have not sold products to the Company within the past 18 months to apply to attend its inaugural Innovation and Supplier Diversity Summit in April 2018. The event aims to pair potential new vendors with respective Dollar General buyers and category managers. Suppliers must sell items in at least one of the following categories to be eligible to attend:

  • Beauty, Personal Care and Over-the-Counter/Wellness
  • General Merchandise/All Non-Food
  • Grocery.

“As part of Dollar General’s continual commitment to provide quality products at everyday low prices to our diverse consumer base, we are thrilled to announce our first Innovation and Supplier Diversity Summit scheduled for this spring,” said Jason Reiser, Dollar General’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. “Having the right products to best meet our customers’ needs is a foundational cornerstone at Dollar General. As such, we look forward to meeting with potential new vendors, learning about relevant products for our customers and expanding the number of unique and specialized offerings available in our stores.”

To apply, interested suppliers, companies and manufacturers may submit their product information at www.rangeme.com/dollargeneralfrom Tuesday, January 30 through end of day on Tuesday, February 20, 2018. Selected companies will be subject to a $500 participation fee and notified via email by Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing (ECRM) of the time, date and location of their meeting with a member of the Dollar General merchandising team.

Continue onto Business Wire to read the complete article.

Airbnb Adds Outgoing American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault To Board of Directors

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Airbnb is adding its first-ever independent director to the board of the nearly decade-old company. On Thursday, Airbnb announced that Kenneth Chenault, the outgoing CEO of American Express, will be joining its board of directors.

“I’ve been inspired by the way Airbnb has turned a simple, yet powerful idea – opening the doors to strangers – into a global movement that has brought millions of people together and I am looking forward to working with Brian and the entire Airbnb team as they build for the future,” Chenault said in a statement.

Chenault announced in October 2017 that he planned to leave American Express on February 1. Chenault, 66, first joined the company in 1981 after graduating from Bowdoin College and Harvard Law School. He quickly climbed the ranks and was named president and chief operating officer in 1997. He has held the top job since 2001 and is one of the country’s most prominent African American business leaders. He is also one of the best-paid executives in the financial services industry, taking home $22 million in 2016.

Chenault clearly plans to stay busy following his retirement. Airbnb is the second tech company board that Chenault has joined in January. Last week, Facebook announced that it was adding Chenault to its board, the company’s first non-white board member in its history.

Airbnb’s board of directors also faces a similar diversity challenge with an all-male board. Despite pledging for years to hire a female board member, Chenault’s appointment will only increase Airbnb’s board to six male directors. Airbnb says it will be adding a female director later this year, but declined to comment on how many men currently serve as observers on its board beyond the six directors.

“We are in serious discussions with a number of incredible people about joining our board. The next member will be a woman, and she’ll be joining later this year,” said Airbnb spokesman Christopher Nulty.

Read the complete article on Forbes.

My Future Consulting Named One of 20 Best Chicago Employment Agencies

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My Future Consulting, an employment agency focusing on diversity recruitment, has been named one of the top 20 best Chicago employment agencies. The company that compiled the list, Expertise, evaluated 678 employment agencies in the Chicago area, evaluating them on over 25 variables to compile the list. The Orland Park-based talent acquisition firm ranks within the top 2% of all employment agencies in the Chicago area, playing an important role of bringing together high-quality firms with employees that exceed expectations and help them reach their goals.

“We are proud to have made the list of the best employment agencies in the Chicago area, a tremendous accomplishment for our firm” explains Anthony Fletcher, president and chief executive officer of My Future Consulting. “It’s a wonderful recognition of the hard work, dedication, and passion that we have had for helping top firms find the talent pool they need to fill their key positions.”

Expertise evaluated each employment agency based on a variety of factors, including reputation, credibility, experience, availability, and professionalism. The analysis they conducted took into account the agency’s history of satisfied customers, that they are well-established in the industry, that they are masters of their craft, that they are approachable and responsive, and that they are dedicated providing consistent quality work and excellent customer service. The company uses a variety of resources to conduct the comprehensive analysis, and has evaluated over 10 million businesses in the country to date.

