Using Employment Sites in Your Job Search

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Employment Site Job Search Resources

Employment web sites have been the greatest advance in the field of recruiting

since the creation of the resume. Since their first appearance on the World Wide

Web, job boards and career portals have connected more organizations to more

talent more efficiently than any other single medium in existence. Both employers

and recruiters now consider these sites a critical component of their sourcing and

recruiting strategy. Today, job boards and career portals serve virtually every

profession, craft and trade, in every industry, in every country of the world.

Employment Site Services & Features

Access to employment opportunities and job postings in your hometown and around

the world.

Private, automated notification by e-mail or RSS/XML of job openings that match

your employment objective.

Information about effective job search techniques.

Resources for a successful job search, such as resume writing assistance,

interviewing advice, salary and compensation information.

Links to additional job search and career management resources at other

sites.

Skills for effective career self-management.

Resume databases to announce your availability to potential employers and

recruiters

Selecting Employment Sites

With so many career related sites to choose from you really must find a way to

narrow your focus. Most people check out the big Employment Super Sites, like

Monster, Hot Jobs and CareerBuilder. But, they are not the only, or even always

the best, place to look. Smaller, more focused sites can often be much more useful

to you.

Specialized Industry or Occupation Employment Sites

These specialized sites focus on a specific niche, usually an industry,

profession, or a combination of both. These sites are highly targeted toward

the professionals of the specific industry it serves. The specialization means

the site is smaller, fewer jobs and fewer resumes and less competition for

the posted jobs.

Some employers will only use these sites because they are usually less

expensive than the Super Sites and their job postings don’t get lost in the

postings from other companies.

Regional and Local Employment Sites

There are also local and regional job sites that can be effective in finding a

job in a specific location. Again, many of these sites include listings from

local employers who may not be inclined to post on the major jobs sites.

These sites focus on a specific geographic area, usually a city or state.

The upside on these is that the jobs should be located where you

want to work. The downside is that there may not be thousands of jobs listed.

Local and regional employers don’t always post on the major jobs sites

like Monster or Hot Jobs. Instead, they will advertise on their local employment

site to avoid being overwhelmed with applicants and, often, because they

are not interested in paying relocation costs.

Visiting a Super Site such as Monster and using the location filter, for example,

Dallas, Texas will not result in the same results you get from using TexasJobs

and using Dallas as your search criteria. Even if you are conducting a national

job search it is worth visiting the regional and local sites.

Tips for Your Job Search

Most online job seekers concentrate all their efforts on the large,

well known commercial job search sites. The smaller specialized or regional

sites are often underutilized because they are difficult to find using traditional

search engines and they don’t spend millions on advertising. Since these smaller

sites are underutilized, the sophisticated manager, professional or executive job

seeker will take full advantage of these specialized resources.

Use the Job Search Site Directory(s) to locate all of the sites that could be

useful in your job search. Concentrate your efforts on locating the sites

specific to your industry, occupation and target location. Don’t focus on

the large job sites. Investigate the jobs and resources available on the specialized sites for

immediate use or for future reference.

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Technician Etiquette

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Have you ever arrived at a job to make a repair, only to have the customer rant and rave for 15 minutes about the last technician or company that was there, and how they screwed the system all up? Who hasn’t, right?

So what do you do? LISTEN. That’s all they want, someone to listen to them. Let them vent, and get it off of their chest. When they pause for breath, they’re usually done. Don’t disagree or argue with them, or you will give them another shot of adrenaline, and off they go again. You will always lose in an argument with your customer, no matter who is right.

If they are bad-mouthing another company, don’t agree with them either. You are not there to pass judgment on anyone else. If you talk down about another company, the customer will think badly of you, too.

I know, you’re just there to get the job done, and move on to the next one. But half of your job, as a service tech, is PR work. You are the person that the customer deals with on a face-to-face basis. When he/she talks to anyone in your company on the phone, it’s your face they see in their mind.

You are not there to blame others. You are not there to accept blame for the problem, either. However, it is okay to apologize for the problem. “Wow, sir, I’m really sorry this happened to you.” You’re not admitting that it’s your fault, but you are showing that you care that this happened to him. Your next line to say is, “Let me see what I can do to take care of this for you”. Now, he feels that you are on his side, and will probably leave you alone to do what you have to do.

Don’t be afraid to admit when you’re in over your head, either. Your customer will understand and appreciate your service more if you say to him, “This is a little beyond me, but I’m calling (another tech/my supervisor/tech support), and we’ll do what we can to get this fixed”. If you don’t know the answer, at least know where to turn for it. That’s what will make you a good tech. And, don’t ever say, “That’s not my job”. You’ve just slammed a door in the customer’s face. Prepare for tongue-lashing number 2. A better answer would be: “That is usually handled by our (Billing/Service/Sales) department. Would you like me to (get them on the phone/give you the number/let them know)?”

Always be honest with your customer. It’s a lot easier to remember the truth, than it is to remember which lie you told to which customer the last time you were here.

I’ve always treated my customers as I would treat a friend. This doesn’t always work, though. Sometimes, it’s obvious that the customer doesn’t want another friend; they want a professional to take care of the repairs. You’ll just have to play it by ear.

Remember, if you don’t present yourself to the customer as a professional, they will:

  1. Wonder if you will be able to serve their needs.
  2. Tend to ignore any advice you offer.
  3. Pretty much give you a hard time, all the way around.
  4. Include your company’s name in their next tirade.

Don’t be part of the problem. Be part of the solution. The customer will remember that the next time he needs service. P.S. Probably the best thing I’ve ever heard upon arriving at a job is, “Oh, thank God you’re here. I know it’ll get fixed this time.” (Ouch. I think I just broke my arm!)

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Things You Need to Know If You Are Charged With a Crime in Texas

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Every criminal case begins with an investigation. Law enforcement officers investigate an alleged crime and make a report. This report might be very brief or it might be detailed. One officer might make one report or many officers might write many reports. Regardless, at some point these reports are assembled into a file which is sent to the District Attorney’s office possible legal action.

What Happens Now?

Someone might be arrested very quickly, but from that point on the process can be very slow. In Texas, in a misdemeanor case (one with a maximum jail sentence of one year) the District Attorney’s office decides whether or not to proceed with a criminal charge. The D.A.’s office proceeds by filing what is known as a “complaint”. In a felony case (one with a possibility of more than a year of confinement) the case must go to a “Grand Jury” which is a group of citizens who determine whether or not there is enough evidence to go forward (there almost always is).

If you are charged with a crime, realize that it is very likely that your case might drag on for a very long time. The only way for a criminal case to end quickly is with some sort of agreement. Sometimes that is with a very good deal for the defense or with the defense quickly admitting fault. Make sure you work closely with your attorney and are aware of the effects of taking or rejecting a plea offer.

Guilty, Not Guilty and Plea Bargains

At some point in a criminal case the prosecutor will make an offer to settle the case. Typically this involves some sort of a plea deal, but there are a large number of possibilities. Your attorney should be able and willing to explain the pros and cons to any offer.

At some point you will need to enter your plea. In the vast majority of cases there are three options. Guilty, Not Guilty or Nolo Contendere (No Contest). Guilty is fairly obvious, when someone pleads Guilty they are admitting that they did it. Typically, this is the result of some sort of a plea bargain.

Not Guilty means that the defendant is saying that they did not do it. In this case a jury will decide whether or not the prosecutor has proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Nolo Contendere (No Contest) means that you are not saying you did it, and you are not saying you didn’t do it… you are just saying you aren’t going to fight it. There are slight differences between pleading Guilty and Nolo Contendere, but ultimately, if you plead Nolo Contendere the judge will treat it the same as a Guilty plea.

If you don’t come to an agreement with the prosecutor, it is not unusual to wait over a year to get your trial. Ask your attorney what kind of timetable your particular court has to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

You Need to Shut Up

Sorry to be so blunt, but the phrase, “Take advantage of your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent” doesn’t seem to sink in. Even a fish wouldn’t get caught if it just kept its mouth shut.

Fight the urge to talk your way out of trouble. You won’t. If you are a suspect in a criminal case and the police want to talk to you, you can only make things worse by giving a statement.

The reason for this is that when an officer asks you to give “your side” of the story, one of only two possible situations exist. The first possibility is that the officer(s) believe that they have enough evidence to arrest you even if you don’t say anything. The second possibility is that they don’t feel as if they have enough evidence to arrest you.

If the police believe there is enough evidence to arrest you then they will bring you down to give “Your side of the story”, after which they will arrest you. The purpose of having you give “Your side of the story” before they arrest you is so you commit yourself to your story before you have a chance to think or get a lawyer. Good officers also know that the more you talk the more likely you are to say something your prosecutor can use against you.

Often, officers will ask for your statement even if they don’t feel they have enough evidence to arrest you already. They will give you every opportunity to incriminate yourself. It is amazing how many people do.

When I ask my clients, “Why did you give a statement?” the most common answer is, “I did because I didn’t want to look dishonest.” The law in Texas is clear. IF YOU ASK TO REMAIN SILENT, THE JURY WILL NOT SEE OR HEAR THE REQUEST. Also, IF YOU ASK FOR A LAWYER, THE JURY WILL NOT SEE OR HEAR THE REQUEST.

When the prosecutor looks at the video, the prosecutor will not think, “Hey! That guy’s dishonest!” The prosecutor will think, “Hmm… that’s one piece of evidence I don’t have.”

When a policeman, attorney or judge is being investigated the first thing they always do is shut up. The second thing is ask for their lawyer. There is a reason for that.

The bottom line is, you don’t know the law. I have NEVER, EVER, EVER had a client that was glad that they went to the police to “clear things up”. What people think is a “defense” or, even worse, “explanation” is often a confession. Shut up and discuss your case with your lawyer.

Don’t Give Your Permission

For anything. Don’t give permission to search your car. Don’t give permission to search your house. Don’t give permission to look in your trunk. Don’t give permission to look in your pockets.

Tell the police officers that you won’t give permission for anything without speaking with your lawyer. If you give “your consent” to something your lawyer typically can’t complain about it later. If you give your consent to search your house, for example, your lawyer can’t complain that the police had no right to be there, or that the warrant was defective, etc…

The law regarding searches and seizures is amazingly complicated. It is also changing constantly. Even I regularly have to look up the law to see how it has changed or how it could, would or should be applied in a particular situation.

If you give your consent to anything, it is usually impossible for your lawyer to challenge the validity of it later. Police officers have to make legal judgments in a snap. It is hard job and mistakes are inevitable. Just because they say that they could get a warrant (for example) doesn’t mean that they can (or will).

Officers love when suspects give consent. It usually means that they won’t have to worry about the evidence they find being thrown out of court for legal reasons.

Don’t Believe the Police

Would it surprise you to learn that the police lie? Doesn’t seem right, does it? Aren’t police supposed to be completely honest?

