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Posted by on Jun 29, 2018 in business, Craftsmanship & Manual Labor, Economy, Work | 0 comments

The Good Jobs Advantage (Speech Text)

The Good Jobs Advantage (Speech Text)

  Good afternoon. Thanks for joining us to think about good jobs, and how business and nonprofit partnerships are renewing the trades. A particular thank you to our speakers and panelists tonight, and special gratitude to Karla Nugent for hosting us at Weifield Group Electrical Contracting, a fitting location for our topic today. And thank you for allowing a writer, entrepreneur, and former pastor to address you. Why are we here today? First, businesses can’t find enough people to work in the trades. Wages are high. Demand is soaring. But we can’t find enough people. The National Association of Homebuilders reported that in July of 2016 there were 225,000 open jobs in homebuilding, the highest level since 2007. Last August, the Associated General Contractors of America found that 85% of Colorado construction companies were having a hard time filling hourly jobs. What happened? When did working as a carpenter, welder, or electrician drop off the map as a viable option for America’s youth? In this iconic 1932 photo, “Lunch...

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Posted by on May 10, 2018 in business, Craftsmanship & Manual Labor, Work | 0 comments

The Good Jobs Advantage – Keynote

The Good Jobs Advantage – Keynote

  In Colorado today, business can’t find enough people to work in the trades, and nonprofits are finding that society isn’t working for about 2/3 of Americans. Yet businesses and nonprofits agree: a good job is the surest way to get somebody out of poverty, and keep them out of poverty. How do our stories about business and work affect our views about manual labor and the trades? What can business owners do to attract and keep the right talent so that their business – and their community – can flourish? Recently I gave a keynote entitled “The Good Jobs Advantage,” targeted toward business owners and workforce development professionals who are eager to build healthy businesses and better serve our community’s work force. I begin with framing the cultural problem we find ourselves in. Then I cover how Christian teachings can help correct distorted views about work and business. And I conclude with three practical points with how business can attract and keep the right talent for their...

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Posted by on Oct 12, 2017 in business, Craftsmanship & Manual Labor, vocation, Work | 0 comments

How Does Your Work Impact Those Down the Line?

How Does Your Work Impact Those Down the Line?

  Have you thought about the people affected by your work who you may never meet? Learn more in this excerpt from the e-book “The Call to Commerce: 6 Ways to Love Your Neighbor Through Business.” Catch the first post here on the blog as well.  3. Love Your Supply Chains Months ago, I had a moving conversation with Tim Dearborn, a professor at Fuller Theological Seminary and former vice president at World Vision International1. He shared the story of visiting a church built on slave forts in Ghana. As he sat in the cathedral, he could almost hear the cries of 19th century slaves echoing below. I asked him, “What do you think are the modern ‘churches built on slave forts’ today?” That is, what are the systemic injustices that Christians have knowingly – or unknowingly – supported in the modern world? He replied with two simple words: “Supply chains.” Rarely do we think about the labor conditions of those who sew our shirts or make components for our...

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Posted by on Sep 29, 2017 in business, Craftsmanship & Manual Labor, Faith and Work Movement, Work | 0 comments

Making a Permanent Impact on American Society?

Making a Permanent Impact on American Society?

  “Dealmakers: Episode I” – Pete Ochs I often imagine what collective impact between business leaders, churches, government, nonprofits and ministries might look like. What would it look like for us to partner together to make a permanent, generational impact on American society? When it comes to work, in many ways, our society is hemorrhaging. The labor participation rate for men age 24-55 is at its lowest point since the Great Depression; 10 million men are either unemployed or looking for work; today there are 70 million Americans with a criminal background, many of whom can’t find a good job due to their past. What if the Christian business leaders we all know decided to hire the millions of men and women with barriers to employment? Could the Church step up to meet a critical need – and develop the knowledge, best practices, and vision for loving our neighbors through good jobs? This is a big task – maybe too big. But I feel like things are changing. TC...

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Posted by on Sep 26, 2017 in Craftsmanship & Manual Labor, Work | 4 comments

Colorado Needs a Renewed Vision of the Craftsman

Colorado Needs a Renewed Vision of the Craftsman

  Colorado needs a renewed vision of the craftsman. Lately, everybody is talking about workforce development. This week the Biennial of the Americas featured a discussion on the topic. Careerwise Colorado continues to make headlines placing youth in apprenticeships across the state. The Denver City Council’s economic and workforce development group is hosting a series of roundtables to address the woeful shortage of construction labor. And for good reason. The Association of General Contractors of America says that 85 percent of Colorado companies are having a hard time filling craft positions, like carpenters, concrete workers, and electricians. Though good paying jobs are in ample supply, technical and “middle skill” labor is sorely needed. To meet this need, noble efforts like Build Colorado emphasize career paths and high pay to try and fill the thousands of pipefitter, mason, and management jobs. But there is a critical gap in the trades pipeline: our k-12 educational system. Greg Schmidt, CEO at Saunders Construction, says, “Though we have carpenters making over $40,000/year and superintendents making $75,000-$100,000/year,...

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Posted by on Aug 28, 2017 in Architecture and Design, Craftsmanship & Manual Labor | 0 comments

Buildings Shape Your Soul

Buildings Shape Your Soul

  That may be hard to believe, but I think Stratford Caldecott, in his excellent book Beauty for Truth’s Sake, has convincingly made the case that architecture is under girded by distinct understandings of the world. And in the modern world, due primarily to materialism and utilitarianism, beauty has been mostly lost in our buildings. And with this loss in beauty, “ugliness” has warped aspects of the human soul. Again, that may seem extreme, but Caldecott is worth hearing on a few points. The first relationship that he explores is the vertical and the horizontal in architecture: “One way of describing what happened to architecture is that the vertical dimension was devalued, or else that the link between the vertical and the horizontal had disintegrated…. These two dimensions are integrated in the human body, which, as the medievals rightly perceived forms a “microcosm,” a compact representation and sampler of the cosmos as a whole. We stand upright, and this very posture hints at our potential role as a mediator...

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