Leading The Way With The Construction Industry

The construction industry is by far the most booming industry in the whole world today. This industry mainly focuses not just on highly or plainly developed areas but also even to the ones that are far from the urbanized spaces. Construction is the medium of putting the dream house we would like to consider as home; construction is the medium of putting into reality our desired building for our desired business entity. Simply, this industry indeed is a very essential ingredient to the success of every individual there of who aspires for a better tomorrow.As we all know, the industry itself is very versatile. It does not only build houses or homes, it does not only build buildings, but it also constructs bridges, roads, and other factors that comes in the same category only to aid in the progress of everything (geological and geographical development, public properties, and many more). General construction caters much on the building of real estate’s that could either be used as residential, or commercial asset depending on the owner’s wish of usage. Construction even incorporates specialty trades touching specialized items such as electric related works, wood works, steel works, and many more.Of course, people who are highly trained to do so and have mastered (or if not, knows more of the industry’s branches in advanced level) different construction categories are called contractors. Contractors are usually the ones who are in-charge of the over all process of the project. They manage man power, usage of materials as per requested by the client or other possible circumstances, work loads, and lastly, the security and safety of every construction worker involved. He strongly emphasizes and enforces close to perfection strategies that would only contribute nothing but progress to the worker’s skills, and for the project’s success itself. Contractors, depending on their specialties do not incorporate with them other kinds of specialized trades or heavy engineering work. The same thing also works for other kind of contractors.Because of the industry’s vast growth and development in the public’s eye today, many people from the rural areas have come to the more urbanized ones for a better and greener tomorrow. A lot of them have taken their chances in it and have been reaping quite a fair amount of money for their families. Although construction career varies by country, there are three main bases of rank for every worker: Unskilled and Semi Skilled (fair site labor with a few or worse, no construction qualification), Skilled (workers who possesses extensive knowledge on the job and has a few past experiences in their specialties), and lastly, Technical and Management (construction personnel with great education qualifications, mainly pertaining to the ones who are graduates of a degree course related to construction and who has the perseverance to instruct, and construct project operations).Today, construction is not just merely considered as a job, but also a bridge in helping people achieve the things they need to have in them. And they are the only ones who know what those are. Nevertheless, contractors and construction workers are always available everywhere to help us.