Lying is a completely proper investigative technique. We want our officers to be able to lie. Every undercover detective has to tell many lies and exercise deception.

Good police officers use deception in many different ways. Telling a suspect that they have DNA when they don’t in order to get a confession is very good police work. It is also good police work to make a suspect feel comfortable and believed while the suspect is giving a statement.

Officers don’t have to tell you that they are officers. A good officer would never lie in court, but a good officer will lie during an investigation in order to get information or evidence.

Deception is a valid law enforcement tool.

Take Care when Choosing a Lawyer

Facing criminal charges is a turning point in a person’s life. What happens during a person’s criminal case will affect them for the rest of their lives. Internet background searches are getting cheaper and cheaper and a person’s criminal history will determine whether or not they get a job, mortgage, etc.. Picking a defense attorney is a bigger decision than it has ever been, and it has always been huge.

There are many factors to consider when picking an attorney. Whether or not your lawyer is a former prosecutor is a huge consideration. Another important consideration is whether or not your lawyer is a trial attorney. Also, listen to your instincts when choosing a defense attorney.

It is very difficult to defend or tear into a criminal case if you don’t know how to build one. Only a prosecutor or a former prosecutor knows in detail how to build a criminal case. Only a prosecutor or a former prosecutor knows in detail what sort of evidentiary and practical problems a prosecutor faces on a regular basis.

When lawyers are accused of crimes, they usually pick a former prosecutor to defend them.

Be very aware of whether or not your attorney is an actual trial attorney. Some defense attorneys never go to trial. Most defense attorneys rarely go to trial. Only a select few defense lawyers actually try cases on a regular basis. Prosecutors know which attorneys are willing to fight them and which attorneys will eventually take whatever deal they are offered.

Make sure you know whether or not your attorney actually tries cases.

Another very important consideration is whether or not you feel comfortable with your lawyer. If you are putting your life in someone’s hands, you have the right to feel comfortable with them. Trust yourself to know which lawyer is the right fit for you. You will have to work very closely with them.

This Guide is Only the Beginning

When I meet with a new client, I typically take a long time to answer their questions. Their lives are on the line and if I was in their position, I would have a million questions about what is going on. It is your lawyer’s job to make certain you understand exactly what is going on with your criminal case.

There is no way that this guide could have answered all of your questions. Hopefully, this guide has given you something to think about regarding your criminal case. Please feel free to use this guide as a beginning point to conversations with your lawyer.

Do not base any decision you make based solely on this guide. Use your attorney to understand exactly what is going on in your particular case. Your case is unique and you need to rely on your lawyer to help you decide what is right for you, in your own defense.

Common Crimes and Penalties in Texas

In Texas, the legislature has divided up criminal offenses based on the crime’s severity. Crimes that the legislature believes to be more serious have higher minimum punishments and/or maximum punishments. In most cases, probation is possible instead of incarceration, but that will depend on the very specific factors of any particular case. These rules are full of exceptions and it is important to ask your lawyer how the particular facts of your case may affect your potential punishment. It is important that you know that information.

The least severe “crimes” are class “C” misdemeanors. They are punishable with no jail time and up to a $500 fine. The majority of traffic tickets fall into this category. Examples include Public Intoxication, Driving Under the Influence (NOT THE SAME AS DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED) and most Thefts under $50.

Class “B” misdemeanors are punishable by up to a $2000 fine and up to 6 months in jail. Driving While Intoxicated (First Offense), Most Thefts between $50 and $500, Possession of Marijuana (less than 2 ounces) and Driving While License Invalid are in this punishment range.

Class “A” misdemeanors are punishable by up to a $4000 fine and up to a year in jail. Crimes of this class include Driving While Intoxicated (Second Offense), Most thefts between $500 and $1500, Possession of Marijuana (2 to 4 ounces) and Assault causing bodily injury.

“State Jail” Felonies have a punishment range from 6 months to 2 years behind bars. It is very important to be aware that anyone doing time for a state jail felony will not get any “good time” credit. Someone sentenced to a year in state jail will spend every day for a year incarcerated. These crimes include Possession of Cocaine (less than 1 gram), Possession of Marijuana (4 ounces to 5 pounds), and Thefts between $1500 and $20,000.

Common Terms During a Criminal Case

Don’t be afraid to stop and ask your attorney what something means if you don’t understand it. Criminal lawyers and judges use some words so often that they don’t realize that not everyone speaks lawyer.

1244

When a person refers to a “1244” they are referring to a section of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure which allows for misdemeanor punishment for certain felony offenses. Typically, these offers need to be negotiated for with the D.A. “My cellmate told me to file a ‘1244’ motion”.

2 for 1, 3 for 1, etc.

This typically refers to a particular type of plea deal where certain cases are dismissed in exchange for a Guilty or No Contest plea on a case or cases. Typically, the first number refers to the number of cases pleaded guilty to and the second number is the cases being dismissed.”The Prosecutor is offering us a 3 for 2, but we can’t choose which two.”

Appeal

The formal process of getting a case overturned after conviction. “It is better to avoid an appeal than to win one.”

Burden

The legal obligation to prove a case. “In a criminal case the state has the burden to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. The defense does not have to prove anything.”

Community Supervision

The generic term for both Probation and Deferred Adjudication. “After pleading Guilty, he had to go to the Community Supervision office.”

Crawford Issue

A “Crawford Issue” refers to the Supreme Court case of Crawford v. Washington, which greatly limited the types of evidence that could come in against a criminal defendant. It typically comes up in the context of a hearsay statement, but must be objected to separately to preserve the issue for appeal. “Harry’s case would have been overturned on appeal, but his lawyer did not make a ‘Crawford’ objection.”

Deferred Adjudication

Deferred Adjudication is a special type of probation or community supervision. While on Deferred Adjudication a person will be treated exactly the same as if they were on probation. The major difference is that after completing the term of Deferred Adjudication, the charges are dismissed. Another difference is that if Deferred Adjudication is revoked, the judge has available the full range of incarceration available. “Tom was given deferred adjudication, but he messed up and the judge sentenced him to the full 20 years in prison.”

Dismissal

Formal removal of a charge pending against someone. “Jimmy was happy. He had all of his charges dismissed.”

Felony

Serious crime punishable by over a year incarceration. “Wendy had faced misdemeanor charges before, but this was her first felony.”

Hearsay

The general rule that a person can not testify to what another person said. There are many exceptions and usually hearsay can come in. An important exception applies to a criminal defendant based on the Supreme Court case, “Crawford v. Washington”. Even though Crawford is technically not a “hearsay” objection, they typically come up together.

Jail

Holding cells for less serious offenders and those awaiting trial. “Even though jail is not prison, it still isn’t fun.”

Misdemeanor

A crime where the maximum punishment is no greater than one year in jail. Misdemeanor cases are heard in County Courts. “Doug was on probation for a misdemeanor charge when he ‘picked up’ his felony.”

Motion

Method in which a defense attorney (or prosecutor) asks for something from the judge. “Janice’s lawyer filed a Motion to Suppress in order to keep out certain evidence.”

No Contest (Nolo Contendere)

A plea that states that even though you are not saying you actually did it, you are agreeing to be found Guilty by a judge. “When Pat pled No Contest, it had the same effect as a guilty plea.”

Objection

An objection is the formal means to put disagreement with what is occurring/has occurred on the record. If a defense attorney doesn not object at the right moment, the defendant often gives up his right to complain later. “The testimony against Brutus shouldn’t have come into evidence, but the defense attorney did not object.”

Plea

The declaration of a defendant (Usually Guilty, Not Guilty or No Contest) as to their guilt, or lack thereof. “Bob pled Not Guilty and has always said he didn’t do it.”

Plea Agreement or “Bargain”

Typically, an agreement between the prosecutor and defense as to the punishment a defendant will receive if he pleads Guilty or No Contest. “Shirley was going to go to trial, but when the Prosecutor offered her Deferred Adjudication, she changed her mind.”

Picked Up

Slang for having charges filed against a person. “Ernest was on parole when he picked up the Assault charge.”

Preserving Error

When a defense attorney makes a proper objection in a proper form it is said to be “Preserving Error”. “After winning his appeal, Oscar was happy his attorney preserved error at his trial.”

Prison

In Texas, where serious criminals go for years. “Robert was not surprised when the judge gave him 20 years in prison.”

Probation

A person on probation is watched very closely by the government as an alternative to incarceration. Conditions must be followed and if the judge believes a condition of probation is violated the judge can send the probationer to jail or prison. “Maxine has happy to get probation. She thought she was going to prison.”

Reduction

Type of plea deal where the defendant pleads Guilty or No Contest to a less serious charge. “Neil was not going to plea Guilty, but when the prosecutor offered a reduction from Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon to Simple Assault, he agreed to a plea bargain.”

State Jail

An intermediate correctional facility between jail and prison. “If you get sentenced to State Jail, you don’t get good time credit.”

State Jail Felony

In Texas, a felony punishable by 6 months to 2 years in a specifically designated “State Jail Facility”. Prisoners sent to State Jail Facilities receive no good time credit. “Even though Nancy was sentenced to less time than Julie, Nancy was behind bars longer, because she committed a State Jail Felony.”

Suppress

To keep evidence out of a trial. “The judge suppressed the evidence found in the trunk, because the stop was illegal.”

Verdict

Decision in a case. “It took the jury 20 hours to return with a ‘Not Guilty’ verdict.”

Voir Dire

The process of jury selection. “After the court finished the voir dire, a jury was seated.”

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Quality Education Vs Accreditation

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Education:

“The act or process of educating or being educated; the knowledge or skill obtained or developed by a learning process!”

Inquiries into furthering my educational aspirations were made to various colleges within my immediate environmental area. Several of the schools contacted required placement exams that I did not challenge, as I am adept and very capable of dealing with college examinations. The thing that got to me was the disparaging remarks from some college recruiters regarding their standards for education as opposed to another college. One of the schools that I’ve attended is a two-year degree school while the other is as well. They hold real estate in the same zip code and competed for students in the same local. They both educated local students as well as out of state and students from other countries and nations.

One school considered itself superior to the other by reason of accreditation. The school that was described as inferior did not have middle states accreditation. The school was described as below standard by the other. The so-called superior school is lead and operated by a non-HBCU affiliation while the other happened to be lead and operated by an African American staff. The self-described superior school has made plans, designs, and did bid for the take-over of the African American school. Albeit, the self-described superior school admits that it does not and will not accept credentials from the so-called inferior school. I have attended both of these institutions and received very good instruction from its teachers as well. While the lessons learned were an invaluable source of information, the education that I received from personal academic research (self-taught) has enhanced my knowledge base. Money was not a factor in my personal research, study, and/or practicum. I would add, the knowledge and information that was derived from the HBCU School proved to be equally rewarding as the other if not better!

