Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Trending Tags

Recently I posted a list of trending tags that are topping the charts week after week on Google+ and I wanted to take the opportunity to share them out with other individuals who could benefit from them. I'm looking for this to be a living list so please don't hesitate to send me your ideas or info about trending tags and I would love to add them to the list.


Friday, May 24, 2013

The Great Debate

The Great Debate:

The Storytelling of Science


Recently, some of the greatest minds in the fields of science and science reporting gathered at Arizona State University for a panel discussion moderated by Lawrence Krauss.  The panel discussed everything from Cuckoo eggs to string theory, space travel and even pyrotechnics.  The panel included; World Science Festival Executive Director Tracy Day, Theoretical Physicist Brian Greene, Science Friday Host Ira Flatow, Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, ASU's Origins Project Director Lawrence Krauss, Evolutionary Biologist Richard Dawkins, The Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye (The Science Guy) and Science Fiction Author Neal Stephenson.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Building on the Positive by John Vanderkin

Building on the Positive

by John Vanderkin

An April 3, 2013 press release by the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board states, “Our recent statewide employer survey found more than half of employers who had a hard time filling a job opening struggled because they could not find qualified employees with vocational certificates and associate’s degrees.” Similar data shows that Clark County is experiencing its share of this same “Skills Gap” phenomenon.

When it comes to the skills gap, there is much debate about what got us here. We hear things like: “The schools haven’t kept up”; “businesses are walking away from their responsibility to train employees”; “today’s youth just don’t have the work ethic they should.” Regardless of your opinion, it is clear that it will take the focus of the whole community to correct the problem.

The subject of a skills gap is one of many challenges we face both locally and nationally. On any given day we wake up and experience the divisiveness that has crept into our nation and our own community as we debate these challenges. We are divided on subjects like gun control, immigration reform, building a new Columbia River bridge, local budget issues and countless other squabbles.

When I moved to Vancouver, I was drawn to the community spirit and the way that residents and business band together to support one another and to address our local challenges. Rather than debating the cause or waiting for federal or state government to devise and implement a plan, members of our community are banding together to become part of the solution to our unemployment and skills gap challenge.

The SW Washington Workforce Development Council (SWWDC) is working to provide training to job seekers, programs for at risk youth and provide companies with training resources to close the skills gap with their current workforce. The Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) is working hard to recruit new businesses, foster and support new startups, and connect existing businesses to local resources that can help improve their employees’ productivity and knowledge.

There are innovative partnerships like the one between SEH America and Evergreen Public Schools to provide internships for high school students.

Other organizations partner with local business to train current and future jobseekers; such as Dream Big Community Center, working with middle and high school students to identify their professional dreams and set achievable goals to reach them. nConnect partners with local high schools and area businesses to provide career exploration, mentoring and internships for students. Partners In Careers (PIC) launched the Youth First Program where at-risk high school students are partnered with businesses for a paid employment program which allows them to see the value of staying in school and overcoming their employment barriers. Or PIC’s Roots to Road program, a partnership with Clark County 
to provide agricultural training and employment opportunities for veterans.

These are but a few of the many innovative programs and partnerships taking place in our community to bridge this skills gap. While each of these programs will not individually fix this growing problem, they are positive steps toward a lasting solution. If you are involved in these or similar efforts to improve our community, I applaud you. If you are not, I ask you to consider joining in the effort to build on the positive steps these and other individuals have taken together.

Contact one of these organizations or the many others doing great work in our community. Together we can make a difference in people’s lives, improve our workforce and grow our economy. Our future depends upon it!

John Vanderkin is the president of Employers Overload, a Portland-based staffing company with offices in Vancouver and Longview. He can be reached at john@eostaffing.com.


(Article courtesy of the Vancouver Business Journal and John Vanderkin)

Monday, April 22, 2013

What Do You Think?

I have been around blogs, bloggers and the blogging world for some time now and have recently worked to establish my own blog (in addition to a controlled internet presence), and it's amazing how difficult it can be to come up with an enticing topic to write about.  As bloggers we want to engage our audience, captivate them with a unique perspective and inspire new waves of thinking.  I don't know about you, but at times this can feel down right exhausting.  For some individuals it's as easy as opening the flood-gates to the conscious, allowing the thoughts to pour out of their cranium, for others of us, a simple post can feel like pulling teeth just figuring out how to phrase our opening sentence.  I fall victim to this all too often.