My Future Consulting was started over 10 years ago by Fletcher and has been dedicated to providing exceptional service ever since. They provide services to companies around the globe and have become a leader in the field of matching high quality candidates with the right position, and the right company.  From helping to strategically and carefully hand-select the right candidates for entry-level positions to executive level ones, the company has established a great track record. The firm has worked with many industry leading companies to help meet their needs of retaining high-quality diverse candidates.

“We care about the people we help place in positions, we care about the positions they are in, and we care about the companies they will work for.” added Fletcher. “We have made it our business to make sure every position is filled with the right candidate, from an experience, skill and culture standpoint which is ultimately in everyone’s best interest. That’s how you build a great reputation and maintain a high satisfaction rating amongst all stakeholders. ”

My Future Consulting is known as the go-to talent acquisition firm for many Fortune 500 companies in varying industries. Their placement specialties include but is not limited to: accounting and finance, human resources, engineering, wealth management, information technology, logistics, manufacturing, marketing, sales, management consulting, and much more. My Future Consulting also plays an active role in the Chicago community, assisting charities. They were recently recognized as a top fundraiser for the American Diabetes Association Step Out Walk in Chicago, leading the nation with over $31,000 raised! They have also teamed up with the Soap4All organization to help provide homeless people and those in shelters with toiletries. For more information on the company, visit their site at www.myfutureconsulting.com

About My Future Consulting

Started by Anthony Fletcher over 10 years ago, My Future Consulting is a leading talent acquisition firm based in Orland Park, Illinois. The company specializes in diversity talent acquisition, matching high-quality candidates with entry level management roles to executive positions. Their rigorous vetting process has earned them a successful reputation. For more information, visit their site at www.myfutureconsulting.com

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Which MBA Program is Right for You? You can get your MBA your way.

LinkedIn

Today’s business schools offer more opportunities than ever to help you find a program that meets your specific needs. Programs generally fall into the following categories:

Full-time MBA programs are primarily for students who are able to take time off from working full-time to concentrate on their studies. These programs are ideal for both “career switchers” and “career enhancers.” Global companies sometimes send employees for a total immersion experience in countries that represent an important business market.

  • Programs typically last from 12 to 21 months
  • Longer programs often include a three-to-four month internship option
  • Core course requirements are completed in the early stage of the program
  • Specific concentrations and elective courses finish the latter stage of the program
  • The mix of electives and requirements varies among programs
  • Students often relocate to attend full-time programs

Part-time MBA programs are designed for working professionals and allow students to work full-time during the day and attend classes in the evening or on weekends. Part-time programs are popular among career enhancers—those who have experience and want to further their career in a chosen field. They are also a smart choice if you already have a network in your field to help you find a new position post-graduation.

  • Courses are scheduled year-round
  • Programs typically lasts 2 to 5 years
  • Commuting is more common than relocation

Executive MBA (EMBA) programs enhance the careers of professionals who are already specialists in a field or industry. EMBA programs focus on honing general management skills in core classes, with little or no opportunity for specialization. Enrollment is often tied to a new or anticipated promotion, and most students are company-sponsored.

  • Students work full time and attend classes on Fridays and Saturdays, usually on alternate weekends, over two academic years
  • Offers a full immersion experience, with learning outside the classroom and extensive faculty and student/team interaction
  • The shared professional experience and expertise of students becomes part of the curriculum

Virtual/Online MBA programs are a good option for those who need or want to work full time and who cannot or do not want to attend classes in person. Most online programs allow students to complete assignments and review lessons when and where it works best for them.

Which type of program is best for you?
Before you make your decision, you’ll want to consider a variety of factors to determine which type of program will best overall experience to meet your professional and personal goals.

Goals and Program Elements

  • How do you learn best?
  • How much flexibility are you looking for in a program?
  • What is your industry or job function goal and how that could affect your choice in program type?
  • Do you already have a functional or industry specialty, or do you need an MBA to develop one?
  • Will an internship help you make a career transition?

Lifestyle

  • Can you handle going to school full time and working part time, or vice versa?
  • Do you want classmates who share your interests and experience level?
  • Are you ready for the responsibilities of an MBA-level position upon graduation?

