NEEDED – A NEW APPROACH TO DEVELOPING TOMORROW’S WORKFORCE

Disclaimer: Good Day, Readers.  WealthBuildingPowers blog is a financial literacy/competency blog and does not provide specific investment recommendations.  

STYRON’S INTRODUCTION

When I attended Junior High and High School, my small-town rural schools attempted to prepare students who would not attend college for future jobs. They offered courses in woodworking, car repairs, welding, etc.

Today’s education system is failing to prepare too many of America’s students to enter the workforce or further studies.

The below link will show you an approach in China. We need a similar approach in the U.S.  

AN URBAN APPROACH TO DEVELOPING TOMORROW’S WORKFORCE

BY GEORGE WONG

This is a link to a video about the Xiamen Haicang Vocational High School (XHVS) in Xiamen City, Fujian Province, People’s Republic of China.  While the narration is in Mandarin, which I do not speak or read, each visual snippet speaks 1,000 words to me in a universal message.  XHVS is a boarding school where the high school students, as do the teachers, stay at least 24/5 during the week. As a guest lecturer, I have previously spoken there about American culture to an English class.   

When I was in the graduate school of education at the University of Southern California over 50 years ago, I saw a similar approach proposed by Systems Development Corp – SDC  (down the street from the more famous RAND Corp).   The proposed school was conceptualized on the premise that you must remove the student from that environment to break the cycles of poverty, under-achievement, crime, and anti-social behavior.  It was an inner-city boarding school model for students from the community.  It was 1970,  and Black and Brown awareness was reaching an apex.  The model was criticized and abandoned as racist and one that robbed the students of color of their culture — another practical proposal panned by progressives.  

Anyway, the XHVS is a working model in its 5th year.  The students are not typically inclined or destined to go to college.   There are many vocational paths, including cosmetology, robotics, auto mechanics, e-commerce, electronic assembly, 3-D manufacturing,  etc.  At another level, it addresses the practical channeling of students not meant for college. It also addresses the need to provide a future workforce readiness for those who might be left behind as the country moves towards a knowledge-based economy.   This school concept addresses the industrial arts and vocational education gaps in the USA.   

Today in Los Angeles and Los Angeles Unified School District, no high schools are offering a comprehensive and cohesive industrial arts/vocational education curriculum.  As a student, I took a lot of industrial arts classes, including handicrafts, drafting, electric, wood, metal, and print shops.  Print shop left me with a life-long curiosity and interest in graphic arts — leading to my owning a printing company and managing a print plant for the world’s largest printing company.   I also took a bookkeeping course that launched a passion that led me to take every college accounting course, all the way through auditing and taxation — I ended up starting my business career at the world’s most prestigious accounting firm with a rare invitation to choose to my career start in Consulting, Audit, or Tax.   My introduction to the industrial arts and vocational education courses occurred in a public school in South Los Angeles, home to the city’s worst-performing public schools then and now.

I can only imagine and dream about how a targeted revitalization of the industrial arts and vocational curricula would strengthen and solidify our national workforce of tomorrow.  Imagine combining that with a boarding school platform providing a safe environment for the disadvantaged youth of our problem-plagued urban areas.  Imagine motivated teachers imparting meaningful real-world knowledge, life skills, career-enabling skills, and self-reliance instead of ideologues paralyzing our vulnerable students into believing they are victims who will be reliant on the government from the cradle to the grave.  Envision the possibilities of a comprehensive and cohesive re-invigorated industrial arts and vocational education curricula nationwide.  Imagine the variety of hands-on courses that enable a student to re-invent himself continuously with fundamental skills without needing a college degree.  

(So, in California, we have a massive $100+ BILLION surplus, of which the law requires that a vast portion goes to education.   The commonsense approach is to reduce the income tax rate temporarily.  But the state is determined to spend every single dollar above the reserve for a rainy day.  Rather than invest in new educational programs that are sustainable, the governor decides to tinker with a funding formula to ensure that school districts retain all their teachers with healthy salary increases amidst a trend of declining enrollment.  Where do the students benefit here?)