Personally, I would say that I received more educational value at the HBCU (Historical Black Colleges and Universities) as opposed to the other collegiate institution. Albeit, they both required money.

When students visit college campuses they are encouraged to become a student at that particular school. The tour guides’ show all of the amenities and accolades that are offered in order to get you enrolled…and to gain your tuition monies. But what about the quality of education offered by the particular schools? The majority of the colleges will often quote their accreditation as compared to another school of choice. What has accreditation to do with a good and valuable quality education? Money! And the ability to make money! Education does not and should not require money! 

In 1899 Dr. Matthew Anderson, an outstanding community leader, and his wife Caroline Still Anderson founded Berean Manual and Industrial School. Dr. Anderson was a pivotal influence in the religious, business, and educational history of Philadelphia. Dr. Anderson also founded the Berean Presbyterian Church and the Berean Savings Fund Society.

Caroline Still is the daughter of the great William Still, a Philadelphia Abolitionist and member of the Underground Railroad.

Mr. William Still (a self-educated man), one of seventeen children, was born in Burlington County in 1821. His father escaped slavery from Maryland to New Jersey and later was followed by his wife and children. William Still left New Jersey for Philadelphia in 1844. Three years later he was appointed secretary of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society.

“When Brother William Still was 23, he left the family farm in New Jersey for Philadelphia, to seek his fortune. He arrived, friendless with only five dollars in his possession. Mr. Still taught himself to read and write. In fact, so well, that in three years he was able to gain and hold the position of secretary in the Pennsylvania Abolition Society. Brother Still provided the all-white society with his views on how to aid fugitive slaves. After all, he had been one himself. He was such an asset to the group, that he was elected chairman in 1851. Still held the position for the next ten years. He also became chairman of the Vigilance Committee in 1852. Still was the first black man to join the society and was able to provide first-hand experience of what it was like to be a slave.”

“Mr. Still established a profitable coal business in Philadelphia. His house was used as one of the stations on the Underground Railroad. Brother Still interviewed escaped fugitives and kept careful records of each so that their family and friends might locate them. According to his records, Still helped 649 slaves receive their freedom. The number is compounded with the number of slaves saved by Sister Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad.”

“William Still, a self-educated man, began his campaign to end racial discrimination on Philadelphia streetcars. He wrote an account of this campaign in Struggle for the Civil Rights of the Coloured People of Philadelphia in the City Railway Cars (1867). He followed this with The Underground Railroad (1872) and Voting and Laboring (1874).”

“William Still, a self-educated man, established an orphanage for the children of African-American soldiers and sailors. Other charitable work included the founding of a Mission Sabbath School and working with the Young Men’s Christian Association. William Still died in Philadelphia on 14th July, 1902.”

The Concise History of Berean Institute:

“In 1904 Berean Institute of Philadelphia Pennsylvania qualified for state aid and received a grant of $10,000. Over the years, state aid has enabled the school to expand its services and diversify its programs of study. Funds from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania now provide a significant portion of the total operating budget. Berean Institute embarked on a program of expansion under the dynamic leadership of the late Dr. William H. Gray, Jr., who utilized the support of many influential citizens of Pennsylvania including the former Governor Milton J. Shapp. Dr. Gray served as Chairman of the Berean Board of Trustees. Under Dr. Gray’s leadership Berean Manual and Industrial School began operating as Berean Institute. He also had Berean Institute’s current building constructed in 1973.”

“Mrs. Lucille P. Blondin, who served the school for forty-five years, became Berean Institute’s first President. Mrs. Blondin retired in June 1993. Dr. Norman K. Spencer was appointed to serve as the second President and Chief Executive Officer. Under Dr. Spencer’s leadership, contracted programs funded by the City and Commonwealth agencies as well as community outreach projects have been added. Hon. John Braxton, former Judge, Court of Common Pleas heads a list of distinguished Board of Trustees members.”

“Berean Institute enrolled students in full and part-time programs. Most of the students are residents of the Commonwealth and live in Philadelphia. Other students have come from Central and South America, China, India, Puerto Rico, Tonga, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Tanzania, the Dominican Republic, England, Cambodia, Viet Nam and states along the eastern seaboard of the United States.”

“A number of students come to learn a marketable skill and their Berean training fulfills their current educational aspirations. Many others regard the school as a stepping-stone to further education. Berean has many graduates who have gone on to earn four-year college degrees and others who have completed graduate studies at some of the area’s outstanding institutions of higher learning.”

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Education granted Berean Institute approval to award the Associate in Specialized Technology Degree on September 15, 1976, and the Associate in Specialized Business Degree on December 27, 1976.

Again, education is:

“The act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life; the act or process of imparting or acquiring particular knowledge or skills, as for a profession; a degree, level, or kind of schooling: a university education; .the result produced by instruction, training, or study: to show one’s education; the science or art of teaching; pedagogics.”

A definition of education: ‘The act or process of educating or being educated; the knowledge or skill obtained or developed by a learning process; a program of instruction of a specified kind or level: driver education; a college education; the field of study that is concerned with the pedagogy of teaching and learning; an instructive or enlightening experience:

Dictionary.com Unabridged

Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2009

So why does another school rate it’s accreditation over and above that of another? Money! Many colleges and universities rate its’ educational values based on the amount of money in its’ coffers as well as the amount of money that they can amass!  Another tool to increase superiority in the education business is to attain and maintain accreditation and as many acquisitions as possible.

Several opinions suggest education achieved through these venues is designed to prepare people/students for the job market as opposed to being prepared for life skills. The skills required to carry ones posterity and their descendants that follow into prosperous futures.

Is it fair to assess the stature of a collegiate institution above any other based on the amount of money that is needed to be spent or the amount of education that is achieved? Ivy league institutions turn out many students who are not prepared for the challenges of life…but many of them are rich and have spent thousands of dollars to attend those schools as well as graduating from them. On the other hand, many poor people that are lucky enough to qualify for grants, loans, scholarships, etc., are better prepared to face the challenges set before them (so it seems).

Many poor and working poor students seem to value the collegiate level education as if their life depended upon it, so they tend to work a bit harder to achieve the degree status. The document can be deemed worthless when the graduate cannot find the desired job for which he/she has studied. It is even worse when the graduated student finds that they are worse off than when they started college. They are now burdened with school loan debt plus the debts that they have had to meet before attending college. Working at McDonalds and the like, seem to be the only job that is attainable for many of them. The competition is fierce. These students are for the most part, grouped in with many applicants that are not college educated and many do not have high school diplomas as well! The knowledge attained is not considered or tested by many of these employers. Kiosk type pictures on a cash-register computer is what they have to work with. Is this not insulting to a student who has studied computer science, read and write computer programs and its languages, as well as other academics of study? 

Why is it that many non-ivy league students find themselves out of work? Why is it that many of them find that they are the first to lose their employment positions compared to their ivy-league colleagues? Why is it that many inner-city college educated graduates find themselves less likely to be selected as team-leaders than their counter part ivy-leaguers? Many employers advertise their openings with statements that don’t require a college level education. They ask that candidates simply have a high school level education. College educated candidates apply to those openings and find themselves scrutinized out of the running, i.e., background checks, credit checks, criminal histories, schooling activities, etc. Why is it college educated candidates find that not only do they have to compete with ivy-leaguers, they have to compete with high school educated folks as well. What is the sense in enduring hours, years, and other sacrifices to attain the coveted two and/or four-year college level degree when you’re not going to qualify for the job anyway? 

The notion of accreditation, money, and notable stature should not be the basis of choosing the collegiate route to education. Education should be based on ones ability to achieve, retain, and utilize education. The achievement of education begins in the home (as well as anyone who desires it). It begins with the Childs’ upbringing and the stressed importance placed by the parent and/or guardian. Should the child be highly scholastic in abilities that enable him/her to be described as intellectually talented above average, that student deserves free college education. While the rest of us who are collegiate material may well have to pay for our higher education. Mind you, my argument is based on the ability to access education without having to spend money…teachers need to earn a living, schools need to pay the costs of operating and maintaining buildings and staff. So the money has to come from somewhere. Albeit, the aforementioned disparages between different colleges should cease the practice of who’s a better institution of higher learning. Is it the responsibility of educated people to enlighten people who are not?

While many may not be aware, education is achievable without attending so-called accredited and/or less accredited schools, of higher learning…start with the libraries in your homes as well as the public facilities, news papers, magazines, shared information, and articles. Why is the education attained by others kept to a level of secrecy that one should have to pay for it?

Attained and acquired education is the responsibility of the educational pursuer…the burden is placed solely on the student not the educational pursued. I’m not advocating that one can become a doctor, architect, or a lawyer by simply reading text…there is a difference between education and training.

Education is yours to achieve and it can be free.

Acknowledgements:

Dictionary.com

Biography of William Still

Biography of the Berean Institute

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Aspects Of Fashion Industry – Choose Your Fashion Merchandising Colleges

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Fashion industry attracts many young people nowadays not only because it is a rather new profession, but also it is supposed to realize person’s likes in the field of fashion. Besides, it is quite a high-paid profession today. When a young person decides to connect his or her activity with the fashion industry nothing comes to mind except one its aspect – fashion design. Probably, few people actually know that it’s a separate field of fashion industry. In fact, there is a great number of other professions and specialties in fashion including designing clothing, fashion design, fashion marketing, fashion merchandising, etc. The latter doesn’t get worthy attention, but it is very important. Due to merchandising we have fashionable clothes in the shops and stores.

How can one know whether fashion merchandising is the field for him to start work at? Look through the following traits of a potential fashion merchandiser and if at least one point coincides with your way of life, you have all chances to make the career in the field. Do you like to spend your weekend walking through flea markets for the latest retro fashions? Or maybe your friends want to borrow your fashionable shoes and your defiant accessories? If so, maybe you should take a walk down the fashion runway. Being a student in merchandising, you will get an opportunity to learn more about fabrics and textiles. You are also going to study the cultures and subcultures that shape the way people dress.

No doubt, in order to become a professional merchandiser, a great desire and talent for this specialty is not enough. If a person wants to get into this career and have success in it one needs to get the right education and training at first. A fashion merchandising college will be of great help for you. Once you study at a fashion merchandising college you will get an opportunity to learn all the ins and outs of the fashion industry because there one can get a practical experience and build a strong foundation necessary for further working in this field.

A student has the right to choose whether to obtain a two-year Associate in Art degree or a four-year Bachelor of Science degree in the field of fashion. It depends on the kind of a fashion merchandising college you are going to visit. Besides, you are also welcome to unite this education with classes or even a major or minor in a related specialty, for instance, fashion design or fashion marketing. Students in a fashion merchandising college learn how to manufacture, buy, promote, and sell fashion items, beginning from clothing and jewelry to cosmetics and furniture. They also learn about textiles (fabrics and the fibers used to make them).

