Bedford’s Closing Victory of 2013

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first traveled to Bedford to do a round of interviews with local community, government and business leaders when the small city in south central Indiana was named the 2013 Indiana Chamber Community of the Year.

But, it was immediately evident to me why the city won the designation, along with a host of other accolades and awards throughout the past year – including being named a Stellar Community by the Office of Community and Rural Affairs, which brought over $19 million in state and local investment to the community.

These people truly care for their hometown and for each other. And they make smart decisions through well-thought out partnerships that benefit the entire community today, while thinking ahead to the future and preparing the next generation to do the same. Read more about what they’re doing in the November/December edition of BizVoice®.

So it comes as no surprise that to cap off 2013, General Motors recently announced an additional investment into Bedford – $29.2 million for GM Powertrain Bedford, which includes $22.6 million to produce components for a new 10-speed transmission, as well as $6.6 million for an existing 6-speed transmission.

A press release notes that the total investment in five manufacturing sites in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana by GM comes to $1.3 billion overall, which will help create or retain 1,000 jobs.

It’s good news for Bedford and good news for the auto manufacturing industry.

Here’s a final toast to you, the community of Bedford, for one truly amazing year!

Study Cites ‘Trap’ in Corner Office Experience

A pair of European researchers have some very interesting soon-to-be-published findings on CEOs and the value of prior experience. Interesting, because contrary to popular belief and custom, they believe prior experience may not be a good thing.

Not sure I agree with the “CEO experience trap,” but check out their reasoning.

Companies are more likely to hire prior CEOs because they are increasingly unwilling to take the risk of hiring executives with no previous job-specific experience. But according to a new study by Burak Koyuncu of NEOMA Business School and Monika Hamori of IE Business School, prior CEOs performed worse than their peers without such experience.

In their paper “Experience matters? The Impact of Prior CEO Experience on Firm Performance” – forthcoming in Human Resource Management journal – Koyuncu and Hamori collected data on the career histories of the CEOs of S&P 500 corporations who occupied the CEO post from 2005. Tracking their performances for up to three years after their appointment, the researchers found that 19.6% had at least one prior CEO job and that those who transitioned directly from a prior to a new CEO job showed 48% lower three-year average post-succession returns on assets. In contrast, CEOs who spent time working in a different position between CEO jobs showed no significant difference in performance than CEOs without prior experience.

“Our research suggests that the job-specific experience these CEOs gained in their prior CEO job interferes with their performance in their new job,” said Koyuncu. “Their job-specific experience may slow down learning because some knowledge and techniques need to be “unlearned” before learning in the new context can take place.”

Also, as prior CEOs rely on experience from past events, they are more likely to follow decision-making shortcuts which may cause them to give the same answer to a different problem. “Prior CEOs may be too embedded in the norms, culture and routines of one organization and thus may underperform in another because they have developed fixed assumptions about how tasks should be done,” said Koyuncu.

In order to avoid such an “experience trap”, the authors recommend that hiring companies put CEOs with prior experience in an interim position for at least a year before they take on the full CEO role.

“In general, companies that hire CEOs with prior CEO experience need to provide ample support to their transition and integration – the greater the opportunity for acculturation, the greater the chance the company can avoid falling into the CEO experience trap,” said Koyuncu.

On the Job Hunt? Remember These Few Interview Dos and Don’ts

Twice now I’ve had the pleasure of venturing back to my alma mater (Franklin College) and helping the journalism department with some student mock job interviews. In the interviews, I am the employer and the student is testing out his or her interviewing skills, with the ultimate goal of helping the students build confidence in those skills.

I came across this infographic on Ragan Communications and found it pertinent to that experience and to anyone currently searching for a job. If you’re getting ready to interview or if you’ve had no luck in landing new employment, read on for some helpful guidelines that might just tip the scales in your favor next time.

Make sure you’ve done your research. Of 2,000 employers surveyed, 47% said the No. 1 mistake job seekers make during interviews is having no knowledge about the company.

Another one to be aware of (but this should come as no surprise): 65% of employers say clothing influences the decision between two candidates. But don’t think being overly fashionable or trendy will land you the job: 70% of employers claim they don’t want applicants who dress that way. Aiming for modest and professional is probably your best bet. And don’t go too heavy on the perfume or cologne. Your interviewer can’t focus properly on your responses if there’s a giant pink cloud of perfume surrounding you.

When I work with college students, most have some serious handshake work to do – and 26% of employers also see a weak handshake as tanking your probability of landing the job. Other physical actions that aren’t great: failure to make eye contact, not smiling, hunching over, keeping your arms crossed over your chest, making too many hand gestures, or just simple fidgeting.

The infographic also gives some handy lists to help with your interviewing, but here’s a quick one to keep handy:

  1. Learn about the organization.
  2. Have a specific job in mind.
  3. Review your qualifications for the job.
  4. Be ready to briefly describe your experience.

Good luck!