Family Considerations

  • Will your partner need to relocate and/or enter a new job market?
  • Does the school offer support for partners and families?

Location/Other

  • Do you want to study locally, in your home country, or abroad?
  • Do you prefer to be in a college town or a city?
  • How will the school’s connections with the local business community help?
  • Will your current employer support you in a full- or part-time program?

Carefully consider your answers to these questions, and you’ll have a much better idea of which type of program will be your perfect fit.

Source: FORTÉ Foundation

Why These Three Southern Cities Attract The Most Black Entrepreneurs

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There are currently 2.5 million businesses owned and operated by African-Americans, according to the U.S. Census’s most recent survey of business owners.

Although black entrepreneurship is on the rise, black founders are still receiving less VC funding than their white peers and have limited access to capital. Less than 1% of black founders receive funding, and this lack of capital leaves many black-owned business to be operated by one person,limiting their ability to hire other employees in order to grow and build their businesses. As cost of living soars, underrepresentation and limited support for these business continues for many of these black enterprising professionals in tech hubs like New York City and Silicon Valley. However, others are thriving in the Southeast.

A recent report by Blacktech Week that used data from the U.S. Census Bureau Statistics Data and Kauffman Foundation’s 2017 Index for Startup Activity revealed that the top three cities where black-owned businesses are thriving are Memphis, Montgomery, Alabama, and Atlanta.

With a large number of African-Americans residing in the Southeast, a low cost of living, an increase in incubators like Atlanta’s Digital Undivided popping up in Southeastern metro cities, along with support a historical lineage of supporting their own, black entrepreneurs are finding their niche below the Mason-Dixon line.

Mandy Bowman, the founder of the Official Black Wallstreet app and website, which has a listing of over 4,000 black-owned businesses in the U.S. (and has been downloaded over 70,000 times), isn’t surprised that the Southeast is popular with black entrepreneurs. “The reason why these cities stand out so much is that the cost of living is much lower. The South also has a long history of entrepreneurship, especially through the Jim Crow era. People in these cities had no choice but to start their own businesses, and because of that history, I think it’s something that’s been ingrained in those cities. On top of that, these cities have a large African-American population, which is why there are many entrepreneurs in the Southeast.”

There’s also been an increase in new residents: In the first decade of the 2000s, there’s been a reversal migration of black Americans moving to the South. According to USA Today, “From 2005 to 2010, the average result each year was a gain for the South of 66,000 blacks. Many came from the Northeast, but the flow also includes the Midwest and West.” As the South attracts college-graduate crowds and retirees to economic opportunities, it’s also attracting entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. There are also over 1,600 listings of black-owned businesses in the Southeast on the Official Black Wall Street app. Here’s a look at why these three cities are the top choices for black entrepreneurs.

1. Memphis

Memphis reigns supreme as the top city for black-owned businesses. It offers more than great BBQ and music. The city’s low unemployment rate in comparison to Atlanta and Montgomery supports a healthy economy to start a business. Nearby Bluff City also boasts a higher percentage of black-owned businesses than Atlanta, while having a lower cost of living index.

Brooklyn native Ekundayo Bandele moved to Memphis in 1994 and found a “thriving black intellectual and cultural community” where his love for theater flourished through his playwriting and eventually led him to become the founder and executive director of Hattiloo Theatre.

“The city invested in Hattiloo Theatre, which gave us $1.5 million to help us build our infrastructure. We started as a community theater and have worked our way to the top. The generosity of the Memphis community to volunteer their time and talent helped make Hattiloo successful. The philanthropic community of Memphis understands the equity in Memphis,” he says. His only drawback is access to talent. “Since Memphis is not categorically a theater town, there aren’t as many technical theater people in terms of theater arts,” he says.

Brit Fitzpatrick, the founder and CEO of MentorMe, chose to move to Memphis  because of its affordability. “The biggest advantage to starting up in Memphis as opposed to Silicon Valley is that it’s more affordable. Having raised a relatively small amount of money, I was able to stretch it a little further,” she explains. Proximity to other cities also makes Memphis a great choice for Fitzpatrick. “In the first two years of MentorMe, I traveled a lot to meet new customers, create partnerships, and find advisory board members. Memphis is a reasonable driving distance to cities I needed to hit.”

