“Boy Howdy”

From the MRW Water Cooler

Haven’t heard that expression in years, but had to chuckle just now. The gate agent here at Burbank Airport is apparently a fan of Dirty Jobs, and wanted to express his enthusiasm for the show with an exclamation that was notable not just for its colloquialism, but for its sheer volume. Made me laugh and lurch at the same time. Now, as I look over the posts and conversations evolving here in The Workroom I’m tempted to respond in kind. Boy Howdy, indeed!

I am seriously amazed and gratified by the level of discourse flying around here. And I must apologize for my scarcity. The production schedule is currently in the “relentless” phase, and I’ve been hard pressed to check in on my own site. Forgive me.

I just wanted to tell you that the goal of this forum, and the resulting dialogue, is absolutely working. The first order of business, as I mentioned in the last video, is the gradual creation of what I’m tentatively calling the Trade Resource Center. (TRC) The links and references you are posting here are being culled and assembled into what I hope will become a user-friendly resource that features those organizations, schools, scholarships, and associations available around the country on a state-by-state level. For now, there is no better way to contribute than bringing those entities in your town or community to our attention in this forum, and posting them in the context of a thread or conversation. Likewise, links to articles and observations relating to the trades and the infrastructure are being accumulated, with the idea of accumulating a modest library. Later, that process will likely change, but for now it’s working fine, and attracting the kind of attention I had hoped it might. To wit, a recent conversation with a retired Major General from The US Marine Corps named Mike Myatt.

General Myatt currently oversees The Marine Corps Memorial in San Francisco, and is best known for liberating Kuwait back in 1991. He was directed to MRW by a mutual friend, and suggested a meeting to discuss a way that we might work together on an issue that has become a priority. In the next few days, I’ll post a video that discusses the details of that meeting, but the short version is this – the unemployment rate for returning GI’s is shocking – nearly three times that of the national average. The reasons for this have nothing to do with training or experience; to the contrary, the people in question are more than qualified to work, especially in the trades. The problem has to do with little to no “reverse assimilation” into the private sector, and a huge disconnect with respect to the expectations of the average HR Manager, who often sees these candidates as members of an “alien culture.” The results, according to a study just completed by the VA, are an unemployment rate north of 18%. Equally horrific, are the 25% of returning servicemen currently employed, but earning less than $22,000 a year. Compared to their civilian cohorts, these numbers are insanely, criminally high.

According to General Myatt, the consequences of this study – when reported and released in full detail – will result in a scandal more damaging than the fiasco at Walter Reed last year. He wants to explore ways to challenge both business and government to attack this problem head on, and he has asked how MRW might play a role. A had a few thoughts, but no snappy answers. (Rarely do Generals ask my opinion.) Nevertheless, he has invited me to DC to discuss a strategy with Commandant of the Marine Corps, and a Senator or two. Unbelievable. (Mike may be going to Washington.) We’ll see.

In other news, you may have seen Moderators Sammy and Charlie spreading their brand of sunshine here in The Workroom. They are doing a great job, and have my support and thanks. I hope they have yours as well.

Look for some additions and improvements as we progress. Your suggestions and compliments and criticisms are being heard. Be patient. Have fun. Play nice. And thanks.

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