Program Matches Guard Members With Job Openings

There are various efforts taking place to connect military veterans — and the valuable skills they possess — with employers who are having difficulty finding the workers they need. One of those programs is focused on the National Guard, assisting active members, veterans and spouses.

American Jobs for America's Heroes (AJAH) has a mission of encouraging employers across the country to provide job postings. These will allow National Guard employment counselors to match openings with qualified candidates.

Of nearly 360,000 National Guard members (in all 50 states and four U.S. territories), about 20% are unemployed. Only one in four National Guard applicants are accepted. They train continuously in a variety of programs — demonstrating a readiness for learning, strong teamwork and reliability, and an understanding of how to perform in a disciplined organization.

There are no costs for employers or job seekers. Companies can receive assistance at no cost in screening candidates and understanding how military training experience relates to job requirements.

The web site has additional information and registration details. The Indiana Chamber is among many associations and companies (Phillips 66 is the lead national corporate sponsor) supporting this initiative.

People Speak Out on Keystone Pipeline

After four-plus years of debate and frustration, many are aware of the possibilities of the Keystone Pipeline. The administration has a second chance to approve this important project. If it listens to the people. The American Petroleum Institute reports:

The Keystone XL pipeline makes sense to the nation. Sixty-nine percent of American voters favor building the pipeline, while 83 percent believe it would strengthen our energy security and 92 percent agree jobs are important when considering the project, according to a recent Harris Interactive poll.

Strong majorities of voters in both political parties and among independents support building the pipeline, the poll also found. And the vast majority of voters polled understand the need to link up Canadian crude oil supplies with U.S. refineries and consider it important that most dollars spent on Canadian oil by America return to the U.S. when Canadians use them to buy American goods and services.

Reps. Bucshon, Carson to Host Transportation Jobs Fair in Indy

A nice opportunity here from two Indiana Congressmen. Rep. Larry Bucshon's office writes: As many of you know, in the 112th Congress we passed several bills that make it easier for Veterans to obtain a CDL and additional transportation related jobs. We’re hoping to have a large turnout from potential employers and those who are looking for a job in the transportation industry. Here are the details:

When: February 21, 2013, 2 – 6 p.m. EST
Where: Ivy Tech Corporate College Illinois Fall Creek Center – 2532 N. Capitol Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46208
Hosted by: U.S. Congressman André Carson (IN-07) & U.S. Congressman Larry Bucshon (IN-08)
Please Note: There is no charge for participating in this event.
Employer Setup is noon – 2 p.m. the day of the event.

*Employers can register for the jobs fair by filling out the Job Fair Registration Form.

**For more information, please contact Erin Pugh at (812) 232-0523 or at erin.pugh@mail.house.gov.
 

Economic Energy? Look to Local Leadership

I read a recent post from the CEO of Gallup, who provided a good reminder that, like politics, ultimate business success is often locally driven. Yes, policies from Washington and state capitals make a big difference — but so does leadership in communities and companies.

A few highlights from Jim Clifton:

Throughout this year’s long election season, I was often asked: “Who will be better for jobs and the economy, President Obama or Governor Romney?” My reply most surely disappointed partisans from both sides: The president of the United States doesn’t make as much difference in terms of creating economic energy as you’d think, according to Gallup data.

In fact, if the president mattered that much, why is it that cities and states have such extreme variation in their local GDP and job growth? Shouldn’t they all go up or down together with each president?

Instead, Austin, Texas, and Nashville, Tenn., are booming, while Albany, N.Y., and Stockton, Calif., are failing. Texas is prospering while California is almost surely going broke. Austin’s jobless rate is around 5%, while the unemployment rate in Stockton is above 13%.

The difference, in my view, is that Austin has deeply caring, highly engaged business, political, and philanthropic leaders with principles, policies, beliefs, and values about human nature that work. They understand how to build a thriving, growing economy — one that welcomes business and entrepreneurship. Albany has the opposite, as I see it: Leaders with principles, policies, values, and beliefs that discourage business and entrepreneurship, if not outright scaring them away.

Cities across the country with great leadership are filled with booming startup companies, and those cities have thriving economies that create authentic, organically grown good jobs. These cities are saving America, while the others are letting the country down.

Great city leadership has never been so needed. Nationally, business startups are currently growing at under 400,000 annually. If this rate doesn’t double soon, in my view, absolutely nothing will fix our current nightmare of joblessness.

Of course good policy for small businesses is better than bad policy, but in my opinion, the estimated 10,000 business, political, and philanthropic leaders of all shapes and sizes who drive the performance of America’s top 100 cities are the most important people in our country right now. 

STEM Jobs Becoming Larger Emphasis in Indiana

Hannah Rozow is the student representative on the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. An undergraduate at Indiana University in Bloomington, she is pursuing a double major in economics and political science with a minor in Spanish.

Indiana needs more workers educated in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

According to a study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, the demand for STEM jobs in Indiana will rise to 4% of the total workforce by 2018. Of those 115,570 jobs, 90% will require some postsecondary education, and 43% will require at least a bachelor’s degree. So what are colleges and universities doing about it?