One should choose his or her future merchandising college very thoroughly. Depending upon the fashion merchandising college you are going to attend a sort of the necessary courses in your degree course will greatly vary. The most preferable courses include subjects like accounting principles, business law, salesmanship, fashion sketching, merchandising math, merchandising, publicity and promotions, fashion development, trend-spotting, and the history of fashion. You are certain to like those subjects, besides, they will give you the fundamental knowledge of the fashion industry.

Studying at a fashion merchandising college is not like studying at any other educational establishment. Many core courses in fashion merchandising are hands-on and involve a great amount of project work. Professors tend to rely more on their life experiences than on textbooks. If you are going to become a student expect to take a lot of field trips and listen to many guest speakers. You may visit a fashion magazine or large clothing company. You might even swing by a fashion show or two.

Having the profession of a fashion merchandiser is very interesting. It involves much communication with other people. When a person gets the job of a fashion merchandiser he or she is going to spend all days long visiting various fashion shows, buying clothing and designs, speaking with designers, overseeing advertising and marketing campaigns necessary for successful selling of your products, and managing the stores within your business network. You are also expected to find yourself negotiating business agreements with manufacturers and suppliers. Besides, you are going to arrange your own store displays. The scope of your activity depends on the size of the business you have as well as on the level of practical work expected of you.

Beginning the fashion merchandising career you should always improve your skills and knowledge of fashion tendencies in the world, and the most important thing you will have to do is to perfect your ability of picking out the next big thing in fashion before anyone else does. This will guarantee your success. This ability carries the foundation of your new knowledge of past fashions and trends. It includes everything you will obtain by attending a fashion merchandising college, but further you should develop this trend adding your own good taste in clothing.

Summing up, it would be necessary to say that the career of a fashion merchandiser cooperates with many different fields of the fashion industry. That’s why if you are searching for a more interesting kind of activity, something that’s more than just designing clothes or visiting fashion shows, fashion merchandising may be your piece of cake. But be very attentive while choosing an appropriate fashion merchandising college, try to use your wisdom in this uneasy task, because it may define your future profession and even you life. You should do your research before entering the fashion merchandising college, and beforehand check whether the school or program you are going to attend is properly accredited.

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Willis Newton’s First Bank Hold-Up – 1916

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In 1916, vast portions of rural Texas and Oklahoma were still very similar to wild days of the Old West. Sam Bass had been shot up and killed in a bank robbery in Round Rock, Texas, 38 years earlier. Jesse James had only been buried for 34 years. Thomas E. Ketchum (Black Jack Ketchum) had been hanged in 1901 for attempted train robbery. Robert LeRoy Parker (Butch Cassidy) and Harry Longabaugh (Sundance Kid) were reported to have been killed by the Bolivian police in 1908. Frank James had died the year before (1915), spending his last days giving 25-cent tours of the James’ farm in Missouri. The Dalton brothers were all gone except Emmett Dalton, who had survived 23 gunshot wounds in the ill-fated double bank robbery in Coffeyville, Kansas, in 1892. He served 14 years in a Kansas prison and then moved to California where he became a real estate agent, raconteur, author, and Western actor. He died in 1937 at age 66.

At the time of the bank robbery, Willis did not know that over the course of his life he would rob more banks and trains than all of his predecessors combined. He and his brothers still hold the record for the most money stolen in train robberies in U.S. history. According to Willis he was “just trying to learn the ropes” in the Boswell holdup.

It was in Durant, Oklahoma that Willis met up with a loose-knit band of bank robbers. One of them asked him if he wanted in on a daylight bank job. “Hell yeah,” Willis told them and he was introduced to two men he would work with in the Boswell robbery.

In his last interview in 1979, he described his first bank holdup.

“One was a tall, slim boy named Charlie Rankins and the other guy-I don’t recall his name but he had a face full of scars, probably smallpox or something. They had horses and we planned up the Boswell bank job; it was about 15 or 20 miles this side of Hugo.

“The bank was the last building in town as you were leaving, Nothing but brush after that. They had some trees there that you could tie up horses. Well, that’s what we done; one day we went over to Boswell and tied up the horses at the bank. Nobody knowed me there so I went on in and acted like I was getting change. Charlie and the other feller come on in as I was talking to the cashier. I threw down on him and hollered for everybody to ‘stand pat because we was robbing the bank.’

“While I kept the front, Charlie and the other guy run around behind and started sacking the money. Charlie got all the money out of the safe and the other guy cleaned out the cash drawers. It come to $10,000. We told everybody to stay put or we would blow their damn heads off. Then big as you please we untied our horses and slowly trotted off into the brush. Nobody come out of the bank when we looked back.

“We headed across the South Boggy River and we followed the river to just outside of Hugo where we split up the money. I give them my horse and saddle and said, ‘You fellows go on and I’m going into Hugo tonight and catch me a train out of here.’ I figured they wasn’t looking for no one to be catching a train, they was looking for three men on horseback. I knew there was a passenger train that left there sometime after 10 o’clock, so I stayed out there in the brush ’til it got dark.

“They took all the hard money (silver) and give me green money (cash) for mine, so I put it around my waist and folded some in my pocket. When I put my coat on you couldn’t tell I had it in my pockets or anything. Just before 10 o’clock come I walked in there and bought me a ticket to Ardmore, slick as you please. It was clear sailing after I got to Ardmore.”

About a month after the Boswell robbery, Charlie Ranking was arrested when they found a quantity of silver dollars in paper rolls bearing the bank’s name. When Willis learned that his friend was in jail he devised a plan to get inside the jail and see if he needed help. He knew a man in Hugo who had been a stool pigeon in prison. Visiting with the man, he boasted that there seemed to be a number of easy banks in the area that “needed to be knocked over.”

The man immediately went to the police and reported his conversation with Willis.

“When I went down to the depot that night to catch a train, the law was laying for me. They grabbed me and put me in jail, which was just what I wanted. So then I got to talk to Charlie and I said, ‘You want me to help you? I can come in and turn you out if you want me to.’

“No, hell,’ he said. ‘I don’t think they’ve got much on me, not enough to put me in the penitentiary. They’ll be setting my bond in three weeks.’

“They kept me jailed for three or four days and just wouldn’t turn me loose. They could keep you in jail just as long as they wanted to, in them days. Finally, I had to go get a lawyer and paid them $250 to get out of jail. Later on, I found out they sent Charlie to the penitentiary at McAlester for 25 years. I never did see him again.

“My cut from the robbery was right around $4,000, but I didn’t have it on me when I came back to Hugo. I had come down to San Antonio and put six or seven hundred in the bank and I give them lawyers a check on the San Antonio bank to get me out. Well, about two months after that I went down to San Antonio to draw the rest of my money out and they had the law waiting for me. I had wrote a check to get my money and this teller says, ‘Well, wait here a minute.’ He took it and went back there and I seen him talking to somebody and I knowed they were going to arrest me. So I just walked off and went down to Uvalde and give a little lawyer a check for all of my money, and he went up there the next day and got it. I never did know what they wanted to arrest me for, but that’s what they was fixing to do. They arrested you for nothing in them days. They would do anything they wanted to you.

“The bank in Boswell was the very first daylight job I ever done for money. But I didn’t hesitate. Hell, if you hesitate you’re liable to get in trouble. You go to do anything like that, you better do it. I always told them, ‘Let’s go boys,’ and I took the lead and we never stopped for nothing. The bank robbery at Winters, Texas, with Frank, the old bank robber, was my first night job. We never got but $3,500 in Liberty bonds from there, though, and they killed that one old boy there alongside the car. So I never got nothing out of that. He had the bonds in his hip pocket, the one who got killed.”

Willis’ version of his first bank hold up has a reference to a botched night time robbery in Winters, Texas, where he and three others broke into the bank at midnight. Frank, a friend of his, had been told that the Winters bank had a vault that they could blow with nitroglycerine. His source was a Banker’s Association detective named Boyd, who wanted a cut of the loot. As it turned out after they had blown the vault door, the money was stored in a round safe that they could not open. After ransacking the vault they finally left with $3,500 in Liberty bonds.

Heading back to Abilene, a third man named Al was driving an early model Hudson when the car got stuck in sand and burned out the clutch near Buffalo Gap, Texas. They abandoned the car and hid out in the hills until the next night when they walked into Buffalo Gap. Just as they neared the town, a car full of lawmen passed by them on the road. When the car stopped and turned around Willis and his friend, Slim Edgarton, ran for the brush while Frank and Al stood their ground shooting at the lawmen in the car. After a volley of shots Al took a slug in the chest and went down. Frank then took off in a different direction into the brush. It was the man named Al that had been carrying the bonds when he was shot and killed by the posse.

Willis managed to escape but was later caught with his friend Red, near Sweetwater. They were jailed in Ballinger with Slim Edgarton, who had been caught earlier. After bribing the sheriff’s wife, the trio managed to break out of the jail in the middle of the night and get away.

Repeating a pattern he would use throughout his career, Willis returned to San Antonio after the Boswell job and then headed for the family place in Uvalde. In 1916 he was still “learning the ropes” of the outlaw life while, with exception of his brothers Jess and “Doc”, the rest of the family was engaged in honest labor-working as ranch hands or hard scrabble sharecroppers, known in West Texas as “cyclone farmers.”

Later, Willis and some of brothers would go on to form the Newton Gang that robbed over 80 banks in Texas, the Midwest, and Canada during the early 1920s.

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Weight Loss Power by Information – An Analogy With Marie Antoinette

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Proud as she was, Marie Antoinette wasn’t in command of her destiny. She was married to the dauphine of France at the ripe age of fourteen, and she had no clue of the job she was necessary to play. She was given the title of queen of France, but in Versailles, it had been a title we all must realize wasn’t a choice. Her trail was selected by many and she had a genuine actress’s role to play.

She was feted with continual attention from her court, new family, and the French fellow citizens and women.

She was studied when she woke, dressed, ate breakfast, walked, met court, and even while she slept. She was even needed to be observable to all of the court enrolled few, during the arrival of her youngsters. This was a peculiar and terribly weird situation, where those that were desiring from their royal leaders, and those that were leading where not in control over the show. It’s not surprising, after the American revolution, the French Revolution took place, and the Royals was snuffed out for its place in society. Marie wasn’t one to whine, and she went about her role as pleasantly as she could.

She used to be a kid when she was removed from her home in Austria, and died as a young girl in the current’s standards. She was somebody that many didn’t understand during her day. You may have a standard train of thought while you try to tackle your weight loss battle. Today, we are threatened by both sides, when we attempt a weight loss program, the food firms and those we closely know and love. It’s a hard thing to claim to your buddies you are trying another weight loss program, and you hope that it’ll work better this time. Just like Marie, you will have fought this battle from your early adult days, and you’re still fighting it. You may feel you haven’t had much support from your court of mates, or the corporations that supply your food. You follow all of the rules that you believe that you should be following, and you have got many times, only had total failure.

