- By Tim Fernholz
- June 11, 2013
Think you need a college degree to be a skilled worker? Think again.
With so much focus on staying competitive in global markets, jobs in the US bearing the STEM—science, technology, engineering and mathematics—moniker are in high demand. A new attempt to evaluate how 26 million US STEM workers use these skills revealed that half didn’t need a bachelor’s degree.
“There’s a sense that the only route to the middle class now is a bachelor’s degree or higher, and I would say that’s the surest route,” says Jonathan Rothwell, the researcher behind the study.”But for the two-thirds of the population that does not a have a bachelor’s degree, and does not look like they are going to back to school anytime soon for a four-year degree that will cost tens of thousands of dollars and result in massive debt, I’d like people to be aware there are other ways to acquire valuable skills.”
Consider machining, often done today with sophisticated automated mills. The people who use drafting software to program those mills aren’t necessarily considered STEM workers, but it takes a fair mix of computing and engineering know-how to ...
- By Eric Schnurer
- June 10, 2013
If you were trying to right a capsized business -- let's say a book company -- you wouldn't ask, in an ideal world, how much of the gross national product should be spent on books. Or how profitable the book business should be. Or whether, in the abstract, you should print only books on public safety, or only books that people read in 1789.
Instead, you would ask: Is there a market for such books? Even if people bought them in 1789, are they still relevant to anyone today? Have new technologies, like e-books, fundamentally changed the nature of what I can and should provide? Do competing offerings like movies or the Internet affect my business strategy and how much I should invest in it? Do these changes mean that I should give up on the book business entirely? Or do they open up new opportunities if I simply think differently about what it means to be in the "book business"?
We tend not to think about government in this way. After all, we all know what "government" is, has always been, and should be. But, in fact, what government does and has done has varied widely over time and ...
- By Jackson Nickerson
- June 7, 2013
Ask EIG is your chance to seek answers to public sector management challenges and conundrums. Submit your questions here.
Under what circumstances do you tell a leader what they need to hear when everyone else is telling them what they want to hear?
Organizations by their very nature distribute power in an asymmetric way. Those at the top of the hierarchy typically have the power to create or foreclose opportunities for subordinates. Those lower down in the hierarchy have little power over such decisions. This power asymmetry creates incentives for subordinates to avoid conflicts with higher ups, to hide information that could lead to conflict, and, frankly, to tell superiors what they want to hear. Yet some people on some occasions choose act against these incentives and are willing to speak truth to power. When does it make sense to do so and why?
Deciding when to tell a leader what they need to hear when others are telling them what they want to hear is an ethical dilemma. In researching a response to this question I spoke with my colleague, Lamar Pierce, who is an associate professor at Washington University in St. Louis’ Olin Business School and co-teaches ...
- By David Yanofsky and Ritchie King
- June 7, 2013
The revelation that major US technology companies are participating in a National Security Administration surveillance program was shocking enough. And that was before we saw the top-secret slides used by the government to describe the spying operation. They are, to put it mildly, heinously ugly…
The slides immediately attracted scorn on Twitter, even inspiring graphics luminary Edward Tufte to weigh in:
List of spy-PRISM collected information includes nearly everything, except PPT decks. No useful information at all? twitter.com/EdwardTufte/st…— Edward Tufte (@EdwardTufte) June 7, 2013
The US government, though, is no stranger to bad graphic design. The Department of Defense is a particularly egregious offender, with its hopelessly complex network diagrams…
- By Mark Micheli
- June 6, 2013
If you’re not familiar with Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, you should be. In addition to mapping the human genome and running the largest biomedical research facility in the world, he’s also the most musically gifted federal official around.
Case in point: The video message he prepared for an awards dinner hosted by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) last month. Unable to attend the ceremony, where Dr. Ruslan Medzhitov was awarded a $100,000 prize for his pioneering research into the immune system, Collins ended his video congratulations with a performance of the original song, “The Sequester Blues.”
From the more than $30 billion NIH budget, sequestration is cutting $1.7 billion from the institute’s budget, which supports biomedical research in all 50 states. The budget cuts have raised concerns about the future of the biomedical workforce as the U.S. is one of the only developed nation's to recently reduce its investment in research and development.
NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins provided a video and a song that set the stage at the FNIH Award Ceremony May 14, 2013, where the first ...