When I first started reading blogs, opinion pieces and individuals' articles I thought it seemed like an overly simplistic venture.  Write down your opinion on something and share it with the world.  Easy right?  How hard could it be to transcribe personal thoughts into a public post that would engage, captivate and inspire?  Naive as those questions may seem, they encompass  the general view I had of blogging.  So with a fire of motivation under me I embarked on the 'simplistic venture' of sharing my opinions.  Only to come to a very abrupt realization, "What is my opinion of 'this', or 'that'?  It always seemed so easy to channel my thoughts, opinions and beliefs when engaged in a discourse with friends or relatives.  How come I am having so much trouble now?"  Delving deeper into the cause of this writer's block revealed to me that I had lost sight of a very important lesson learned in my school days.

"Know why you think what you think, and why you believe what you believe!"

It is so easy to lose sight of why we are advocating for a certain 'something', or why we think 'this' or 'that'.  I know I certainly had lost sight of this through being submersed in the opinions of so many others.  Herd mentality or the bandwagon effect sneaks into our minds discreetly and grows quickly.  Gaining strength like a virus or an addiction that becomes exceedingly difficult to cure.  You may catch yourself adamantly defending an ideal or opinion that isn't even yours from time-to-time.  However, like an addiction, acceptance is the first step.  Once you accept that your mind is full of others' opinions it immediately gets easier to start consciously identifying when you are committing a fallacy and promoting the mentality of the herd instead of your own.  As you identify and correct more and more of these mentalities within yourself you begin to increase the momentum of your real Self and it becomes increasingly easier to realize your opinion, voice or ideals amongst that of the herd.  Through an increase in this momentum it gets easier to have a flood of thoughts you can open the gates to at any time.

It is my hope that all of you will put thought into why you think what you think, allowing you to climb the seemingly insurmountable wall of writer's block, herd mentality and bandwagoning to realize the awaiting flood of conscious thought that you are truly capable of.

Happy Blogging!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Establishing a Foothold

Staying Relevant in the Information Age!

With so many popular outlets for you to voice your opinion in the world we live in, how can you stay relevant and actually be heard rather than slipping into the abyss of random bloggers, forum posters and spammers?  This is a question people in the field of internet marketing are working to tackle daily.  The first step in any successful campaign is to establish a foothold, niche or something unique you plan to offer that others can't, whether it be information, a product or a service.  Without that original idea the campaign is lost before it begins.


Where Have All the Original Ideas Gone?

"How can I be original?"  This may seem like a silly question to ask, but many people find themselves at a loss for the answer.  Especially when there are so many individuals out there tackling virtually every issue or topic known to man.  Don't fret, there is still a saving grace.  That one thing you have which others don't...  'They' are not 'You'!  As humans we all have this remarkable ability to think freely which allows for an open door to a veritable plethora of possibilities.  The mentality that all the originality has left the world is complete bunk.  Although many individuals may have overlapping thoughts, beliefs or ideals, no two people are the same.  Recognizing this inherent uniqueness allows you to freely voice your opinions through the most conducive outlets.  All too often I see folks aggressively promoting an ideal, belief or product from someone else and expecting the same results.  Unfortunately this frequently leads to frustration, or disappointment, and discouragement from lack of success.


Recognizing What Makes You Unique!

So now you've decided you are unique, but how do you voice it?  What's the best outlet?  Chances are that there is already some form of social interaction that you do on the daily; Facebook, Pinterest, face-to-face interaction or telecommunication, to name a few.  Whatever your medium, capitalize on your experience, daily routine and comfort level.  For most, whether subconsciously or consciously, their social medium acts as a safety blanket.  Providing a sort of added happiness or health in life.  Socializing in general plays a vital role in our physical and mental well-being and all too often individuals push themselves to use the 'latest and greatest' method of interacting because some 'specialist' or 'expert' promised it will work and then find themselves down-trodden when there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  I propose using the very mediums that have already become a comfort to us as our foothold in the information age.  For example, in business, if you are actively engaged on your personal Facebook every day but cannot figure out why you aren't attracting new customers from the YellowPages campaign you've poured hundreds (if not thousands) into, it's time reassess and capitalize on the medium you find comfort in.  Create deals, make engaging posts, share insights and updates that you're privy to but others aren't.  At first it can be very difficult to even figure out how to begin, but it's a lot like being a writer.  Once you find your 'voice', the content begins to flow in a smooth and pure manner.  Don't get discouraged if at first your followers or circles aren't as receptive to your new, more genuine, 'voice' because as you delve deeper and deeper into spreading your message the way you feel it should be spread (assuming you are being positive and kind), the followers will find you and they will help your influence grow.  In the immortal words from Field of Dreams, "If you build it, they will come"!

I would love to hear any thoughts, comments, questions or objections as this is a brief skimming of a deep pool of thought and your feedback is what pushes me to consider new philosophies, challenge my beliefs and create more blog posts!

I thank you for reading and as always, much love and respect.


+Daniel Vanderkin