The “McDonald’s-ization” of Education

McDonald’s is astoundingly successful at purveying inexpensive fast food of consistently high quality.  They have achieved this primarily through standardization and quality control. If you purchase an “Egg McMuffin,” or a “Big Mac” at an outlet in Seattle, or Milwaukee, Chicago or Miami, it will be almost exactly the same.Standardization is increasingly making in-roads into education.  Once the realm of diversity (of opinion, thought, approach, teaching technique, classroom styles, etc.) and independence (academic freedom), the higher education classroom is being transformed into a “product” type delivery system.  The “products” in this case are the concepts, lesson plans, group exercises, assignments, etc. – indeed, the education itself.The intent of this transformation is to provide a “standard” high quality student classroom experience  within disciplines, and across institutions.  With the student being the customer (consumer) of the educational delivery system, we want to make sure he or she is getting the highest possible quality product, and the key to this is “quality control” and standardization.Instead of the after-the-fact quality control offered through instructor “evaluations,” ” classroom observations,” and the like, the approach introduces a far more intrusive and directive model.  Lesson Plans, indeed, entire courses and curricula are loaded into pre-packaged modules, on thumb drives (USB) or onto computers, or servers. As in the fast food business, manufacturing, or other product producing sectors, the product creation and delivery process is developed to gain the efficiency and effectiveness obtained in industry.JUST LIKE McDONALD’sJust like McDonald’s where the customer can expect to enjoy a standard, high quality product, served in a clean, well-designed environment, the student consumer can expect convenient delivery of the educational product, for his consumption, and enjoyment – “satisfaction guaranteed.”THE PROCESSFirst, a product team is assembled.  In this case it consists of academic experts, curriculum designers, course writers, technology experts, product representatives, trainers, content specialists, etc.  The product development process is based on outcome objectives, i.e., “what do we want the student to know?,” “what should he learn during this course?” and “how do we measure that?”  This “beginning at the end” philosophy is crucial.  It keeps the spotlight on the product, promotes quality, and ultimately, “customer satisfaction.”THE ENTERTAINMET COMPONENT  Gen Y students have different expectations from their predecessors, and are less likely to indulge obsolete or dated instructional methods and techniques.  They demand to be engaged.  Instructors are partially selected on their ability to “entertain” as well as “inform.”  They are expected to be animated, humorous, engaging, and entertaining.  They are expected to convey knowledge in convenient, enjoyable, and satisfying, bites.STEAMLINING THE EDUCATIONAL PROCESS  The more standardized the process becomes, the less latitude for the educator, the more prescribed the content, exercises and learning activities are, the more the business managers of the career and “for profit” colleges like it. This concept may, however, benefit the student as it concentrates on a quality, standardized, classroom experience.  IT’S EASIER  Once the instructor has mastered the technology, the whole instructional process is easier under this model.  Everything is pre-packaged.  No messy development of lesson plans – they’re already done – and done well.  No thinking about creative learning activities and approaches –  they’re already there.  You could almost do it in your sleep!  (if it wasn’t for the requirement to be animated and entertaining.)  STUDENT NEEDS  Students in this new education model will be immersed in technology throughout their degree program.  This is the world of today, and the future.  They will participate and interact with SMARTboards, laptops, WiFi, simulations, business games, remote “clickers,” interactive learning, real-world relevant projects, presentations, etc.  It’s designed to match their learning styles and attention spans  It is preeminently designed to prepare them for their careers. Although many students are “comfortable” with technology, fewer are proficient, and fewer yet have an in-depth understanding. The curriculum should help them become more proficient and better prepared for the technology demands of the future business environment. The intensely technological nature of the classroom experience also addresses the various learning styles.  The auditory learner will have voice, music, and noise.  The visual learner will enjoy the videos, powerpoints, and other visuals.  The kinesthetic learner will appreciate the hands on components, especially the SMARTboard.  Student satisfaction is, of course, a primary objective.  Education, especially for-profit education, exists to serve the student, while running a business.  And, through serving and satisfying the student, ultimately the student will stay in school, graduate, and learn valuable knowledge and skills in the process.  These graduates will benefit the business community, and society at large.  An advanced society like ours is critically dependent on an educated and productive populous.  EMPLOYER NEEDS  What do employers want and need?  The link to employer requirements is a vital one.  Businesses need educated workers.  They require technologically adroit employees who can meet the demands of a rapidly changing technological environment and a highly competitive situation.Ours is a productive society.  Businesses spend billions of dollars training and re-training their employees.  “Business Ready” graduates will be more productive from day one and employers will appreciate this.HAS EDUCATION COME TO THIS?  Purists would argue that the more traditional approaches are preferable, and that academic freedom is being infringed upon.  They would say that instructors should be hired based on their knowledge, quality of education, expertise, research history and contributions to their field.  They would undoubtedly prefer to see pure “academicians” and “scholars” in the classroom.  However, there is room for an interesting debate here.  Is it about the instructor or the student?  Obviously, we understand that it’s about both, but whose needs take precedence?  The answer has to be – THE STUDENT!  After all, the whole educational system is in place to meet the needs of the student, and ultimately, society.  Instructors with real-world, practical experience and without techno-phobia will be more adaptable to this new format, and perhaps better equipped to relate to the student.THE BOTTOM LINEIn education there is always room for a broad range of opinions and approaches. Let’s try this new one.  It works in business – why not education?  This is probably why Career Colleges are embracing the approach much more readily than their mainstream counterparts. The “for-profit” Career Colleges are definitely  the forefront of this initiative, and “early adopters.” We all know that “quality ” is an issue in education.  Graduates with virtually identical credentials can have vastly different skills, knowledge, and abilities.  This is, and always has been a concern. This standardized, quality-assured model addresses that issue.Sure, this educational model is controversial, as it should be!  But the end result may very well be that students have a reasonably similar experience, learn comparable skills, and become better “fits” within the business world.  Employers can be better assured and confident that graduates have the knowledge and skill base they require to be successful contributors.  They will probably, at some point, wish to be full participants in the curriculum development process.  In the globally competitive market, this might just be what is needed.When we’re teaching Business we must be business-minded.  Let’s transfer those “best practices” from the business world to academia, keep our students involved, and better prepare them for their future careers.  And, the lessons to be learned from places like McDonald’s may be more applicable to education than we might have ever imagined. Copyright ©, 2009, Dr. Ben A. Carlsen, MBA. All Rights Reserved Worldwide for all Media. You may reprint this article in your ezine, newsletter, newspaper, magazine, website, etc. as long as you leave all of the links active, do not edit the article in any way, leave my name and bio box intact, and you follow all of the EzineArticles Terms of Service for Publishers.

What Does Obama’s Health Care Reform Act Mean For You?

The health care reform act, called the Affordable Care Act, was signed into law on March 23, 2010. Many people are still wondering what this means for them. Here is a short guide to what you can expect because of this new change.-Many of the changes won’t occur until 2014, so you might not notice anything because of the health care reform act right away.-The new law aims to help individuals and small businesses, those who are most in need of health insurance help.-Small businesses will not be forced to provide health coverage, but they might be able to qualify for tax credits if they do. This is a great plus for those of us who have really wanted our companies to implement group health plans. Tell your HR department to look into those tax credits!-Your health insurance should begin to cover more, and you are more likely to get tax credits and subsidies, so in the long run it should be a better value for you.-Medicare benefits will stay the same, for the most part. Don’t listen to rumors that people will lose Medicare; they aren’t true.Will your premium go up because of the health care reform act?Predictions are that most people’s insurance premiums will not go up, but don’t count on this, because you may be part of the unlucky few. Predictions also show that people on group plans through their workplace probably won’t notice any changes. However, there should be a lot of people who actually see a decrease in their premiums, and, as I mentioned above, with the tax credits and subsidies now available to help pay, it should be easier than ever to afford health insurance.What is the biggest change because of the health care reform act?The biggest change for health care under the new policy is that everyone must have health insurance. That’s right…everyone. The only people who are exempt are those living well below the poverty line, and even they qualify for subsidies and other health care options.In order for health insurance companies to back Obama’s plan, he had to write this mandate in (that way, insurance companies will benefit by getting more business). To make sure you follow the rules and get insured, the IRS will keep tabs on you through a tax code (reported through your employer or health insurance company).Again, the IRS won’t start issuing penalties until 2014 under the health care reform act, but after that, penalties could be as high as thousands of dollars.