EDUCATION PAYS! Breaking down the October U.S. unemployment numbers we find that: a) there is a better than 14% unemployment rate for Americans who do not have a high school diploma; b) the rate is close to 10% for high school graduates; and, c) for those who have one, or more, college degrees the rate is right around 4%.

IS RESHORING BECOMING REALITY? In a recent “Hartford Business” article by Brad Kane, some signs are beginning to appear that can lead us to believe that some reshoring of outsourced manufacturing jobs is beginning to occur. “The argument goes: when total cost is considered, production is cheaper locally; there is less concern about quality and intellectual property theft when dealing with a domestic company; and with new lean practices, more streamlined production lowers domestic costs. . . . When looking at the total cost of manufacturing a product, the overall expense is almost always lower when going with a higher-priced labor domestically than lower-cost labor in another country . . . “

YEP, IT’S BUSINESS OBJECTIVES! After many years of isolation within the organizational structure, trainers are beginning to catch up with the needs of their management. “Training Industry” has recently reported that the Number One Process Capability for corporate training departments is Strategic Alignment (designing learning programs that align with business objectives).

RE-FOCUSING INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN! In the July issue of “Training & Development,” Paula Ketter writes in her “Editor’s Note” column, “Design of an effective learning program is more than creating a job aid or dumping content into PowerPoint slides. It is developing learning experiences in a variety of learning styles to engage, train, and educate a multi-generational workforce because as Michael Allen explained to ASTD upon recently winning the Distinguished Contribution to Workplace Learning and Performance Award, ‘We don’t care about what people know. We care about what they can do . . . with what they know. Our challenge, as effective instructional designers, is to get people to make the leap from knowing to doing and that’s where we often fail.’”

DISTANCE EDUCATION IS NOT NEW! According to Wikipedia, it dates back to “at least as early as 1728, when an advertisement in the Boston Gazette (named) ‘Caleb Phillips, Teacher of the new method of Short Hand’ was seeking students for lessons to be sent weekly.”

FAILURE IS NECESSARY TO SUCCESS! In a September “New York Times Magazine” article by Paul Tough entitled, “What if the Secret to Success is Failure,” Tough begins by including remarks by Dominic Randolph, headmaster of Riverdale Country School: “’This push on tests,’ he told me, ‘is missing out on some serious parts of what it means to be a successful human.’ The most critical missing piece, Randolph explained as we sat in his office last fall, is character’ . . . ‘Whether it’s the pioneer in the Conestoga wagon or someone coming here in the 1920s from southern Italy, there was this idea in America that if you worked hard and you showed grit, that you could be successful,’ he said. ‘Strangely, we’ve now forgotten that. People who have an easy time of things, who get 800s on their SAT’s, I worry that those people get feedback that everything they’re doing is great. And I think as a result, we are actually setting them up for long-term failure. When that person suddenly has to face up to a difficult moment, then I think they’re screwed, to be honest. I don’t think they’ve grown the capacities to be able to handle that.’”

Enjoy your holiday weekend. More on Tuesday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder, ITC Learning (Tuesdays & Thursdays)