Outdated or Proven?


I’m a Model 44, a product of German engineering. Not a made much of it then, of course, with the War and all, but has proven to be one of the best ever. Parts still staying me in good stead. I have that heavy body that isn’t great on gas mileage but sure feels safe. Trucks avoid me.

I am coming up on over 648,000 miles. I know people don’t believe it but it’s true. That’s only an average of under 9,000 miles per year which isn’t a lot by today’s standards but I can tell you I’m starting to feel it. Of course it hasn’t been even. The first few years I barely logged 1,000 but as things grew and got further apart, I had to go farther and farther. That added the miles and lately the more I have to go, the less time I have to get there and the insurance companies are starting to not cover parts of the wear and tear. I get overheated more often and sometimes I backfire.

They’ve had to start rebuilding me, of course, but they decided there was still enough life left in me that it was worth it or at least created profit for someone . Both my left and right ball joints are new and next month I’m having both tie rods on the front replaced too.

I had a wreck when I was only at 105,120 miles and my front grill was smashed in. It affected my light sockets so they put new lenses in. They’re due for replacement pretty soon.

I am proud they modeled three new versions on me, the 1971 Roadster, the 1976 Coupe, and the 1981 Speedster. They are all in different garages now, but the woman who bought the Roadster still drives by every two years. Some guy bought the Speedster and really drives hard but the Coupe is housed down the street from me. I honk when I go by.

I had another wreck before these models came out that was very severe. An Edsel was off track and left another car wrecked before crashing into me and dragging me several miles through ditches, over mountains, and across rivers. I am glad it’s no longer in operation. But it changed some of the newer models’ features and operations.

They’ve been switching out entertainment. I started out with a nice sensible radio; worked fine. Nice music to listen to as I went down the road. Then something called a tape deck, tangles of strips everywhere. Stupid. Then a compact disc player, just a junior phonograph record if you ask me. Now they want me to call people, play music, give directions, and send messages. But that’s not all.

They’ve removed my lovely stick shift and clutch. Used to be I got touched. Now barely a tap. Replaced even the floor shift with buttons. Don’t trust it. Now I don’t even know where my keys are. And my tail lights aren’t enough anymore. They put in a privacy invasive camera. The relationship, the sense of connection, is all but severed.

It’s harder for me to keep up with the speed limits like I used to. I have to go in for rewiring my spark plugs more often and oil drips – don’t even talk about the gaskets. Scotch tape would work better. I’ve gone through tires, whitewall, radial, all weather. Seat covers – I prefer leather. Why is everything grey now? It’s depressing. My original paint is dull and of course the dents have to be smoothed out but I am thinking about just leaving some of them now because I keep getting them. Of course I could get the scratches covered with stripes. I go off the road more at night. Steering bearings worn. Doesn’t really seem worth it.

At one point I really wanted street effect lights though.

I think I’ll pass on anymore repairs. Don’t like being rebuilt piece by piece. There’s an end to every road I guess.  I got the word that they’re going to send a tow truck soon, take me to a storage lot, maybe recycle me. Something about depreciation and law of diminishing returns, upkeep too much. Still not much I haven’t seen, been down some beautiful roads along with the bumpy ones.

I’ll miss the new little ones coming along. They sure are spiffy. I heard they’re thinking of wings on their roofs. Not the same view though.

I’ll leave you with my favorite song from my early years, “Happy Trails to You”.

When to Go, Where to Go- Part Two: Research Saves Money, Time, Effort and Anguish


Attending college is an expensive and circuitous way to learn a field. The first two years are spent on general studies, although more schools are trying to track freshmen more quickly into their interests.  Changing majors is expensive. Changing schools is even more so. Many financial aid burdens could have been cut in half by some research before selecting a college or a field.

Some complain that they cannot find work in their degree field but that is not as big a pexels-photo-356830.jpeg

Continue reading

Schools Support Small Businesses


Note: I published this article previously  in Small Business Monthly. 


Facts about these programs open your access to improving current employee morale and securing qualified new talent.

businessman blasting off on rocket clipart

School to Career programs structure links between companies and students that result in improved performance for business owners and schools while increasing levels of employability for students. Connecting activities such as mentoring, internships, job shadowing, and teacher externships are reshaping the relationships between employees, employers, students and educators. These programs extend beyond the ususal “manual” skills that some businesses have historically used and beyond the usual “co-op” arrangements between schools and a few select businesses. STC is the potent, state-of-the-art way to tap into the people small business needs to maintain competitive profitability.