Although the city is in an early stage in comparison to New York City and San Francisco, “Memphis has a culture of hustle and hard work. I love that about the city. It makes it really conducive to entrepreneurship,” says Fitzpatrick.

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

Meet Danielle Olson: A ‘Gique’ Advancing the Case for STEAM Education

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Danielle Olson

What is a “Gique”? It’s a cross between “geek” and “chic,” a maker and creative problem-solver whose interdisciplinary interests turn STEM into STEAM. Meet Danielle Olson, researcher and PhD student at MIT and proud founder of Gique, a nonprofit that provides transformational, culturally situated STEAM learning for underserved youth.

Olson says being a Gique is about using your passion to embrace change and create your dream job. Olson offered STEMconnector her insights and experience as an engineer, a dancer, a dreamer, and pioneer in STEAM education, as well as research on how the arts are leveling the educational playing field in STEM.

Interview below courtesy of Stemconnector

STEMconnector: How does using the arts impact the STEM talent gap?

Danielle Olson: Fortunately, a new and exciting field of education is emerging where curricula are designed to expose youth to the applications of science, technology, engineering, art and design, and mathematics (STEAM) in the real world. STEAM, rather than just STEM, education focuses on student cultivation of the critical, creative, and participatory dispositions key to empowered, authentic engagement in both science and art, along with preparing students to think of ways that they can contribute to society as individuals.

The arts have been treated as a “cherry on top” in recent years. But research demonstrates that an arts education offers critical development opportunities for children, which include cognitive and social growth, long-term memory improvement, stress reduction, and promotion of creativity. In fact, research findings show that if arts were included in science classes, STEM would be more appealing to students, and exposure to experts in these fields could affect career decisions. Gique believes that STEAM education affords students opportunities to envision themselves pursuing their “dream careers,” which they may invent for themselves.

There are three categories that aid in representing various perspectives of art integration: (1) learning “through” and “with” the arts, (2) making connections across knowledge domains, and (3) collaborative engagement across disciplines.

Gique piloted a 9-month-long, out-of-school STEAM Program with students at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester, an inner-city in Boston, Massachusetts, in the areas of science, the arts, and entrepreneurship by putting the theoretical framework, which underpins the necessity for STEAM education, into action.

SC: What kinds of lessons do you offer students?

DO: Gique designs and provides free, hands-on educational programs and mentorship to talented youth from diverse circumstances in the Boston area and in California. We create a safe, positive learning community for our students and cultivate their curiosity and self-esteem through two arms of programming:

  • Gique’s Science Can DANCE! Community Programs—provides youth with a way to explore STEAM through creative movement and dance choreography. By taking an integrated approach to breaking down technical concepts, we provide a unique mentorship opportunity for students interested in both arts and science topics.
  • Gique’s Out-of-School Time (OST) STEAM Program—a 9-month-long, weekly after-school program for middle school students to explore their personal interests in STEAM. This program enables students to receive long-term mentorship from innovators from around the world and participate in hands-on workshops and field trips. By the end of the semester, students gain a better understanding of how they can take an idea from concept to reality through innovation with art + design, science, and technology.

In addition to these two programs, Gique has provided a wide variety of educational opportunities to people of all ages in the Boston area for the past four years. We have collaborated with numerous organizations to provide educational programming, including MIT Museum, Harvard Museum of Science & Culture, Artisan’s Asylum, and General Assembly Boston.

SC: How can corporations that support a vibrant STEM workforce get involved in advancing STEAM education?

DO: First, corporations should stand with teachers and parents to fight back against policies that discourage interdisciplinary education. This may include, but is not limited to, policies that result in art, drama, history, and science class time reduction and policies, which discourage teachers from being innovative due to too much focus on standardized testing.

