Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Agony, Culture, and Hope - Day Two

Tucson, Arizona. Well, for your humble blogger, today's Town Hall was brutal. I learned that, in fact, EVERYONE had extraordinary passion and more than a mouthful to say about the following question:

How do we increase the number of skilled workers for high wage jobs? What are the obstacles for providing such skills to the current labor pool; and, how can such obstacles be overcome? What role or responsibilities should businesses, governments and educational institutions have in creating and maintaining this type of workforce? How can cooperation and collaboration between these entities be designed and fostered to create and maintain such a workforce?

Well, this tugs at my heart, and I'd been waiting to talk about this since the beginning of the event. However, since everyone had a ton to say, we went around the room. This was positively excruciating and very intense. I am not going to post all that was said, except to remark that it was authentic, intelligent, and unpleasant. Reality in these areas is not cheerful, and this room was far too intelligent to pretend otherwise.

Clarence spoke, "I don't know why people aren't more angry."

The room responded. Yes, we were angry. Usually the room was so cold (particularly in one area) that some people were given blankets. I kid you not, the room temperature soared from about 65 to over 80 during the 90 minute discussion. We all had heat, and I probably had the most. I blasted.

After lunch, the moderator remarked, "I have been asked to manage people's passions."

We discussed in great detail literacy, health care, and education. The literacy issue is frustrating. The health care issue is at best depressing and at worst downright terrifying. Discussing the skills of the local workforce and the ability to earn a good wage in this town? That was a real picker upper.

"We live in a world of increasing despair and loss of hope." Ken Abrahams

This guy just oozed intellect, so I had to ask, "How many degrees do you have?"


The first was in psychology and the second in landscape architecture. The third was graduate work in urban planning or regional planning or something like that. We are talking about a guy who learned all about people, then all about plants, and then how to plan projects involving both.

The experience was rich, painful, rewarding, frustrating, humbling, yet in a certain respect uplifting. The sensation is something like facing the impossible but doing so with a terrific team of people. There is also a very humbling aspect to these last two days.

While wrestling with all of these issues, it was observed, "The Operative Word would be Culture."

Yes, indeed.

(Romero) In a remarkable experience for yours truly, at the very end of the day the subject of blogs came up. Jacqueline Jackson stared right at me. Regina Romero, also very sharp and running for Ward 1 to replace Jose Ibarra, remarked that "some people at this event are blogging about it."

I inquired, and was told that if this event were googled, the blogs about it would show up. I googled the event. We are not talking about skinny branches anymore.

Elvis has left the tree.

Of course we discussed solutions, possibilities, opportunities, and so on, but the aggregate cerebral horsepower of the room could not escape the unavoidable conclusion that the quickest way to produce the most hope and progress as quickly as possible would be to educate the Arizona House of Representatives to a level of literacy that provided an opening for understanding something.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

People know who you are. You should just post your name tonight.

It's over.

Do you realize that any one of those 160 people could google the town hall tonight? Do you know that your blog is the second listing on the FIRST page? Do you know you are going to be in the room with all 160 of them tomorrow morning, and that any one of them could stand up and out you in front of everyone?

You don't think the press is googling this event?

I could not be you for five minutes.

5/08/2007 9:03 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...


Geez, relax! You can get riled up pretty easily. I still get a kick out of thinking of you in that computer center that one day. God, that was serious funny.

This is not a big deal.

Barring some change, we issue the press release Friday. I update my profile that evening. Anonymity is toast. I don't care who finds out between now and Friday night, and I don't care.

I just request that folks like Liza, Art, Francine, Tedski, yourself (and now Regina) not post my name until the profile changes on Friday. Once the press release goes out, things change.

5/09/2007 12:01 PM  
Anonymous Jeff Strain said...

How do we increase the number of skilled workers for high wage jobs?

Hmmm, I'm sure I have some sort of opinion on this, but before I go spouting off I should ask, what is meant by "skilled workers" and what is meant by "high wage jobs?"

(BTW I'd link to my SE Valley blog at AZCentral, but my comments always get eaten, at this and every other blog on the planet, when I do that)

5/09/2007 10:30 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...


The level of frustration and general lack of progress is staggering, but in general the concept involves the nature of the future possibility a position makes available.

I have a lot to say in July. For now , let's just note that for the kids, we fail miserably in creating the connection between education and opportunity.

With adults, my line of work, we fail almost completely. People seem to think that once a person gets a job, training ceases to be necessary.

Not in this century.

By the way, instead of listing a link to your blog, just create a blogger id and list your url at your profile. Anyone interested can just click on your name.

5/10/2007 6:50 AM  
Blogger Liza said...

As it turns out, in another lifetime I was a technical trainer, and I have been thinking about posting a comment on this subject. However, I haven't been able to figure out how to do it without reminding myself of Dwight Leister.

5/10/2007 8:44 AM  

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