Return on Investment                                                                       $$$$$$$$$$$

The Learning Exchange reveals that three of four companies studied experienced cost benefit ratios of .40 to 3.21 with their School to Career (STC) programs (dollar value of benefits divided by dollar value of program costs). A National Employer Leadership Council report considers these partnershps “intelligent investment of resources” rather than “risky business.” Programs are flourishing nationally, from Miami to New York. Philadelphia programs, for example, have resulted in a 10% increase in grade point averages (GPA) of students, over 8% decrease in dropout rates, over 8% increase in attendance and a higher percentage of students employed and continuing education. Similiar results have been achieved locally. The Grain Valley, KS district believes the STC programs have contributed to an 8% reduction in dropout rate. Their persistence to graduation rates have increased as well. Employers cite reduced training, recruitment and supervision costs, increased retention, productivity and morale, favorable publicity, and increased workplace diversity.

Traditional hiring computes the cost of benefits, wage, and training. STC programs change that equation by reducing training, recruitment, supervision, turnover rates and increasing productivity through investing in students while in school programs.   Business owners have known that academic achievement translates to better employees, but a direct vehicle for making that translation has not been structured until the STC movement. Youth apprenticeship, for example, can reduce costs by 50% through tax credits and set asides. Additional savings have been measured in lower absenteeism and increased loyalty. The employer has a chance to “prove” the candidate for a longer period prior to hiring than the normal 60 days. In addition, the employer gains an advocate not on his or her payroll: STC liaisons.

Harmon Industries in Independence, MO is excited about the benefits. Harmon has been able to recruit exceptional talent, improve their own in-house engineering training, provide low-cost professional development, improve worker image and obtain state reimbursement for training costs. Their many programs include internships in shipping, machine tool, computer programming, drafting and other skills. One student actually designed the floor plan of the new corporate headquarters off I-70; another helped ease a drafting vacancy. Harmon has used job shadowing, mentoring, teacher externships, and internships along with a Career Institute. The company collaborates with Grain Valley, Independence, Raytown and other districts. Students who formerly may have shown a lack of engagement or a sense of belonging now report as seniors that the business principles and team training they received in the STC programs invaluable. Harmon hires directly from these proven participants.

Other smaller companies report similar results. Pat Meyer of Meyer Music has participated in shadowing. Small businesses have been able to interview better workers who know about business manners, customer service, communication and calculation skills. Claridge Court, General Reinsurance, Interim Technologies, Goldblatt Architecture, Timberlake Care Center, and Platte Woods Animal Hospital are just some of the companies who have participated in teacher externships and other connecting activities. Technical assistance is available for business owners.

Customized Training

The win-win STC partnership between schools and companies provide low or no cost training for employers. The Business and Technology College (BTC-part of the Metropolitan Community College system), Johnson County Community College, Kansas City Kansas Community College as well as professional associations such as the National Tool and Machining Association have developed articulation agreements with schools. These agreements provide for credit for coursework and experience while in high school. The BTC cooperates with small businesses to assist in recruitment and customize training of these prospective employees. Every articulated credit means training that the business owner does not pay for. These students are often hired in full time jobs before they complete the courses because of demand. They then finish their coursework on a part-time basis. Because there is a clear path between high school coursework and employment, between student and employer, these students are motivated to perform and will continue to improve through advanced coursework and training.

The Business & Technology College (BTC) is a local leader in STC initiatives and a variety of career development professionals. Martha Boyd, Director of Training for the BTC, can introduce employers to job and task analysis, organizational needs assessments, hiring, promotional and gap analysis or one-person, as-needed training. Blue Bunny routinely sends one support person every year or year-and-a-half for software training. The Center offers one day seminars with an open entry and exit lab for certain skill needs. A big advantage to small business owners is an applicant screening service which complies with ADA, EEOC, and other legal requirements. The BTC also offers ISO training.

Plugging In

A sampling of high school coursework in area school districts and area vocational technical schools (AVTS) shows the broad range of skills being provided with tax dollars. This exclusive survey attempts as accurately as possible to cue employers into specific skill programs and students. Small businesses can begin to develop mentoring, job shadowing, internships and other programs in the skills they need by working with the STC Coordinator or designated liaison in the district. For a list of contact persons at area districts, contact the district or the author. The Institute for Workforce Education in Columbia and the American Federation of Teachers also provide informational materials. Employers who want more business than usual take initiatives that are more than usual. Order your success soon by plugging into STC programs!