Second, people in power must use their influence to help give underrepresented groups more access to resources that can level the playing field in education. I had access to programs like FIRST Robotics Competition and MIT’s Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science Program, which changed my life, thanks to the generosity of donors investing directly in people of color by sponsoring these programs. However, I wouldn’t have been able to participate in these programs if I had to pay for them. That’s why Gique leverages the support of its sponsors to deliver life-changing experiences to students that help them pursue career dreams that they may have deemed impossible.

SC: How is Gique measuring its impact?

DO: We have a structured process in place to design, administer, and analyze quantitative and qualitative measurements, including pre- and post- assessments, audio/video interviews, and external feedback (from program staff/volunteers and parents/guardians).

Specifically, for Gique’s OST STEAM Program, a schema was developed to identify, both broadly and specifically, what students learned and in what context it applies to their lives. Prior to each term, the program leadership developed several goals for student impact, with measurable indicators to assess each goal. Assessment questions were adapted from the Museum of Science Boston’s Engineering is Elementary program assessment model. At the end of the semester, students completed the same assessment for the program leadership to understand what deltas occurred and what the development areas were for program improvement.

While the quantitative data collected often helped to inform strategic decisions and content choices, the qualitative data showed how the program impacted students, parents, volunteers and teachers. Gique wholeheartedly believes that learning experiences should be fun, so asking these qualitative questions were critical to the development and success of the pilot OST STEAM program.

Gaining parent/guardian feedback served to be an excellent indicator of how excited students were about the program.

Visit Gique’s community of leaders and makers at gique.me

Source: stemconnector.com

 

 

California hiring underrepresented groups in renewable energy industry

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By Carol Zabin and Robert Collier

As California policymakers speed up the state’s switch to renewable energy, a key question is this: Do the much-touted new green jobs actually go to a diverse cross-section of the state’s workforce, or are disadvantaged communities left out?

According to data obtained and analyzed by researchers at University of California Berkeley’s Labor Center, the answer is that in recent years, a significant share of strong, career-track jobs in the construction of renewable energy power plants statewide have, in fact, gone to low-income residents and people of color.

Our recently issued report shows that the joint union-employer apprenticeship programs used in these projects have played an important role in diversifying California’s clean energy workforce.

In Kern County, local data shows that 43 percent of entry-level electrical workers on solar power plant construction lived in communities designated as disadvantaged by the California Environmental Protection Agency, while 47 percent lived in communities with unemployment rates of at least 13 percent.

Kern County electrical apprentice pay schedules show a clear progression toward the middle class. Current first-year apprentices start at $16.49 per hour plus full benefits and receive wage increases as they move through their five-year training program. Graduates become journey electricians earning more than $40 per hour.

Statewide, the picture is similar. Among the 16 union locals of electricians, ironworkers, and operating engineers that have built most of California’s renewable energy power plants, about 60 percent of new apprentices were people of color.

Diversity varied by trade. Latinos, who make up one-third of the state’s labor force, represented 53 percent of new apprentice ironworkers, 34 percent of electrical workers, and 23 percent of operating engineers. While African-Americans are 6 percent of the statewide labor force, they made up 4 percent of new apprentice electricians, 6 percent of ironworkers, and 9 percent of operating engineers.

The presence of military veterans in these programs also was higher than in California’s workforce as a whole. While veterans are only 4 percent of statewide workers, they comprised 9 percent of new electrical apprentices, 6 percent of ironworkers, and 12 percent of operating engineers.

The weak point in these apprenticeship programs, as with the rest of California’s construction industry, was the participation of women, ranging from only 2 percent to 6 percent among the three trades.

All told, the track record shows that California has made progress toward broadening access for disadvantaged workers to good jobs in the clean energy economy. But this diversity has not been automatic. A key driver of progress is the fact that most renewable energy plants were built under project labor agreements, which ensure union wage and benefit standards and free training for low-skilled workers through state-certified apprenticeships. Recruitment efforts by unions and the projects’ locations were also important since many renewable power plants are in counties such as Kern that have high unemployment and concentrations of low-income communities.

Looking forward, job access in the clean energy industry can be advanced by adopting specific programs such as publicly funded pre-apprenticeship training and local-hire provisions, in combination with project labor agreements.