Institutions across the state have launched initiatives to meet projected demand. Many of these efforts aim to meet the needs of a particular region, while some serve the state as a whole. Here are some of the projects underway in Indiana:

  • Purdue University College of Engineering introduced a plan to increase undergraduate enrollment by 10% and graduate enrollment by 25% to 30% over the next 5 years.
  • Ivy Tech Community College received a $3.1 million grant from North Central Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) to train 44,000 people of the North Central region for STEM-based careers over the next 5 years.
  • The University of Notre Dame’s Advanced Placement Training and Incentive Program in Indiana (AP-TIP IN) works to increase enrollment in AP courses – math, science and English – and increase the number of qualifying scores on AP exams at 33 Indiana public high schools.
  • In an effort to attract students at an earlier age, Ivy Tech-Northeast hosts Adventure and Imagination Summer STEM Camp for students ages 11 to 14. Similarly, Indiana University-Bloomington hosts Adventures in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math summer camp for middle school students.
  • Southwestern Indiana STEM (SwISTEM), through a partnership between the University of Southern Indiana and Ivy Tech-Southwest, aims to increase the number of students in STEM majors and educate those students in a hands-on, team oriented way.
  • The state funding formula for 2013-2015 includes a high-impact degree metric, meaning a portion of public research institutions’ funding will be tied to the number of STEM degrees produced.

While institutional initiatives are an integral part to increasing the number of STEM-qualified workers, their efforts are only part of the equation. Involvement from the business community is vital. By offering job-shadowing opportunities and school presentations to local students, businesses can incite student interest in STEM education at an earlier age. Additionally, businesses should partner with local colleges and universities to ensure that students graduate not only with a STEM degree but with the professional skills needed to be a good employee.

The state needs more STEM-educated workers, and if there is a collaborative effort between colleges, universities and businesses, demand will be met.

Sen. Coats Hosting Job Fair in Lafayette

Sen. Dan Coats is hosting the 2012 Hoosier Job Fair on May 30 in Lafayette. There are currently 70 businesses already signed up to participate from all across Indiana, offering over 2,500 jobs. This job fair will be advertised throughout the state and organizers expect job-seekers from across Indiana (as well as graduating students from Purdue University) to be in attendance. It is a FREE event for participating businesses and job-seekers alike.  If your business would like to participate, please call (317) 554-0750 or visit the web site at www.coats.senate.gov/jobfair.  Below is more information about this event.
 

  • WHEN: Wednesday, May 30, 2012
  • TIME: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • WHERE: Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds, West Pavilion (1401 Teal Road, Lafayette)
  • COST: FREE
  • Businesses can sign up by calling (317) 554-0750, emailing jobfair@coats.senate.gov or logging onto our website at www.coats.senate.gov/jobfair.
  • PARTNERS: Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski, West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis, State Senator Brandt Hershman, State Senator Ron Alting , the Greater Lafayette Commerce, Lafayette WorkOne and the Tippecanoe County Commissioners

Job Numbers Predict Super Bowl Winner?

For those interested in the world of wagering, the Super Bowl is famous for its exotic opportunities — length of the national anthem, color of the Gatorade to be poured on the winning coach, etc. If you’re mainly interested in who wins the game, look no farther than unemployment statistics, according to an analysis by outplacement firm RiseSmart.

The team whose metropolitan area boasts the lower unemployment rate during the previous calendar year has won 17 of the past 20 Super Bowls – a remarkable 85 percent success rate.  Based on this correlation, the New England Patriots should claim the NFL championship over the New York Giants.  Through November, the 2011 unemployment rate for the Boston metropolitan area was 6.8 percent, compared to 8.5 percent for the New York metropolitan area.

On January 26, 1992, the Washington Redskins defeated the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVI; that year, the Washington, D.C. metro area’s unemployment rate of 4.6 percent was substantially lower than Buffalo’s 7.2 percent. So began the string in which 17 out of 20 times, the Super Bowl winning city had a lower unemployment rate than that of the losing hometown. The predictor has been correct in the past three championship games, including Super Bowl XLV, in which Green Bay (7.7 percent 2010 unemployment) defeated Pittsburgh (8.0 percent).

Other facts of note:

• On the seven previous occasions that both teams’ metro areas have had unemployment greater than 5.5 percent – as is the case this year — the team from the metro area with the lower jobless rate has won in every instance.

• During the five previous occasions when at least one team represented a metro area with 7+ percent unemployment – as is the case this year, with the New York Giants – the team with higher unemployment lost in every instance. 

• The Giants’ upset victory over New England in Super Bowl XLII, when the Patriots entered the game undefeated, represents one of the three times in the past two decades when the unemployment rate predictor failed to predict the outcome of the game.

“Correlation does not imply causation, of course. And there are exceptions to every rule,” says Sanjay Sathe, founder and CEO of RiseSmart. “But one should never underestimate the power of having a job.”