Monday, October 22, 2012

Jobs and the Economy Town Hall Meeting

A town hall meeting about Jobs and the Economy was held on Wednesday, October 3, 2012, right here in Columbus, Ohio. As an Employment Services Specialist with a non-profit agency, I was definitely interested in hearing Ohio’s numbers regarding unemployment, employment, and what we could do better as a state.  Newscaster, Yolanda Harris, started out the program by revealing Ohio’s position within the economy.  Ohio’s current rate of unemployment was 7.2%, which made it the fifth best rate within the country.  This number is lower than the recession rate in 2009, which was 10.1% and was the highest unemployment rate for Ohio between 2008 and 2012. Buckeye state, how encouraging is it to know that Ohio is doing great in regards to employment.  I know I feel great!
As the discussion progressed, the program revealed five panelist to talk about jobs, the economy, what should be done to improve it and other helpful information.  The panel consisted of: Dale Butland (Innovation Ohio), Dr. Bill Lafayette (Regionomics), Cheryl Hay (Columbus State Community College), Jim Newton (Commerce National Bank) and Terry Casey (GOP Strategist).  Viewers and attendees were encouraged to ask questions via Facebook or Twitter and use the hashtag  #ColumbusTownHall in tweets.  The first question was posed to the audience.  The facilitator said, “Clap if you think the economy is getting better.  Now clap if you think the economy is getting worse.” The number of claps were split between better and worse. The facilitator then posed the same question to the panel. Four individuals motioned that the economy was getting better and one person was undecided.  Mr. Butland stated that “in evaluating whether or not the economy is getting better, you have to look at the actually numbers. Things are getting better.  In order for things to get better, we have to plan for progress toward growth.” Mr. Butland reiterated numerous times that “the economy works better when there is a strong middleclass who has money to spend and put money back into economy.”  Mr. Butland also stated that “when the presidential debate takes place tonight, listen to the candidate who explains and provides examples of his strategic plan and what he plans to do to help the economy.”
The facilitator’s next question was directed to Mr. Newton and was regarding why it was more difficult for people to maintain a standard cost of living.  Mr. Newton responded by stating, “The nation is in a policy drift and that it is hard to maintain a standard cost of living when food and energy are continuously on the rise.” This response lead the facilitator in talking about the American Dream deferred.  Mr. Layfatte responded to the question by stating that the American Dream is getting harder to acquire due to the “skill requirements for jobs rapidly changing; employers are now hiring individuals that can do more.”  Mr. Casey added that the “economy started changing as we moved from the agriculture era to manufacturing era.” He also stated that the times had changed and “people are no longer working for one employer and staying there the rest of their lives.”
As the audience started questioning the panel, one audience member posed a question I was all too familiar with; unemployment and people with disabilities. The person asked about what was beening doing to combat Ohio’s 80% unemployment rate for individuals with disabilities. Cheryl Hay, from Columbus State, spoke up about Columbus State’s Logistic’s Program. She stated that programs were being tailored to this population to fit their needs. Ms. Hay said something important during the program that had the ability of impacting everyone who heard her; she said, “One size fits all programs can’t work. You have to personalize opportunities.” She is absolutely right about that statement because not everyone learns the same, so you have to create programming to fit that specific needs of the individual. One last important thing that Cheryl provided to the audience was regarding individuals with criminal records. She told individuals to be honest about their past by stating, “This is the issue, here’s what I’ve done since then and this is what I am bringing to the table.” This is exactly what I have taught some of my clients with criminal records and have seen it work.
Want more information about jobs and the economy? It can be found at ABC6OnYourSide

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Today while sitting in the cafĂ© area of a well-known grocery store, I overheard two women talking. One woman stated, “Right now I am single and I am enjoying myself. There’s been a lot of spiritual growth and getting to know myself lately.” I could not concur with her more. I agree with her because I truly believe that before you can be in a relationship with anyone, you have to understand your wants, needs, and desires. The best way to understand yourself is by being by yourself for an extended amount of time.
In 2006, I entered into a two year relationship. My prior relationship record was not good because I could not seem to make it past the three month relationship mark. I was definitely going to give this relationship a chance because I had to make sure it could be done. Well, by the third month, I was ready to throw in the towel. This guy was too needy and seemed to have a continuous altering mood; he needed me to walk him through things I considered simple, perform those simple tasks for him and want for the relationship seemed to change depending on if he was working or laid off. I found myself being concerned with this individual more than I was concerned for my own well-being. Within those two years, I had broken up with him at least three times and had considered breaking up with him on a constant basis. What always brought us back together was the fact that I felt bad for him, when I really should have just considered my feelings in the relationship. The feelings that I held for this individual were definitely not being reciprocated; I was often the one providing for us, even when he had a job and I moved forward in the relationship with the perception that the word team included both of us.
My two year relationship made me take a few steps back, so I could re-evaluate the situation. I asked myself a few questions: What was the relationship doing for me? Was the relationship helping me grow? Could I see myself with this individual in the future? Was our relationship built on a foundation of trust and loyalty? And what was I getting out of the relationship? After answering no or nothing to practically all of those questions, I knew it was time for me to get to know myself a bit more and determine my likes and dislikes. I ended my two years of blissful misery and started my four year journey toward getting to know myself. It was such an experience because I started to identify things I liked in myself and things I wanted in a mate. While many of my friends and family found me to be picky, I thought to myself, “Why not? Why not be picky?” I think I definitely deserved to be picky, especially where I was headed. I needed someone that could accompany me on my journey and who could easily fit into my life without all the complications that I was accustomed to. I wanted to be able to have an in depth conversation with that person and be able to talk about life, love, and even politics. I wanted the information he possessed to be fact-based and not emotional-based. I wanted his words to be true and I did not have to determine if he was telling a lie. Is that too much to ask for?
~I'm worth the time it takes to make good choices. Are you?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

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Friday, October 5, 2012

Irene Pepperberg and Alex

Greetings everyone!
So yesterday, I witnessed something truly amazing on the WOSU. The program on NOVA ScienceNow started out talking about somebody named Alex. My first thoughts were: Who is Alex? And why do people keep on referring to him only by his first name? As the program went on, one interviewee compared Alex to Albert Einstein and another compared his death to the King of Pop’s death; however she felt more emotional attached to Alex. I immediately thought to myself, “Why had I not heard of Alex, especially if his death was being compared to one of my all-time favorite artists?” 
Well, my lack of knowledge regarding Alex was perhaps due to  me being focused on my school work and the absence of Alex on the type of programming I often watched. Alex was a well-known parrot, who was taught to speak and increase his animal intelligence by Irene Pepperberg.  Irene conducted a study on Alex, which displayed that animals could be taught to communicate with people.  Her inspiration came from watching a TV program where a man taught a chimpanzee how to communicate through sign language. After seeing such a wonderful thing take place, Irene changed her major from Chemistry to Biology and enrolled at Purdue. She set out to do the same thing that she had seen on T.V.; train an animal how to communicate with others.  Though Irene did not get very much buy-in during the beginning phases, she did not let that deter her from her study. 
Within 30 years of Irene working with Alex, she was able to teach him colors, shapes, sizes and how to explain to others what he wanted.  She defied the odds and helped man communicate with parrots. You could say that she is the Dr. Dolittle of parrots; she taught Alex over 100 words, provided a strategy on teaching parrots to communicate and continues to teacher other parrots today.
Thanks Irene for your continued dedication and seeing the possibilities in the often peculiar!