I believe that concepts like XHVS can change how we prepare our students to be self-reliant, to pursue meaningful careers, to be qualified for jobs that go unfilled because of a lack of qualified applicants, and to participate in the economic growth of our country without needing a costly and sometimes irrelevant college degree.  

Anyway, do look at the video.  The snippets speak for themselves and transcend language.  BTW, many high schools in Xiamen have a police presence in front of the school at dismissal time — just like in Los Angeles.

https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/kFLmR-dLViMnsOt_2bK2lw

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  George Wong – Senior Advisor at Shark Wheel LLC and Senior Advisor at Intex Industries (Xiamen) Co., Ltd

George Wong is semi-retired and continues to work as senior advisor to two companies, owner-manager of the family’s commercial and multifamily real estate, board member in two non-profit educational organizations,  and manager of several stock and bond portfolios for extended family.  His professional career included stints at Price WaterhouseCoopers as a management consultant, a commercial real estate firm as developer/portfolio manager, a commercial printing company as COO, a legal document management systems start-up as V.P. Operations, RR Donnelley Financial Print as Plant Manager, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage as Finance Manager, Intex Plastics Division as Senior Advisor, and  Shark Wheel Inc as co-founder-CFO-Senior Advisor.   Out of college, he was a middle school teacher at Inglewood Unified Schools and worked for two federally-funded organizations advising minority-owned businesses.  His previous community involvement included the turnaround of a Pasadena unit of the National Urban Coalition, board membership in the Pasadena chapter of the Urban League, and advisor to the California Senate Select Committee on Small Business Enterprises.  George was raised in South Central Los Angeles, where his entire education, from elementary to graduate school, was obtained within a three-mile stretch on one street.  He remains active in south Los Angeles as a board member at a state-funded child-care center for low-income parents that he helped found 40+ years ago and working with the tenants at the family’s commercial buildings to keep the tenants (all people of color and immigrants) in business.  He has been married 40+ years and has two highly successful sons in business, following degrees at two ivy-league schools and the University of Michigan. 

George has degrees in Aerospace Engineering, Education, and the MBA, all from the University of Southern California.  George still competes in the 50 Meter and 100 Meter Dash.  He is very proud to say that his understanding of the business world and finance comes from reading the Wall Street Journal every day since he was 15.  

CONCLUSION – STYRON

The only education idea I read about coming out of DC is Biden’s plans to eliminate a portion of student loans. It is NOT a coincidence that is just in time for the 2022 midterm elections when his poll numbers are in the porta-potty, inflation is soaring; Moms cannot find baby formula; it costs $100+ to fill your tank with gas; major cities are seeing record levels of assaults and murders.

We need to fundamentally rebuild our outdated education system. While the U.S. pays more per child than any nation, we ranked less than 25th in math and science.

Today’s good-paying jobs require more technical skills than when I graduated high school. We must improve our high school’s delivery of job preparation courses. And build more institutions that will prepare our youth to qualify for AI, Robotics, Programming, Automation, ETC. jobs that are here TODAY!

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ABOUT ME

I am a proud nerd (as my beautiful wife and daughter have told me) investment and finance blogger with an N.C. State, Chemical Engineering, University Rutgers, MBA and Harvard University, Advanced Management education.

I left a corporate career because I desired to make a difference as a speaker and writer. I was blessed to be coached and mentored by strong women and men in my family and professional life.  It is my time to serve and give back.

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I started my first business at ~13 years of age (a small but brilliantly created plant nursery). I am a successful investor in stocks, options, real estate and am happy to share my finance and investment lessons.  I am NOT a licensed financial advisor.  Please do not construe my suggestions on this blog as recommendations for your situation. As an investor, you must establish your risk/loss tolerance. Investment in any asset involves risk, including complete loss. 

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This blog will provide, information and simple strategies, that will assist you to achieve YOUR financial objectives and long term targets. For over 30 years, I solved multi-million dollar problems, for Fortune 10-250, companies. My formal education includes: Business, Finance and Chemical Engineering {Problem Solving} at: Harvard, Rutgers and North Carolina State. And an additional 30+ years, managing my family’s investment decisions. I currently manage/advise people with net-worths ranging from the tens of thousands to several million dollars.

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