How on earth are you able to win, when you’re in the middle of a swirl of most unlikely info that brings you only further along to more weight gain, disappointment, and feeling down and undeserving? You’ve been given to understand entire grains are excellent for you. You’ve been told that fat free is the way to go. And, BTW, eat only protein for great weight management results. You’ve got the power to understand the facts. Weight loss isn’t about the data on telly, the news, or perhaps in numerous so called weight management magazines. There’s only a way to lose pounds, stop the cycle, and correct the bad roller coaster your body is on. Learn the right way to eat, and you’ll be before all of the supposed reported truths. Find out what the food corporations do not want you to understand. It is not possible for them to make the great profits they’re making now, with the food you ought to be eating. If the reality is open to you, take the likelihood, and find out how to beat the system. If Marie Antoinette had the power to beat her political situation, she’d have. She used to be a demoted to living a life she had no control of. Although she used to be a queen, she hadn’t one opportunity to beat the system that ultimately brought her to her dying. You are way more strong than even the last queen of France-you have the power of preference. You can opt to learn the unvarnished reality of what food will be your strength, your livelihood, and your life nourishment for your future.

Don’t let the powers of many overtake your life-you are stronger than them.

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The Successful Domestication of Man

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A dog is usually happy with life and loyal to his or her Master, not even seeming to recognize their lack of freedom. The dog has been bred to serve man for thousands of years, and the Master takes the dog for granted. The dog expects the Master is watching, waiting to give praise, orders, or reprimand, and the dog is grateful. The dog doesn’t know how to survive in Mans’ world without him, for Man knows what’s best, and he provides purpose. The Master is accepted with adoration, respect, and appreciation. For the dog the Master gives meaning to life, and for the dog ignorance is truly bliss.

What enslaves Humanity? What can people not live without? How can we be free? These questions are very important but for many the answers are not so simple.

“Sure must be a great consolation to the poor people who lost their stock in the late crash to know that it has fallen in the hands of Mr. Rockefeller, who will take care of it and see it has a good home and never be allowed to wander around unprotected again. There is one rule that works in every calamity. Be it pestilence, war, or famine, the rich get richer and poor get poorer. The poor even help arrange it.”

By Will Rogers

Diary of America

If the poor can be guided in a particular direction, they can be trained to unknowingly provide the means of making the rich richer, and even be thankful for this. There was an evangelical preacher whose soul message was “money is good and God intended for all Christians to be rich”, this was the message in a nut shell. The preacher paced himself when delivering his message, and he even had intense music being played with which his preaching seemed to keep rhythm. By the end of the message he seemed to have everyone there convinced that the more money they brought up to the stage for him and his ministry the more money God would bless them with for giving out of the goodness of their hearts. People rushed to the stage and soon there were piles of cash at the preachers’ feet. The whole process seemed so simple… How much more is this simple method applied to the masses on a far greater scale? A society full of sheep naturally entices the wolves. What this preacher did is being done by those who have been wealthy for generations. There are those who know the game quite well, and they have even made the rules for how the game is played. Those who do not know the rules of the game may live a happy life spent with family and friends. They openly accept the label of being middle class or blue collared as a stamp of honor, and they live faithful lives at times being thankful for what they do have.

“People will try to convince you of their beliefs and convictions because it reinforces their beliefs and convictions. If a belief and conviction needs something to reinforce it, then it can’t stand on its own. Choose to remove erroneous beliefs and temper your convictions with facts and NOT supposition. Then, and only then, will you be able to understand Divine truth.”

Professor Dean A. Banks

Some of the elite in society will try to convince us of certain beliefs and convictions which they do not believe in. They will do this so as to reinforce their agenda. If they can persuade you into seeing things in the way they want you to, then you can be led by them willingly and unknowingly. By habit, or ritual people are more likely to listen to what the wealthy have to say before they’ll listen to someone who is poor or middle class; because of this mindset certain beliefs are allowed to form which shouldn’t be able to stand. The fact that we cannot survive right now and provide for a family without oil, electricity, and plenty of money is the evidence in how the wealthy control the masses. “If we choose to remove erroneous beliefs and temper our convictions with facts and not supposition, then, and only then, will we be able to understand Divine truth.”

To solve any problem or to discover the cause, the proven method is to go to the foundation of the quandary. What commodity do people feel they need much of today, which in reality we shouldn’t need at all? Let’s try looking back at the origin of the black gold rush, or more so those who started the significant expansion of the oil industry. The world’s first billionaire was John Davison Rockefeller, America’s most generous philanthropist. Rockefeller’s wealth was based largely on the near global control of oil refining. It’s documented and well known how he also had large interests in other monopolies. As the economist Anthony Sutton notes, Rockefeller “controlled the copper trust, the smelters trust and the gigantic tobacco trust, in addition to having influence in some Morgan properties such as the U.S. Steel Corporation as well as in hundreds of smaller industrial trusts, public service operations, railroads and banking institutions. National City Bank was the largest of the banks influenced by Standard Oil-Rockefeller, but financial control extended to the U.S. Trust Co. and Hanover National Bank [and] major life insurance companies – Equitable Life and Mutual of New York” (Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution, 1981). Johns’ descendents are said to have been hardworking German immigrants, and his father, William Avery Rockefeller, was a travelling salesman, rumored to have excelled as a con man. He sold bogus products to the sick and desperate, being able to convince many to buy expensive remedies that were either useless or downright dangerous. “He would be gone for months and come back with a great roll of money…. He would go to small towns advertising himself as ‘The Celebrated Dr. Levingston.’ William announced he could cure anything, but made a specialty of cancer and kidney troubles.” (MacDonald, “Double Life,” New York World, February 2, 1908). John Rockefeller, learned all he needed to from his father, and he dropped out of high school in 1855 to take a business course. John was motivated and soon he was ready to take on the world.

John watched the trends, recognizing the predictability and gullibility of humanity. He was inspired by what he saw, and his vision was forming; a vast vision which seemed to have no limit. The Civil War compelled him into the oil business in 1863. John along with others from wealthy families, like J.P. Morgan- paid $300 to avoid conscription; a small price to pay, while thousands less fortunate died in the war. (Of course this is one of the rules to the game though; the wealthy make wars, or support them, and they benefit financially while the young and poor die fighting for what they view as a just cause. Like a loyal servant to his or her Master, many brave people die for a lie.) John sold whiskey at inflated rates to Federal soldiers during the onset of the war. He invested his profits into oil refineries next. The South was supplying turpentine to the North for camphene-fueled lights. When the war cut off the North’s access to this fuel, kerosene from Pennsylvania oil quickly took over as the lamp fuel of choice and stimulated Johns’ oil business… John was young, but he knew the rules of the game, he was able to control people and situations to his advantage.

John and a few partners organized The Standard Oil Company in 1870, with capital of $1 million dollars. This company was built through him ‘buying out competitors, price cutting and controlling secondary businesses related to pipelines, trains, oil terminals and barrel making.’ By 1880, his monopoly controlled the refining of 95% of America’s oil. In a few years 70% of Standard Oil’s sales were overseas, largely to northern Europe and Russia. The properties were merged into the Standard Oil Trust with an initial capitalization of $70 million, and by 1900 Rockefeller controlled about two-thirds of the entire world’s oil supply. John was also a director of the U.S. Steel Corp when it formed in 1901. John used a commodity like oil to conquer the world; he helped make dead dinosaur ooze into a valued product which people would fight for and invest millions into.

Many people looked up to John Rockefeller, many admired him and saw him as a generous person, and many felt they needed him in their lives. He knew what the world needed, or so this is what many believed. He cared for the betterment of humanity, and was one of the most generous philanthropists the world has known. He provided thousands with jobs, eventually millions, and he provided oil to all who needed this. Eventually people were more dependent on oil than any other commodity. After a few generations the habit was ingrained into humanity, almost to the point where one might say they seemed to need oil, (and what oil provided), as much as one needed water.

Was in 1911, the U.S. Supreme Court had Rockefellers’ monopoly dissolved into about three dozen companies. Many of these oil companies are household names today like Chevron (Standard Oil California), Amoco (Standard Oil Indiana), Mobil (Standard Oil New Jersey) and Exxon, (Standard Oil New Jersey). Rockefeller still profited from this change and the loss of his monopoly, and his decedents still profit today. Today oil is the number one source of profit for the most wealthy and elite in society. Even though we have the technological means of running vehicles and other machines on something other than fossil fuel we do not. In the year 2012 humans still rely on oil, but the only reason this is still the case is because the rich are not ready for change, not as long as they still profit.

People are bred to feed the greed of a select few; we were domesticated thousands of years ago. Before the rise of the Rockefeller dynasty and the prevailing commodity of oil there were others like John Rockefeller, those who used the rules of the game to change the way the masses reasoned. They planted the seeds of persuasion, which grew from generation to generation. The game had been used before with bronze, silver, gold, and other precious stones and minerals, where even the Ages of man were defined by the reining commodity of the time. The idea of these commodities being of immense value and greatly desired was a seed planted by the Masters, something the wolves used to enslave humanity.

The wild is free, and the wild is balanced. Back in the days when we were walking alongside other humanoids like Neanderthal and Homo-Erectus, we were aggressive creatures, but physically and intellectually superior to modern day humans. Although we were struggling to survive in a harsh environment and times could be hard, we were free… Today we’re more like dogs.

The Dog is a different creature today than his ancestors were over forty thousand years ago. You can see this by looking at the modern Gray Wolf, for based on genetic evidence this is the animal the dog once was. When the wolf was domesticated quite a few physical or morphological changes occurred. The most significant changes happened within only several generations; changes in coat coloration and markings, reduction in overall size, a shorter jaw initially with crowding of the teeth and the shrinking in size of the teeth; a reduction in brain size resulting in changes to cranial capacity (affecting the areas of the brain relating to alertness and sensory processing. The wolf, once becoming a tamed dog, had lost the skills necessary for survival in the wild).

A recent experiment done by the Russian Scientist Dmitry Belyaev has proven just how quickly an animal can evolve under the right circumstances. His research and methods have helped us better understand the domestication of our most loyal servant, the dog. Dmitry wanted to reenact how domestication may have occurred and he did this through the “farm fox” experiment. Wild silver foxes were selectively bred for forty years and the result was more dog-like animals that were friendly towards humans. The domestic elite foxes actually sought out human attention and indulged in human affection after only a human generation. The most fascinating observation by Dmitry Belyaev was the change in physical traits which paralleled the selection for tameness, even though the physical traits were not originally selected for. The once wild silver foxes were giving birth to foxes with floppy ears, spotted or black-and-white coats, tails that curled, and even the barking vocalization and earlier sexual maturity was noticeable; the silver fox was literally turning into a dog.

