Thursday, September 25, 2008

Shop Talk

"When you're making chips, you're making money."

That's the mantra of the machine shop, and Cleveland area component manufacturers have been filling up the chip bins.

Surprised? Cleveland has been bleeding manufacturing jobs for years, high labor rates in the states, and free trade legislation have decimated the industry, right?


The first rule of entreprenuership: misfortune for some means opportunity for others.

As component manufacturing began moving offshore to take advantage of the incredibly low labor rates, many local business owners threw up their hands and closed up their shops, saying, "We just can't compete."
The remaining die-hard companies asked the question, "How do we become more efficient?"
By taking advantage of new technology and automation, smart manufacturers were able to not only decrease labor costs, but dramatically increase production. Not only were they able to keep work here, but some jobs were even brought BACK from overseas factories. With less local competition, many of these businesses find themselves in the enviable position of needing to expand their operations.

Alas, every silver lining has a cloud. Automation requires highly skilled technicians, adept at math and computer programming. Employers who invested in education for their workers were able to survive. The problem now is some of these folks would like to retire, but there aren't enough young people to take their places. Companies are poaching technicians from each other.
I understand there may be a whole lot of folks in the banking and finance industry who will be back in the job market soon. I'm thinking they should look to the manufacturing sector for retraining. We could really use them.
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1 comment:

Kirk said...


You and your blog readers could help thousands of public school kids by participating in the Blogger Challenge, which starts on October 1. TechCrunch, BoingBoing, Engadget, BlogHer, Curbed, and many smaller bloggers are each creating challenge pages which list specific classroom requests in public schools--and then encouraging their readers to donate to those classroom requests. We hope you will consider participating, too.

During the last Blogger Challenge, blog readers donated $420,000 toward classroom projects benefiting 75,000 students in low-income communities. This October, we're hoping to have an even bigger impact, and we keenly hope you will participate. Technorati is sponsoring the "generosity rankings" and Fortune magazine will be covering the bloggers whose readers help the most public school students.

All you would need to do is:

1. Pick a few classroom requests posted on and add them to a challenge page which takes 1-2 minutes to set up. A quick glance at our search page...
...will show you the volume and variety of classroom needs from which to choose.

If you're pressed for time, just tell me the kinds of classroom requests (technology, arts, literature) that would speak most to your readers, and we'll set up a challenge page for you.

2. Do a post on October 1 encouraging your readers to donate to any of the classroom requests on your challenge page. Your readers can give as little as $5.

3. (Optional) Publish a widget which pulls in the classroom requests you have selected and shouts out to your blog readers who have donated to those requests. (Widgets will be available for download on Monday, and I can pass along some cool mockups if you’d like to see what they look like).

BACKGROUND ON THE CHARITY grew out of a high school in the Bronx where teachers saw their students going without the materials needed to learn. Our website provides an easy way for everyday people to address this problem. Public school teachers post project requests that range from a $100 classroom library, to a $600 digital projector, to a $1,000 trip to the zoo. People like you can choose which projects to fund and then get photos and thank-you letters from the classroom.

BACKGROUND ON THE 2008 DONORSCHOOSE.ORG BLOGGER CHALLENGE In October of 2007, bloggers competed to see who could rally the most support for public schools via Blog readers gave $420,000 to classroom projects benefiting 75,000 students in low-income communities. While A-list bloggers like Engadget and TechCrunch inspired great generosity, smaller blogs with really engaged readers generated even more!

The next Blogger Challenge, running through the month of October, promises to have an even bigger impact. Technorati is sponsoring the rankings, and Fortune magazine is already committed to covering the event.

If you were to participate, we could help thousands more kids in public schools. I'd love to tell you more if you are interested.

Thank you for your consideration,
kirk at donorschoose dot org