Retail Observer

June 2017

The Retail Observer is an industry leading magazine for INDEPENDENT RETAILERS in Major Appliances, Consumer Electronics and Home Furnishings

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RETAILOBSERVER.COM JUNE 2017 64 I f you are the appliance service industry, or any other industry that has a vocational bent, you know that it can be tough to find employees with the skill and the initiative to perform the work needed. While the service industry has exploded, the primary resource, skilled humans, has not kept up the pace. In fact, in many areas (including appliance service), it has lagged badly. There are a lot of reasons for this, but one of the primary ones is that many youths are not exposed to vocational opportunities in a positive manner in school. Guidance counselors are tailored to push ALL students possible to four-year schools — whether that is the best option for them or not. Technical or vocational schools, while not derided, are often looked at as a last chance for students that do not fit the mold for the traditional college experience. This leads to a very large challenge for our industry. The potential employment pool is reduced to people that have perhaps grown up in the industry, worked through high school in the family business, or those that may have had some exposure to this type of work and found it rewarding. There have been job retraining programs to assist people transitioning into new careers as the job market changes, and there are several organization supporting our military veterans that return from active duty that have worked well. With all that, it has not been enough. Enter Mike Rowe. Yes, THAT Mike Rowe. Mr. Dirty Jobs. The man who spent years bring the very toughest and least-popular jobs in the world into our living rooms, causing us to alternately gag and giggle as he went full bore into the work. And he taught us something, if we were truly paying attention: all jobs have value and the folks that perform these tasks, even those that may be taking on the most disgusting things you have ever seen, are professionals that take their role seriously and perform these tasks on a regular basis, out of the spotlight. There is honor in all work. Recently, Mike has spent a lot of his time testifying before Congress and hitting the news shows to put a spotlight on the value of vo-tech programs that provide exposure to youths and offers them options to the traditional schooling, while highlighting the many and well-paying job opportunities that this education can provide. He has also focused on the widening skills gap that we as a nation face, and the basic value of work and initiative that needs to be brought out in all of us. In order to provide guidance to new opportunities that young people — or those transitioning to new careers — can take advantage of, the paradigm needs to shift. Mike has walked the walk. From his website: "Today, Mike runs the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, which awards scholarships to students pursuing a career in the skilled trades. He is closely associated with the Future Farmers of America, Skills USA, and the Boy Scouts of America, who honored him as a Distinguished Eagle Scout. For reasons he cannot explain, Forbes identified Mike as one of the country's 10 Most Trustworthy Celebrities in 2010, 2011 and 2012." That is all well and good, but what does that mean to the appliance service industry? Plenty. Our industry is the poster child for lack of skilled workers. We have several very competent and focused vo-tech schools in the country, and within the PSA network, that are doing great things to add resources to the workforce in the form of trained and skilled workers, but it is not enough. Our industry, from the manufacturers to the sales forces, to the service outlets from across the country, need to be out there supporting Mike Rowe in his drive to raise the perception of our workforce, and prove that this is an extremely viable career option to our young people. Mike has picked up the torch to lead us, and it is critical that we follow that lead. When you get the opportunity, check out what Mike is doing via his web sites, and Mike is a capable and effective spokesman for our industry, as well as many others in similar straights. We look forward to working with Mike through Skills USA and other outlets that bring us together to face this challenge. We have a champion in our corner — let's all support his efforts! HOW TO IM PROVE THE SERVICE INDUSTRY? It's a "Dirty Job", but here's someone that can do it S E R V I C E D E P A R T M E N T RO Randy Carney- Executive Director- PSA

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