Additional progress is likely if state lawmakers approve SB 100, which would commit California electricity providers to obtain 100 percent of their power from clean energy sources by 2045. This would drive further growth of renewable energy construction, which in turn would create more jobs and more openings in state-certified apprenticeship programs. The net result would be an important step forward along California’s path to meeting its climate challenge while simultaneously broadening access to middle-class jobs.

About the Authors
Carol Zabin and Robert Collier are director and policy specialist, respectively, of the Green Economy Program at the Center for Labor Research and Education at UC Berkeley.

Source: startrends.xyz

 

New Year’s resolutions for career success in 2018

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By Eric Titner

A new year is often looked at as an opportunity for making positive changes, and we’re all familiar with the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions—as we end each year and look forward to the next, we take stock of the things we want to improve upon or change in our lives.

Those among us who are diligent enough to take things one step further set a plan for achieving our resolutions, and some among us actually follow through by putting in the time and effort to achieve our stated goals. And for the most dedicated and focused among us, sometimes a positive change and lasting result is achieved.

Our New Year’s resolutions can vary across an endless array of categories—from finding love, making new friends, and moving to a new city to acquiring a new hobby or skill set. Among the most popular resolutions that people make involve job- and career-related goals. However, while making a New Year’s resolution for career change and success can be the beginning of a wonderful new chapter in our lives, it’s really just the first step.

Positive intent can be a powerful motivating force for change and growth in our lives, but the truth is that it’s often not enough—this is the reason why the majority of us fail to completely commit and follow through on the resolutions we make each year. The truth is, most resolutions flounder in the starting gate without any real forward progress ever being made, and many others are met with a feeble, half-hearted effort that eventually goes nowhere. We need more than a positive attitude and hope—we need a plan.

According to a recent article on The Muse, “Those who took meaningful steps to achieve their resolutions—setting step-by-step goals or telling their friends and family, for example—were far more likely to achieve their desires than those who made no specific commitments… So if you really want to see results this year, it’s critical that you set your goals with sincerity, and set yourself up for success.”

What are your New Year’s resolutions for career success in 2018? More importantly, do you have a plan for achieving them? Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular career-related resolutions, and some advice for taking them past the “good idea” stage and closer to the “goal achieved” category.

I want a promotion.

Who among us doesn’t want a loftier position with a more impressive sounding title and a higher salary, regardless of where we currently work? The truth is, this isn’t always an immediately attainable reality for everyone—maybe you’re just getting started at your current job and it’s too soon to start thinking about a promotion, or maybe the place you work at is small and there’s no clear upward trajectory. Whatever the reason, if you’re seeking a promotion and there’s no obvious path for growth for you in your current job, perhaps this means you should make a more drastic change as part of your New Year’s resolution planning.

However, if there are opportunities for growth on the horizon for you, then take a step back and a deep breath and think carefully before blindly charging into your boss’s office and demanding a promotion.

Take stock of your current situation—have you spent the last year working hard to convince your boss that you are ready, willing, and able to take the next step to a new job with greater responsibility? Has your boss been giving you positive feedback all year about how valuable you are to the company and how everyone is impressed with the job you’ve been doing? If so, then you’ve already been working hard to achieve your goal of getting a promotion—the next step is choosing the right time, place, and method for asking for one. This is highly subjective and based on your individual job situation. Do you have annual review meetings with your boss to discuss such issues? If so, then this would be the ideal time to broach this subject. Or perhaps your boss is open to feedback and discussions whenever they arise. If so, choose a day when your boss seems to be in a good mood and go for it!

Maybe you haven’t been getting great signals that your boss would be terribly receptive to the idea of you asking for a promotion. If this sounds more like your reality, then it may be wise to concoct a more long-term plan. Spend the next several months—maybe even the entire next year—anticipating your boss’s needs, doing your job to the absolute best of your ability, and sowing the seeds for popping the big “promotion question” next year. Like we said earlier, sometimes you need a plan, and there’s nothing quite as defeating or draining as asking for a promotion before you’re ready and meeting rejection.

I want a new job.