It was reported by those involved in the experiment, “On average, the domestic foxes respond to sounds two days earlier and open their eyes one day earlier than their non-domesticated cousins. More striking is that their socialization period has greatly increased. Instead of developing a fear response at 6 weeks of age, the domesticated foxes don’t show it until 9 weeks of age or later. The whimpering and tail wagging is a holdover from puppyhood, as are the foreshortened face and muzzle. Even the new coat colors can be explained by the altered timing of development. One researcher found that the migration of certain malanocytes (which determine color) was delayed, resulting in a black and white ‘star’ pattern.” The wild was bred out of the silver fox in such a short time, and the physical changes show a far more vulnerable looking creature; an animal dependent on humanity.

The Cro-Magnon man was different than the modern day man, he even looked different, and like the farm fox in the experiment Man started out wild and free. Cro-Magnon had more meat on his bones; he had broader shoulders and massive muscles. As a general rule science says to control massive muscle blocks, the more brain you need. This may also be partially why the burly Neanderthal had larger brains than modern day Homo-Sapiens. Twenty thousand to thirty thousand years ago the Homo-Sapiens with the biggest brains lived; with his broad chest, larger teeth and strong jaws, Cro-Magnon Man was also brilliant. “Recent studies of human fossils suggest the brain shrank more quickly than the body in near-modern times.” Scientists discovered that as the human population rose and societies became more complex the brain started to shrink. When humans didn’t have to be as smart to stay alive and they could depend on others supplies to provide for them; their intelligence decreased. The Cro-Magnon man became the Homo-Sapiens we are today because we’ve domesticated ourselves, according to Richard Wrangham, a primatologist at Harvard University. He notes on how every domesticated animal has lost about ten to fifteen percent of brain volume when compared with their wild progenitors. Wrangham also points out the physical changes. Homo-Sapiens today have slighter builds than the Cro-Magnon, as well as smaller teeth, and smoother faces; equivalent of the floppy ears and curled tails on the transformed foxes or gray wolves. The humans who live today have had much of the aggression from the wild bred out of them, leaving us more susceptible to others ruling over us. Today the modern man depends on the wealthier, thus supposed more intelligent individuals to rule over us, instead of the larger and strongest of humans like in ancient times. Ironically the bigger and stronger Cro-Magnon was probably more intelligent than those we consider wise today. What many people today don’t realize though is that the wealthiest people today are not always the more intelligent; they simply follow the simple rules to a game which has been passed down to them by their wealthy elders. They rely on the fact that ultimately people today are stupid, and usually not too aggressive to be deemed as threatening.

“The story written in our bones is that we look more and more peaceful over the last 50,000 years,” Wrangham says. And that is not all. If he is correct, domestication has also transformed our cognitive style. His hunch is based on studies-many done by his former graduate student Brian Hare-“comparing domestic animals with their wild relatives.”

The wealthy elite may have been using the rules to the game passed down for generations but they are not of superior intellect and the evidence is there to be seen. Just looking at our present economy and our nations rising deficit, this shows how those who rule over the masses have a flawed system in place. Those of elite status who ruled over humanity in Roman times they also showed how their system was flawed, as the world fell into the Dark Ages. History is about to repeat herself once again.

In Utah the NSA (National Security Agency) is constructing a data center unlike any other. The purpose is “to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications sent down through satellites and through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks. The heavily fortified $2 billion center is scheduled to be running in September 2013.” Flowing through its servers and routers will be all forms of communication, including “the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails-parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other personal information from billions will be stored in these near-bottomless databases.”

“In the process-and for the first time since Watergate and the other scandals of the Nixon administration-the NSA has turned its surveillance apparatus on the US and its citizens. It has established listening posts throughout the nation to collect and look through billions of email messages and phone calls, whether they originate within the country or overseas. It has created a supercomputer of almost unimaginable speed to look for patterns and unscramble codes. Finally, the agency has begun building a place to store all the trillions of words and thoughts and whispers captured in its electronic net.” James Bamford (Wired magazine)

Why do we allow this invasion of our privacy? This leach from the NSA is obviously destined to drain what’s left of our presumed freedom in America. We are living in a time where humanity accepts such an obvious invasion of privacy and a precursor to the complete visual loss of our freedom. We allow this because the data center is supposed to protect us from future cyber attacks and other terrorist threats. “Some of the elite in society will try to convince us of certain beliefs and convictions… They will do this so as to reinforce their agenda.” They feel no guilt in this; simply survival of the fittest. Their agenda is to stay in power and keep the masses feeding the rich. When people live in fear and they grow in ignorance they will desperately trust in those who have power over them. Much of the time we depend on the knowledge of others and their technology for survival in this day, instead of thinking for ourselves. So we’ll accept the invasion of privacy, and we will trust those over us, because after all we’re not really free today. Ultimately we’ll place our trust in the wealthy elite, even though we’ll gripe and complain we will depend on our Masters. We will turn to those whom are supposed to have our best interest in mind, because we’ve been bred to. How many times are we going to insanely stand by as the wealthy elite claim the foul smelling bitter fluid flowing over us is rain? The answer is, time and time again, even till the last of our freedom is taken away.

Some people have the dream of being like the wealthy elite, they dream of being higher on the food chain. So many people go into credit debt, and lose thousands while pretending to be more like the Masters they so admire. People have become creatures of habit and the way we have been living for several generations has proven to be self destructive. Eventually even the wealthy elite will not benefit any longer from the ignorance of man. Thousands die in wars fought in vain, wars which last for years, and only the wealthy truly benefit. People still live for the prearranged dream though, believing wealth buys happiness and peace of mind. They’re unable to recognize how all of the material possessions, their dependence on the prized commodity of oil, and the wasted desperate desire of these keeps humanity enslaved.

A man or woman is usually happy with life and loyal to their Master, not even seeming to recognize their lack of freedom. They’ve been bred to serve a select few over them. They help the Master grow in wealth, being satisfied with the scraps thrown to them from the feast. Humanity expects the Master is watching, waiting to give praise, orders, or reprimand, and we are grateful. We don’t know how to survive in the present world without the wealthy elite. We need others in power over us. We accept the Master with adoration, respect, and appreciation. For the dog the Master gives meaning to life, and for the dog ignorance is truly bliss.

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American Confidence in Small Business

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So little in public life is really based on fact. We like facts, but the truth is that we, as a people and as a nation, tend to run on feelings-specifically confidence. Confidence controls the markets, influences political decisions, informs questions about faith and controls many of our purchase choices. It should, therefore, be no surprise that confidence is one of the major metrics in determining public opinion. How do you feel about the Congress? Do you trust the Military? What are your feelings about small business? How about your church? We have the answers. The results are in from the 2008 Gallup Annual Update on Confidence in Institutions and they are very interesting.

The Numbers Speak, No Matter What The Other Side Says

There has been a great deal of protest and complaint over the war, and no small amount of that has been directed at the officers and troops we have in Iraq. Moveon.org, for example, with its nefarious “General Betray-us” ad comes to mind at once. Yet, according to Gallop, the most trusted institution in the United States today is the U.S. Military with 45% of respondents saying they have a “great deal” of confidence and another 26% saying that they have “quite a lot” of confidence. Now, who do you think comes in second?

The President? Not even close. Bush is actually in the middle of the pack with 13% in each rating category. He ranks just below banks (11% and 21%) and right above television news (11% and 13%). How about the Congress? With a mere 6% in each rating category, our loudest branch of government sits dead last in the rankings, right behind health maintenance organizations, which squeak ahead of Ried and Pelosi’s Flying Circus with 6% and 7% respectively. There is always the Supreme Court, of course, the branch that’s supposed to keep the other two from running amok. While they do better than the other two at 13% and 19%, it is hardly a stellar performance. Still, it is better than the criminal justice system as a whole, which lurks down in Congress’ neighborhood with ratings of 8% and 12%. This is right below organized labor (10% and 10%) and right above big business (7% and 13%).

That is right, big business-the big box retailers, the major corporations, the multinational conglomerates-all rank lower when it comes to instilling confidence in the American people than organized labor and a criminal justice system that critics say is cumbersome, racist and rarely, if ever, truly just. The only ones lower on the list are HMOs and Congress!

Small Business On The List

The second rank in Gallop’s Annual Update on Confidence in Institutions is held by-you guessed it-small business. According to the pollsters:

Americans express the most confidence in the military, as they have each year since 1988 (with the exception of 1997, when small business edged it out). Small business ranks second in the current poll, just ahead of the police. These are the only three institutions that for whom a majority of Americans express a high degree of confidence.

What does that say to you, that the only institutions that instill a high degree of confidence are the military, small business and the police? To me, it is a signal that these three institutions are the only ones that provide any real security to Americans. They beat out religion (26% and 22%), the Public Schools (16% and 17%) and everything else. It is easy to understand the military and the police being at the top, but why small business?

Small business is there because it provides stability to neighborhoods and is the anchor of small towns everywhere. Small business is built on relationships between neighbors rather than the much more distant and certainly less satisfying customer-vendor relationship one has with a Best Buy or a Wal-Mart. Small Businesses are where you can get help when you need it, knowledgeable sales people and the attention of the business owner-frequently all wrapped up in the same person. More than that, it is small business that contributes to the community it serves through the jobs it creates, the community participation it offers and the taxes it pays.

Contrast that with the big box retailers and others that are putting so many small businesses out of business. They come into an area offering jobs-nothing wrong with that-but with such low wages and impossibly expensive health benefits that their employees often need public assistance just to make it. Do these companies pay taxes that would then go to support that public assistance? Not usually. In fact, it is more usual for them to get massive tax breaks and even subsidies to induce them to set-up shop. What’s worse is that once these entities are established, they undercut local small businesses and put them out of business while pulling money out of the local economy and sending it to other places in the country or even overseas.

The Bottom Line

At the beginning of the 18th century, that process of aggressively pulling wealth from one place or country for the benefit of another was called Mercantilism. This practice of nationalistic “beggar thy neighbor” was considered a form of economic warfare between nations. Now, with the big-box retailers shuttering so many small local businesses and turning once-thriving downtowns across the country into ghost towns, we are doing it to ourselves and have only ourselves to blame.

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Human Resource Information System – HRIS

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Human Resource Information Systems

The purpose of this paper is to identify other companies who have faced similar human resources issues in regards to information technology. Through benchmarking different companies we can learn how other companies have handled certain human resources issues related to information technology, information systems, new technology, and data security. An overall analysis has been completed using research on IBM Europe, Ameriprise Financial, Terasen Pipelines, Shaw’s Supermarkets, CS Stars LLC, IBM, WORKSource Inc., and Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. This paper also includes eight synopses of companies facing similar issue to those in the reading.

