Finding Your Way

I read this book one time…

OK, I’ve read more than one book, and many of them weren’t text books. Did you ever read your textbooks all the way through as was suggested by your teacher or professor? Perhaps you did, that makes you a better student than me. The book I am referring to is, “Finding Your Way,” by Dan Webster & Randy Gravitt. Full disclosure, this book was presented at a conference at my church and I attended believing it would help my work in the Kent ISD Career Readiness Department, and it has.

Presented as a fictional story, it models a simple method for helping a person discover themselves in a new way which hopefully leads to them knowing what they want to be when they grow up- so to speak. There are several simple steps:

  1. Talk to someone who knew you when you were young. Less than 10 years old. When we’re young, we haven’t developed the ability to be who we think we’re supposed to be. Instead we’re just ourselves. Ask them what kind of kid you were- a bookish sort? A LEGO nerd? A math-head? A jock? etc… Take notes.
    1. This is data point # 1.
  2. Recall what kinds of teams, or tasks you were a part of as a young person and write them down. Did you love glee club? band? the student senate? debate? chess club?
    1. This is data point # 2.
  3. What kinds of early jobs did you have? Did you like them or not? Write down what you liked or didn’t.
    1. This is data point # 3
  4. Determine if who you were, what you liked, and what early jobs you liked can be linked.

I like to think of these as data points on a graph. Where is the line of best fit pointing? Have you always been heading toward becoming an industrial engineerprincipalwind turbine technicianconstruction manager? barista? community health worker? software developer ?

The story of our lives -when laid out this way- can be a  great indicator of our direction, or our, “direction of best fit.”

Know Thyself,

-EN (echo november)


Call for Presenters

Share Fair Nation is coming to Grand Rapids, Michigan on November 12, 2016 with a mission to teach and inspire educators in emerging practices for a 21st Century workforce.

There will be 2 parts to this thing.

  • A STEM-O-Sphere (think of a career fair with hands on stuff)
  • Teacher workshops where teachers can learn about innovative ways to engage an emerging workforce.


Here is my ask: can we ask the business community to show up? Would you consider presenting ~60 minutes to a group of teachers about how your business sector works?

If you are a business person (or know of a peer that would be) interested in cultivating interest in your business sector might you consider filling out an application at this link before March 15th?

Call for presenters:




Creating Opportunity

noun 1. a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.


Before we get started, please take 1:40 to listen to this segment from Mr Haden Land of Lockheed Martin. (Please forgive the quality of the SKYPE recording). Beginning at ~1:25 he describes the need and future demand for people who can think from multiple perspectives.

What did you think?
Mr. Land’s focus is on the future.

Wonder with me for a second:

What is the internet going to turn into?
Will drones be able to build houses?
What supports will we need if most of society lives past 130 yrs of age?
Will I be able to invest in real estate on Mars?

Have we adequately considered what our children should be doing now to be prepared for the opportunities that will emerge then?

Six years ago if you had told me I would be working in education I would have been mad at you. I was certain that I would continue my path in aviation. What I didn’t appreciate then was that my background had positioned me for options. I could not have known that UAV technology would be a huge opportunity. But being trained and educated in flight sciences has positioned me to work in this new market segment.

What will be coming in our student’s future(s) that we could position them for right now?



Helping Your Students get a Competitive Edge in the New Economy.

“A university degree no longer  guarantees a higher salary. These days, it no longer ensures employability. With rising education costs, a shrinking job market, and the oversaturation of some academic majors in the workforce, a university degree is no longer Job Assurance.”  – Brian Y. Marsh, Author of Success in the New Economy

Watch this video to get ideas on what you can do to ensure success in the New Economy.

The Importance of Relevance in a K-12 Education

I’ve said it before on this site. I’ve shared it with anyone willing to listen. Students can often be heard asking, “When are we going to use this in the real world?”

Why do I keep raising the question? Why does it matter? Because the reason the question keeps being asked every day – in classes across America – is rooted in relevance. Meaning, students want to know how and why the things they are learning is important; how it connects to them, has value to them, and can be used by them. Students want to know how learning Shakespeare can help them get a job. They want to know why a sine, cosine and tangent is vital information they’ll want to remember (actually, I want to know why too, as obviously, it never “stuck” for this former P.E. and Language Arts teacher). They want to know when it will ever pay off that they actually learned the capital of each of the 50 states (other than as a not-so-cool party trick).

The point is, students want to know how what they are learning is RELEVANT! And to be honest, I can’t blame them. Until recently however, I thought all of the information above was critical because it showed students were well-rounded, learned human beings. And then, just the other day I realized, when my kids were playing an iPhone game intended to teach kids information on the various states, that I had completely forgotten the capital of not one – but several – of the states (for some reason I do remember the capital of Delaware is Dover …. right?).

Of course it’s not bad to teach our kids information about life, society, history and our world. And, it IS good to teacher our children to be “well rounded” individuals. But it’s absolutely vital to teach our kids to be critical thinkers, how to find information we don’t know, and how to lead, listen, communicate and problem-solve.  And it’s important for kids to know why they’re learning something and when they’re going to use it in the real world. Because if it’s not relevant, it might, just might, not be worth remembering.

To learn more about why it’s important for K-12 education to be relevant to students, check out this brief article.

Please, share your thoughts – agreement or dissension – in the comment section below.

Can a student really go to college for free while working?

Post written by guest blogger: Amy Koning, GRCC, Associate Dean; Workforce Development

Educators and Parents:  Do you know a student that likes to work with their hands?  Create things?  Tinker on cars? Not quite sure a bachelor degree is right for them?  Worried about how to pay for college?

The Advanced Manufacturing Program (AMP) may be a good fit for them.  This partnership between students, West Michigan manufacturers and GRCC provide an opportunity to get an associate degree in Tooling and Manufacturing free!  While going to school, students also work at their sponsoring company; obtaining the on-the-job experience so vital to their skill set.  Companies are now looking for possible candidates.  To find out more information about AMP go to  Students that are interested should submit an application as soon as possible as interviewing has already begun for the Fall 2016 start up.