Okay so maybe you’ve reached as high and as far as you can possibly go in your current job, faced every challenge, conquered every obstacle, and mastered every skill that you could possible acquire. It’s time–you’re ready for a change. It happens, and it’s a perfectly natural and healthy part of any career path. In fact, job changes are often great opportunities to climb to the next rung on your career ladder. However you should consider some advance planning before you race out of your current job screaming, “I quit!”

Get a feel for the current job market in your field and area. Are there a wealth of opportunities available, or is it slim pickings? Take a subtle poll of the folks in your peer network who work at other companies. Does it sound like you may be able to go after an opportunity through your contacts?

If conditions out in the job market seem great, then plan for your next steps—polish up your resume and cover letter, make sure your interview clothes still fit, and get out there! However, if you’re seeing some warning signs that right now might not be the best time to jump ship, then bide your time and plan accordingly. Don’t forget, you can do some subtle and covert planning for your next job while you’re at your current one so when the iron is hot you’ll be prepared to strike!

I want to make a major job or career change.

Perhaps you’re just not feeling completely happy or fulfilled in your current industry, and something is telling you that perhaps now is the time to make a major change. This could be a good thing—the truth is, job unhappiness is often a major cause of mental and physical distress and could have a wide range of negative effects on our health and well-being.

According to a recent Huffington Post blog post by Alexander Kjerulf, founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Woohoo inc, “Way too many people hate their jobs. Exactly how many is hard to say, but depending on which study you believe, somewhere between 20 percent and 40 percent of employees are miserable at work.” Kjerulf goes on to say that hating your job can weaken your immune system, make you gain weight, rob you of sleep, ruin your personal relationships, and even increase your risk of serious illness. Not a good way to ring in the New Year!

So, if you’re eager to make a major job or career change… you guessed it, make a plan. Consider making a list of pros and cons for taking the plunge. If everything in your life is pointing to making a major change, figure out what new goal makes the most sense for you. Take an inventory of your skills and experience, along with your interests and aspirations, and figure out which careers/industries you best align with. Do you have any friends or family who have jobs that sound potentially intriguing to you? If so, ask them more about it. Do your research—the Internet is a great source of information for researching new companies and careers.

Although making a big career change can be a wonderful moment in your life, acting impulsively could really backfire. There are countless stories of people who made quick decisions to leave their current working worlds for new ones, only to discover that they were ill-informed and really had no idea what they were getting into and wound up being just as unhappy—or even unhappier—as they were before. Don’t become just another unfortunate member of this group. Plan wisely and carefully, and you’ll be setting yourself up for a real shot at positive and lasting change.
I want to build new job skills.

This is a great goal for most of us and can really help put you in a better position to achieve the other resolutions on this list in the future—getting a promotion or a new job, or even changing industries. And even if none of these goals are in your immediate future, acquiring new skills can be a rewarding and fulfilling enterprise on its own and help us feel more empowered and effective in our current positions.

If you’re looking to acquire new job skills in the new year, consider the following. Do you want to acquire skills that will make you more effective at your current job or a new one? Your answer to this question will help you determine which skills you should look at. Also, are you looking to invest money towards acquiring new skills? If so, there are a wealth of career and adult education/skill-development programs available across the country; a great place to start is researching the offerings at colleges and universities in your area. You’ll likely come across a wealth of options, both in class and online—you just need to decide which are right for you.

If money is an issue and you’re looking for a more cost-effective approach, there are some great free and low-cost options online. One great resource is Skillshare, an online learning community created, maintained, and curated by veterans and experts in their respective fields who are dedicated to teaching others the skills they’ve acquired.

Here’s the bottom line—many folks who are unhappy with their work lives or who are just eager for a fresh start or new challenge take the new year as an opportunity to make a change, and it’s a great time to do so! Because so many people are focused on career changes at the beginning of a new year, many companies and industries ramp up their hiring during this time—and those among us who are serious and dedicated can take full advantage of this reality. If this sounds like you, perhaps now is a great time to move forward—but do so wisely and plan accordingly. Good luck and Happy New Year!