New Technology

With the changing world and constant new technology that is available, managers need to be aware of the technology that will increase effectiveness in their company. Human resource information systems (HRIS) have increasingly transformed since it was first introduced at General Electric in the 1950s. HRIS has gone from a basic process to convert manual information keeping systems into computerized systems, to the HRIS systems that are used today. Human resource professionals began to see the possibility of new applications for the computer. The idea was to integrate many of the different human resource functions. The result was the third generation of the computerized HRIS, a feature-rich, broad-based, self-contained HRIS. The third generation took systems far beyond being mere data repositories and created tools with which human resource professionals could do much more (Byars, 2004).

Many companies have seen a need to transform the way Human Resource operations are performed in order to keep up with new technology and increasing numbers of employees. Terasen Pipelines moved its headquarters from Vancouver to Calgary to be closer to the oil and realized a major growth in employees. In the past recording keeping was done on paper and with spreadsheets. Mangers at Terasen realized that there was a need to change to a more computerized system and looked into different HRIS vendors. By making the move to a HRIS system, Terasen is able to keep more accurate records as well as better prepare for future growth. Another company that saw the benefits of keeping up with new technology is WORKSource Inc. To meet the challenge of handling 100 new employees, WORKSource Inc. acquired Web-based technology programs from GHG Corp. like electronic pay stub, electronic timesheet software, time-off system, and human resource information system (“Tips,” 2006). By adapting these new programs, WORKSource was able to reduce waste and cost.

The Internet is an increasingly popular way to recruit applicants, research technologies and perform other essential functions in business. Delivering human resource services online (eHR) supports more efficient collection, storage, distribution, and exchange of data (Friesen, 2003). An intranet is a type of network used by companies to share information to people within the organization. An intranet connects people to people and people to information and knowledge within the organization; it serves as an “information hub” for the entire organization. Most organizations set up intranets primarily for employees, but they can extend to business partners and even customers with appropriate security clearance (Byars & Rue, 2004).

Applications of HRIS

The efficiency of HRIS, the systems are able to produce more effective and faster outcomes than can be done on paper. Some of the many applications of HRIS are: Clerical applications, applicant search expenditures, risk management, training management, training experiences, financial planning, turnover analysis, succession planning, flexible-benefits administration, compliance with government regulations, attendance reporting and analysis, human resource planning, accident reporting and prevention and strategic planning. With the many different applications of HRIS, it is difficult to understand how the programs benefit companies without looking at companies that have already benefited from such programs.

One such company is IBM. IBM has a paperless online enrollment plan for all of its employees. Not only has the online enrollment saved the company 1.2 million per year on printing and mailing costs, the employees enjoy working with the online plan. “Since we began offering online enrollment, we’ve learned that employees want web access,” Donnelly [Senior Communications Specialist] says, so they can log on at home rather than through the company intranet. So the company has been working to put in place a web-based enrollment system that employees and retirees can access from anywhere (Huering, 2003). By utilizing the flexible-benefits application HRIS has to offer, IBM was able to cut costs and give employees the freedom to discover their benefits on their own time and pace.

Another company that has taken advantage of HRIS applications is Shaw’s Supermarkets. In order for Shaw’s to better manage its workforce, the company decided it was time to centralize the HR operations. After looking at different options, Shaw’s decided to implement an Employee Self Service (ESS) system. The use of self-service applications creates a positive situation for HR. ESS gives HR more time to focus on strategic issues, such as workforce management, succession planning, and compensation management, while at the same time improving service to employees and managers, and ensuring that their data is accurate. With this solution, employees have online access to forms, training material, benefits information and other payroll related information (Koven, 2002). By giving employees access to their personal information and the ability to update or change their information as needed, HR was given more time to focus on other issues. Understanding the different applications HRIS has to offer will give companies the chance to increase employee efficiency and reduce costs.

Measuring the Effectiveness of HRIS

The evaluation should determine whether or not the HRIS has performed up to its expectations and if the HRIS is being used to its full advantage (Byars & Rue, 2004). One of the most significant challenges faced by public personnel executives today is measuring the performance of their human resources information system (HRIS) In order to justify the value-added contribution of the HRIS to accomplishing the organization’s mission (Hagood & Friedman, 2002). Implementing an HRIS program may seem a necessary stem for a company, but unless it will be an effective tool for HR operations, it will not help increase efficiency and may hinder it instead.

One company that implemented a HRIS system is Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. (TAMS). TAMS put all employee benefits information online and created an open enrollment option when TAMS changed healthcare providers. Almost immediately upon rolling out the UltiPro portal [new HRIS technology] to employees, TAMS began seeing improvements, with an estimated 70% increase in open enrollment efficiency (Wojcik, 2004). By determining the efficiency of the new program, TAMS was able to realize the benefits of the new HRIS system.

Security of HRIS

The privacy of employee information has become a major issue in recent years. With identity theft becoming a common problem, employees are becoming more sensitive about who sees their personal information, and the security it is kept in. By making sure employee information that is kept in the HRIS is relevant to the company and making sure there is limited access (password protection) to such information, companies can make its employees more secure with the safety of their information. Whether electronic or paper, employee files deserve to be treated with great care. Establishing security and end-user privileges calls for a balance of incorporating, HR policy, system knowledge and day-to-day operations (O’Connell, 1994).

One company that faced a major security issue was CS Stars, LLC. CS Stars lost track of one of its computers that contained personal information that included names, addresses and social security numbers of workers compensation benefits. The bigger problem was that CS Stars failed to notify the affected consumers and employees about the missing computer. Though the computer was retrieved and no information seemed to have been harmed, many employees lost their sense of security with the company. New York’s Information Security Breach and Notification Law, effective in December 2005, requires businesses that maintain computerized data which includes private information to notify the owner of the information of any breach of the security of the system immediately following discovery, if the private information was, or is reasonably believed to have been, acquired by a person without valid authorization (Cadrain, 2007).

Another company that experienced a breach in security is Ameriprise Financial. In late 2005, a computer that contained personal information on clients and employees was stolen. Because many of the employees at Ameriprise take their computers between work and home, the company determined there was a need to put more security into those computers. Ameriprise made sure all employees had the new security suite installed on their computers. By responding quickly to the need for more security, Ameriprise made sure all information is being kept secure. Making sure employees information is kept as secure as possible there will be more trust in the company and the HR employees working with that information.

Conclusion

IBM, Terasen Pipeline, CS Stars LCC, and Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. are good examples of companies facing issues similar to human resources information technology and human resources information systems. All of these companies know the importance of new technology, human resources information systems, and data security. The remainder of this paper provides synopses of more companies facing human resources issues, how the company responded to the issues, and the outcomes of the company’s responses.

Companies Benchmarked

IBM Europe

The Situation:

IBM is a global organization offering research, software, hardware, IT consulting, business and management consulting, ring and financing. It employs around 340,000 people, speaking 165 languages across 75 countries, and serving clients in 174 countries. In January 2007, IBM established a separate “new media” function within its corporate communication department. IBM main goal is to educate, support, and promote programs that utilize social media. IBM Europe decided to expand internal communication by blogging guidelines. The recognition was that blogging was already happening among IBMers, just in an unregulated way. In a similar way, institutionalizing a function to deal specifically with new media is not a corporate move, or establishing from scratch. It’s a response to the issues already emerging in the company. Now that those technologies are here, people are using them, they’re growing and there here to stay-we’re just going to put some structure around them so that we can try to optimize their use.” The users decide what technologies they want to use and how they want to use them. That main idea is that IBM understands that they must remember to respect the fact that social media are social. IBM had the need to connect its 340,000 global employees more effectively.

The Response:

IBM’s intent around social media has now been officially formalized. From January 22 2007, the company established a separate “new media” function within its corporate communication department. “Its remit: To act as expert consultants inside and outside IBM on issues relating to blogs, wikis, RSS and other social media applications. The main idea is to educate, support and promote programs that utilize these tools. IBM has a history of being a t the forefront of technology based corporate communication. From the multimedia brainstorming “WorldJam” that made news headlines back in 2001 in which 50,000 employees worldwide joined a real time, online idea-sharing session about the company’s direction. IMB has always prepared itself to use breakthrough technologies to establish a two-way dialogue with its employees. The need for social media was necessary and could no longer wait.

The Outcome:

In the last few years IBM has been recognized as being the vanguard of social-media use: IBM was on of the first Fortune 500 companies to get behind collaborative wikis, published internal blogging guidelines as far back as 2003, and is now moving fast beyond RSS and podcasts into videocasting and “virtual world” technologies like Second Life. The intranet search facility extends to all areas of the site, including new media aspects. When an employee logs onto their portal an executes a key word search, the results they get back not only come from the main intranet pages, but include results from IBM forums, wikis, blogs and podcast/videocasts tags. IMB has an understanding that employees are no longer staying in a company their entire lives. It’s just not like that any more. In Belgium for example over 50 percent of 2,300 employees have been there fewer than five years. The company has come to the conclusion that with an increasingly young and mobile workforce, the likelihood is that an employee population full of a younger generation, for whom these tools are part and parcel of life, is not that far away. In years to come IBM will have to deal with employee base for which blogging is just the natural way to interact over a web platform. IBM has created centralized platforms for most tools that fall under its remit, which includes wikis. For Philippe Borremans, new media lead Europe for IBM, has the potential business applications of a wiki cover two broad benefits: Collaborating and knowledge sharing. IBM has scored some notable successes on both fronts in the near 5000 wiki pages now up and running in the organization. The company has been a huge pick-up in interest in podcasting over the last 18 months writing can seem such a technical skill, whereas people feel they can talk more freely than they can write. One of the most consistently popular IBM podcasts, with over 20,000 downloads a week.

Ameriprise Financial

The Situation:

The Department of Justice survey estimates that 3.6 million U.S. households were victims of identity theft in 2004. Trafficking in personal date goes beyond U.S. borders: the New York Times reports that stolen financial information is often distributed among participants of online trading boards, and the buyers are frequently located in Russia, Ukraine, and the Middle East. One reason clients are concerned about data security is the widespread publicity generated by breaches at financial services firm. In late December 2205, an Ameriprise Financial employee’s laptop that contained unencrypted data on approximately 230,000 customers and advisors was stolen from a car. Other financial services firm, including Citigroup and Bank of America, also acknowledge large-scale customer data losses in 2005. President of NCS, Rita Dew, a compliance consulting firm in Delray Beach, Florida, says that the Securities and Exchange Commission requires investment advisors to have policies and procedures that address the administrative, technical, and physical safeguards related to client records and information.

The Response:

Ameriprise Financial had to fight back and had to implement “layers of protection.” It is important for employees who their primary business computer, and employees regularly transport the computer between home, office, and meeting sites. The vulnerability of this arrangement and the need for a safety software program is much needed.

