Source: Sherman Publications

Letter to the editor
Reader sees lofty goals for bond

April 11, 2012

Dear Editor,

Imagine you’re a surfer, and you spot a hungry 12-foot tiger shark lurking below your board. Where would you prefer to be, frantically paddling behind the wave or riding the crest of the wave swiftly toward shore?

In the context of “livelihood”, the surfer’s plight is analogous to having, or lacking, internationally marketable work skills. When it comes to connecting with skills employers truly desire from employees, nothing is more universally sought than relevant technical competency.

The world has reaped untold productivity benefits – getting more of everything and faster while expending less effort, energy, and cost – because when evolving with technology. The very best, most successful companies and people are those that keep pace with powerful digital technology. They are the surfers riding the crest of the wave while others scramble frantically or become casualties of our fast- evolving economy.

The point is, the pace of technology is so fast and there is so much competition for jobs in the world, that the only way for our kids to be on the right track is to create an entry point for them to be onboard with technology so that they can ride the wave of knowledge that comes with it. We either help them to the crest of the wave or watch them suffer the inevitable.

The biggest, best employers are already abandoning email in lieu of virtual collaborative work environments, e.g., Lotus Connections, similar to Facebook. The reason: email is too linear and inefficient! Collaborative virtual work environments are like synaptic spider webs that connect people, subjects, and resources in more useful ways than ever imagined.

This means that employers, hospitals, insurance companies, engineering firms, etc., not only want technically proficient employees, but those who understand how to collaborate with others in this new virtual world. How prepared are our children to interact competently?

“Cloud computing” has reduced the investment cost per pupil and the risk of hardware obsolescence by as much as 90 percent for casual users over the past four years alone. Unlike in the past, computing power is now largely “in the cloud” rather than performed by hardware on a desk. This allows each pupil to use a low cost device such as a basic iPad to access a universe of content and ever-evolving power in cyberspace.

Moreover, cloud computing offers a practical opportunity for users to learn how to interact in a collaborative virtual environment where they can share knowledge and work, e.g., Google+, in real time. For example, our 12 year-old daughter watches YouTube math tutorials to supplement her advanced math class lectures, and she studies with her friends collaboratively on Google+.

Help our next generation of young workers successfully ride the crest of the technology wave by voting “yes” for the technology and capital improvement bond on May 8.

We can now, more easily and with a more immediate return than ever, help Clarkston’s 8,100 students, including about 600 graduates per year, become more capable with relevant skills that employers want. And, for the first time in years, our graduates don’t need to leave the state to find good paying job opportunities.

Highly skilled, highly paid virtual collaborative workers that employers crave (engineers, attorneys, programmers, sales people, customer service, employment recruiters, consultants, accountants, etc.) can work virtually, own a home, and pay taxes right here in our own community.

Jay Smith

Springfield Township