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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 Feb 28, 2018 in Culture, Economy, Work | 0 comments

Why “Deaths of Despair” Point to a Crisis for American Capitalism

Why “Deaths of Despair” Point to a Crisis for American Capitalism

  There may be no issue that bothers my conscience more in American public life than this one. Watch the video below. The Wall Street Journal reports: “Two Princeton economists are sounding off on what they consider to be warning signs of a crisis of American capitalism.Prof. Anne Case and Nobel Prize-winning economist Angus Deaton see increases in suicides and other “deaths of despair”—particularly among middle-aged, white Americans—as a sign that “something is not right,” with society.‘If we can only generate good lives for an elite that’s about a third of the population, then we have a real problem.’”   “In the video above, they argue that it’s not simply a function of economics. It’s a ‘failure of spiritual and social life that drives people to suicide,’ Mr. Deaton...

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Posted by on Feb 20, 2018 in business, Work | 0 comments

Wealth Disparity and Job Creation

Wealth Disparity and Job Creation

  Perhaps the best response to wealth disparity in America today can be summarized in two words: Karla Nugent. Karla is the Chief Business Development Officer at Weifield Group Electrical Contracting in Denver. In 2014, she won the Denver Business Journal’s 2014 Corporate Citizen of the year award. Why? Denver’s economy is booming, and as the economy has required more skilled laborers, Weifield has hired more electricians. In the building boom, Karla saw a chance to serve. Behind Karla’s leadership, Weifield opened up a philanthropic arm that donates to four communities: women & children, head of household, military and “less fortunate.” But they also brought the needs to the community right into their company. She created an apprentice program in partnership with Denver Rescue Mission, Stout Street, and Peer One – local nonprofits that work with the homeless, formerly incarcerated and other at-risk communities. Weifield hires people coming out of homeless or other at-risk situations to work in a pre-fabrication process. If new trainees can complete the process, Weifield...

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Posted by on Mar 30, 2017 in business, Economy | 0 comments

The Public Good of Faith Expressed Through Work

The Public Good of Faith Expressed Through Work

  Three stories of Denver business leaders serving their neighbors by providing good jobs It’s often assumed that faith is a private matter. Fine for your personal life, but less appropriate in the workplace or public life. Yet time and time again, I’ve seen that when faith becomes a public matter – and is expressed as working for the good of one’s neighbor – there are transformative results for the entire community. Take for example Karla Nugent, chief business development officer at Weifield Group Electrical Contracting. Two years ago, my friend Bryan Chrisman at National Christian Foundation in Colorado connected us. “You gotta meet Karla,” he said. “She’s doing just what you’re talking about at Denver Institute for Faith & Work.” So we met for coffee, and after 45 minutes I was speechless. Her company was blossoming and now had 350 employees. She had a deep, intrinsic belief in the dignity of the work of electricians that she employs, and had innovated an apprenticeship program that was employing men with...

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