The Outcome:

Employees who are transporting lab tops should install the Steganos Security Suite on their computer. This software allows employees to create an encrypted virtual drive on the laptop that serves as data storage safe. Employees stores all client related data and tax preparation software database on the encrypted drive, which employees has set up with one gigabyte of storage space. The best thing is that when an employee turns off the computer the information is stored “safe”, the software automatically encrypts the virtual drive’s data. The software also generates encrypted backup files, which employees store on CDs in a fireproof safe. This should keep the data secure if any employee’s laptop is stolen or if the drive is removed from the laptop. Other financial advisors are relying on encryption both in and out of the office. Other programs that are being used to protect client’s information are RAID Level 1 system to store data on the drives that are encrypted with WinMagic’s SecureDocs software. Encryption ensures that anyone who steals the computer will be absolutely unable to read the data, even by connecting it to another computer as a “slave drive. This has given many financial advisors the greatest peace of mind.

Terasen Pipelines

The Situation:

Terasen Pipelines is a subsidiary of Terasen Inc. located in Vancouver, Canada and is located in several provinces and U.S. states. In 2001 the company changed its headquarters to Calgary to be closer to the oil. With the big move, the company went through a growth spurt. With the company in many different locations and the growing numbers of employees, the HR department saw a need to find a new system to keep more accurate records.

The Response:

In the past Terasen had kept records on paper and with spreadsheets and with the growth of the company, this system does not work as well as in the past. In order to compensate for future growth, Terasen began to look into HRIS companies to help with the HR operations. After researching different companies, Hewitt’s application service provider model with eCyborg was found to be the right fit.

The Outcome:

Although there was difficulty adapting to a new way of recordkeeping, Terasen was able to find a system that will help support the current and future growth of the company. Fortunately, some of the HR staff had experience working with an HRIS and were able to help their colleagues imagine new processes, as aided by a system. One theme often voiced throughout this process was: “You guys don’t know how hard we’re working when we can make it so much easier with a system that could do a lot of this for us. You don’t always have to run to the cabinet for the employee file just to get basic information. It can all be at your fingertips.” (Vu, 2005). In order to help Terasen ease the HR burden of implementing a new HR system, the management of Terasen was convinced to look for a vendor to help implement and maintain a HRIS system. This system has helped Terasen better prepare for current and future growth.

Shaw’s Supermarkets

The Situation:

Shaw’s Supermarkets is the second largest supermarket chain in New England. With a workforce of 30,000 located at 180 stores throughout six states, Shaw’s HR staff is responsible for managing employees’ personal data. Their employee mix includes approximately 70 percent part-time employees, consisting of students, senior citizens, second-job part-timers, and career part-timers. One third of the workforce is made up of union associates, and Shaw’s staff oversees the company’s involvement with three unions and six separate contracts (Koven, 2002). In order to help manage the workforce, the HR staff became interested in centralizing its HR operations.

The Response:

In order to centralize HR operations Shaw’s decided to implement an ESS (employee self-service) solution. The use of self-service applications creates a positive situation for HR. ESS gives HR more time to focus on strategic issues, such as workforce management, succession planning, and compensation management, while at the same time improving service to employees and managers, and ensuring that their data is accurate. With this solution, employees have online access to forms, training material, benefits information and other payroll related information.

The Outcome:

Shaw’s has had positive feedback since implementing the ESS solution. “The reaction from our employees has been extremely positive,” Penney, VP of Compensation and Benefits, says. “We even had a significant increase in our medical coverage costs, and it was almost a non-issue because the online enrollment featured the plan choices, the employee cost, and the company subsidy. An employee self-service application makes it very easy for them to understand their contributions and coverage options. I received several e-mails from employees saying this was a great change and how easy ESS was, which the case is not often when employees are selecting their benefit options.” (Koven, 2002). By giving the employees more access to their information they are able to see the benefit choices available to them. Employees are also able to update their information online, which helps reduce the paperwork of the past. Shaw’s has also seen improvement in productivity because employees are updating information at home, not during work hours.

CS Stars, LLC

The Situation:

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has announced that New York State has reached its first settlement with a company charged with failing to notify consumers and others that their personal data had gone missing. Cuomo’s office, which enforces the state’s 2005 Information Security Breach and Notification Law, charged CS STARS LLC, a Chicago-based claims management company, with failing to give notice that it had lost track of a computer containing data on 540,000 New Yorkers’ workers’ comp claims.

The Response:

The owner of the lost data, which had been in the custody of CS STARS, was the New York Special Funds Conservation Committee, an organization that assists in providing workers’ comp benefits under the state’s workers’ comp law. On May 9, 2006, a CS STARS employee noticed that a computer was missing that held personal information, including the names, addresses, and Social Security numbers of recipients of workers’ compensation benefits. But CS Stars waited until June 29, 2006, to notify Special Funds and the FBI of the security breach. Because the FBI declared that notice to consumers might impede its investigation, CS STARS waited until July 8, 2006, to send notices to the 540,000 New Yorkers affected by the breach. On July 25, 2006, the FBI determined an employee, of a cleaning contractor, had stolen the computer, and the missing computer was located and recovered. In addition, the FBI found that the data on the missing computer had not been improperly accessed.

The Outcome:

New York’s Information Security Breach and Notification Law, effective in December 2005, requires businesses that maintain computerized data which includes private information to notify the owner of the information of any breach of the security of the system immediately following discovery, if the private information was, or is reasonably believed to have been, acquired by a person without valid authorization. The law affects not only businesses in their dealings with their customers, but employers in their role as custodians of employees’ personal data. (Cadrain)

Without admitting to any violation of law, CS STARS agreed to comply with the law and ensure that proper notifications will be made in the event of any future breach. The company also agreed to implement more extensive practices relating to the security of private information. CS STARS will pay the Attorney General’s office $60,000 for costs related to this investigation. (Cadrain)

IBM

The Situation:

IBM’s paperless online enrollment system, introduced in 1999, has proved to be a winner for both the company’s 135,000 active U.S. employees and the company, according to Cathleen Donnelly, senior communications specialist at company headquarters in Armonk, N.Y. The company saves $1.2 million per year on printing and mailing costs alone, Donnelly says, and the employees’ can take advantage of a variety of technologies to learn about issues, research program information and access decision support tools from their desktop computers. (Heuring, 2002)

The Response:

One of those tools, a personal medical cost estimator, enables employees to calculate potential out-of-pocket health care expenses under each of the plan options available to them, Donnelly says. Employees log in personally and are greeted by name and with important information regarding their benefits enrollment, such as the deadlines and when changes take effect. They automatically get access to health plans that are available to them, and the calculator lets them compare estimated benefit amounts for each plan.

“Employees can select the health care services they expect to use in a particular year, estimate expected frequency of use, and calculate potential costs under each plan option,” Donnelly says. “The feedback that we’ve received from employees tells us that this tool has really helped them to make a comparison between plans based on how they consume medical services.” The calculator shows both IBM’s costs and the employee’s. (Heuring, 2002)

The Outcome:

“Since we began offering online enrollment, we’ve learned that employees want web access,” Donnelly says, so they can log on at home rather than through the company intranet. So the company has been working to put in place a web-based enrollment system that employees and retirees can access from anywhere.

Employees can get summary information on the plans, drill down into very specific details and follow links to the health care providers for research. Donnelly says the system has received high marks for convenience because employees can “get in and out quickly.”

WORKSource Inc.

The Situation:

To meet the challenge of handling 100 new employees, WORKSource Inc. acquired Web-based technology programs from GHG Corp. like electronic paystub, electronic timesheet software, time-off system, and human resource information system (“Tips,” 2006). These tools enabled CEO Judith Hahn to handling payroll procedures efficiently and effectively.

The Response:

WORKSource has eight workforce centers, with approximately 108 employees, located throughout a six-county region. Previously, payroll, benefits, and human resources for those employees were processed and managed by a Professional Employer Organization. The company also has 52 administrative staff in its headquarters office. When the contract with the PEO terminated on June 30, 2006, those 108 employees were immediately moved to the payroll of WORKSource, which meant Hahn’s workload more than doubled effective July 2006 (“Tips,” 2006).

Hahn, in an interview with PMR, said she relied on LEAN to help get a handle on what needed to change for her to manage the increased workload. Two years earlier, Hahn’s CEO had introduced her to LEAN, a Japanese management concept of eliminating wasteful steps and motion when completing processes. “I began to read as much as possible about LEAN and joined an HR LEAN focus group” (“Tips,” 2006).

The Outcome:

Mastering the concepts of LEAN led Hahn to develop and apply her own acronym of “REASON” to her department’s payroll and HR processes. Review the process: map payroll tasks from start to finish. Eliminate waste: determine how to complete a payroll task most efficiently without unnecessary steps. Analyze alternatives: research and evaluate the applicability of new technology. Sell innovations to management: document the return on investment of each innovation. Open the lines of communication: communicate openly—and often—with all stakeholders, including employees and top management. Never allow negativity: make change simple and fun. Give employees plenty of encouragement and time to learn (“Tips,” 2006). Judith Hahn was able to implement the right human resource functions using information systems.

Toshiba America Medical Systems Inc.

The Situation:

Lynda Morvik, director of benefits and human resources information systems at Tustin, California-based Toshiba America Medical Systems Inc. (TAMS), thought it would make sense to add a benefits communication component to it. By having all the benefit information online, the TAMS employee handbook would also be a living document, enabling Morvik to make changes when necessary. Such was the case halfway through the project, when TAMS changed health care plans from Aetna Inc. to United Health Group Inc (Wojcik, 2004).

The Response:

TAMS, an independent group company of Toshiba Corporation and a global leading provider of diagnostic medical imaging systems and comprehensive medical solutions, such as CT, X-ray, ultrasound, nuclear medicine, MRI, and information systems, had been using a payroll service bureau and an in-house solution for HR that didn’t include easy-to-use consolidated reporting or an employee portal. After evaluating UltiPro alongside several enterprise resource vendors, TAMS selected Ultimate Software’s offering and went live in September 2002 after an on-time and on-budget implementation. Almost immediately upon rolling out the UltiPro portal to employees, TAMS began seeing improvements, with an estimated 70% increase in open enrollment efficiency (Wojcik, 2004).

The Outcome:

In an effort to expand the usage of the Web beyond the benefits enrollment process, TAMS has posted a library of documents and forms on its HR portal, including the benefits handbook, which garnered a 2004 Apex Award for publication excellence. That same year, Business Insurance magazine also gave TAMS the Electronic Benefit Communication (EBC) award for outstanding achievement in communicating employee benefits programs over the Web. To continue elevating its use of Ultimate Software’s HRMS/payroll solution, TAMS modified the UltiPro portal to meet the imaging company’s unique needs (Wojcik, 2004). It was completely integrated with several proprietary applications created to address compensation and performance management issues so that TAMS employees have a central location for comprehensive workforce and payroll information from a Web browser that they can access with a single sign-on (Wojcik, 2004).

References

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