Continue on  to read more articles like this on The Muse

Going Global Despite the Odds—CEO shares how her company is reaching its global goal

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Connie Gorum

Connie Russell Gorum, the founder and CEO of C. L. Russell Group, LLC (CLRG), an industry workforce training company, started CLRG in 2015 after leaving her government job with a vision and a strategic plan—to become a global industry workforce training company.

Today, CLRG is well on its way to reaching its global goal after only two years of founding the company. The playing field changed for CLRG in 2016 when the company was selected among seven small and medium-size American companies to participate in the United States – Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (USACC) U.S. Trade Mission to Azerbaijan and Georgia organized in partnership with ExportDC. This opportunity strategically positioned the company’s goal of becoming a global industry workforce training company.

Connie shares some insight from her interview with Becky Mangus, publisher of The Biz Monthly, on her global journey and steps to help other entrepreneurs pursuing globalization.

When/why did you decide to set global goals for your business?
I’ve always been considered a big dreamer and risk-taker, so when I decided to start my business, I knew maintaining that mindset was very important for the success of my business. Small businesses have access to so many resources today that allow us to explore areas we could only think about and watch others #GoBig. That’s no longer the case today. Today, small businesses compete with large businesses, so I knew I had to think big if I wanted to be a player in the game. So, going global was the only position for me to take.

How did you achieve your initial global connection?
Being selected in the U. S. Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (USACC) U.S. Trade Mission to Azerbaijan and Georgia in partnership with ExportDC literally opened the global connection for me. Pursing global connections without an experienced colleague is very challenging.

What was it about the 2016 Trade Mission Trip that made your dream of a becoming a global company seem possible?
After the Trade Mission Trip, I finally had access to contacts. The mission featured participation in the country’s economic and sector briefings, networking receptions, exclusive meetings with relevant government officials, B2B appointments with prospective global agents, distributors, partners, and end-users. I learned about the country’s trending industries and their economic climate. This opportunity allowed me to develop relationships with both embassies. I now have access to special embassy events and meetings concerning the economic status of both countries and forecasting updates. This helps my company stay current with developing global performance solutions for diverse industries. Understanding your industry from a local and global perspective will better position you for success.

Were these two countries on your radar when planning your global strategy?
They were not. To be truthful, this was my first time learning about these two countries, which made it more interesting. Don’t limit yourself; engage in new markets.

What were the first steps you took to make breaking into the global training industry a reality?
For me, my first step was connecting with global commerce organizations. The next bold step was to visit the desired country. Staying behind the computer was too safe and comfortable for me. I wanted to experience the culture and develop relationships. One thing I always share with my training team is you must learn the customer’s culture to effectively train their team. Learning the protocol of traveling abroad was like developing a new training course for me. Once I accomplished that, I felt more knowledgeable about the culture. I can now share my experiences with other inspiring entrepreneurs looking to expand global.

This was a long-term goal, but what had you done over the years, leading up to your concentrated effort to help with your vision?
I continued to network with local global commerce organizations and businesses with prior global experience to help keep me current with the global trends. When you’re an entrepreneur, learning becomes your lifestyle—it never ends.

Can you share a situation from your career that involved obstacles you had to overcome and share what you learned from those situations?
As a woman entrepreneur, I knew I would encounter constant obstacles, to say the least. But that only adds fuel to my perseverance. One situation I recall is being told by a former colleague that I should wait until I became a ‘big business’ before I started thinking about taking my company global. That was just the fuel I needed to prove them wrong. The more I began to research about small businesses going global the more I became aware of the possibilities for my company. That situation taught me to never allow someone to limit my capabilities based on my current position and to have a diverse group of mentors. Mentors serve for different purposes; no one mentor can serve all your needs. Today, I have more than one mentor who help me in different aspects of the growth of my business.

What words of advice do you have for other small businesses seeking to go global?
Start planning now; today, much of the growth trends are outside the United States. Whether small businesses realize it or not, their competitors are global as well as local. Diversity is real; it’s not just a trending new word that makes a company appear politically correct. When small businesses begin to balance domestic and international markets, they can better manage their risk and leverage growth opportunities. Always think bigger than your present position. Stay connected, and join local global commerce associations. I would recommend the following organization to help get started entering the global industry: globalchamber.org.

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