America Says “Thank You” to its Skilled Tradesmen

Quickly fading are the days when a father handed down his trusted hand tools so the family plumbing business could carry on for another generation. This trend is affecting all of our lives in ways we never expected.

According to a 2012 Talent Shortage Survey by ManPowerGroup, Inc., “skilled trades” are the hardest jobs to fill. As Baby Boomers retire, more jobs for skilled workers open up, but there aren’t enough skilled tradesmen ready to meet the growing demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more than one-third of skilled tradesmen are over the age of 50. In fact, for every three tradesmen who retire, there’s only one skilled person available to fill the gap.

Boosting Efficiency in the Field

Managing employees in rough-and-tumble industries like construction, security, engineering and architecture brings challenges to efficiency both in the office and in the field. And since the majority of construction managers and contractors are self-employed, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there’s very little room for error.

While workplace efficiency heavily depends on the caliber of your employees, it’s equally affected by management tools – what your team has to work with. Check out three simple ways to improve efficiency and better your management skills.

3 Ways to Improve Efficiency in the Field

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Managing employees in rough-and-tumble industries like construction, security, engineering and architecture brings challenges to efficiency both in the office and in the field. And since the majority of construction managers and contractors are self-employed, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there’s very little room for error.
While workplace efficiency heavily depends on the caliber of your employees, it’s equally affected by management tools — what your team has to work with. Check out three simple ways to improve efficiency and better your management skills.
1. Improve productivity by making it easier to work together. The better and clearer your communication, the easier it is to work together. When security teams need to confer instantly, or construction managers need to reach someone who’s high up on scaffolding, it’s extremely useful to have instant, reliable communication. Sprint’s Direct Connect service, for example, offers push-to-talk phones that work like advanced walkie-talkies with data and other capabilities over the nationwide 3G cellular network.
For group communications, you can connect up to 200 Direct Connect subscribers simultaneously using the “Team DC” feature.
2. Create a long-term technology plan. Obsolete hardware and technology can slow down any business, and the replacement process causes interruptions that can make productivity plummet. Considering technology needs when determining short- and long-term business goals helps guarantee your team has the right equipment at the right time.
But what about in-the-field tools? Kyocera’s Dura Series has three mobile phones built to handle the abuse of harsh working conditions. Kyocera DuraPlus and DuraMax can be immersed in more than three feet of water for up to 30 minutes without glitching, and meet military standards for shock, dust, vibration temperature and more. Learn more at
3. Make sure all employees understand how to record expenses properly. Most business expenses can be written off as tax deductions if they’re properly documented. Receipts are necessary to substantiate deductible purchases, including tools, vehicles, travel expenses and other costs considered ordinary and necessary.
However, filers can only deduct expenses for which they are not reimbursed. This means anything billed to the client cannot be written off. Remember, documentation of expenses must clearly detail both your income and the expense.

Computer Technology Grows New Career Opportunities

In personal and professional life, computer technology impacts even the simplest, everyday tasks. Whether through online bill payment or the seamless integration of global businesses, computer technology offers optimized productivity and the flow of commerce, making it a vital component of success for all businesses.

This unwavering dependence on computer technology has spurred the growth of related fields, making the present a great time to earn a degree in computer information systems (CIS). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in this field is projected to grow by 30 percent from 2008 to 2018, much faster than the average of all occupations, opening the door for those with applicable skills to apply their talents and passion for computing and technology in the workplace.

Snag Your Dream Job With a Little Coaching

Far too often, employees find themselves stuck in an unfulfilling job, yet are reluctant to leave. They settle because of current economic conditions or because they simply lack the confidence or required skills to pursue their dream career.

According to a recent study conducted by The Conference Board, job satisfaction is at an all-time low – only 45 percent of Americans are satisfied with their current job.

It can seem overwhelming for those yearning to step into a field that better suits their passions. Certified career coach Maggie Mistal specializes in helping individuals explore their purpose and find work they love. She advises individuals to break down the process into three steps:

Time Is Money When It Comes to Healthy Eating

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Research shows that many Americans could eat healthier meals — if they made more time.

In May, the USDA’s food plan estimated that an individual would need to spend $70 a week to prepare healthy food at home. But a follow-up study in the Journal of Nutrition found that the USDA missed a major cost factor — time. In fact, the value of the time spent chopping and cooking can outweigh the cost of food

Cooking is labor intensive, and time is not an unlimited or free resource. According to a formula developed by economists at the Warwick University in England, an hour of time equals around $16.55.

Among breakfast, lunch and dinner over the course of a seven-day week (21 meals), the USDA recommends taking 9 to 16 total hours per week to prepare healthy meals — this means the health-conscious cook loses $150 a week in labor.

Many Americans simply can’t spend that much time washing lettuce leaves and chopping celery. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average working woman has only five hours a week to spend on food preparation — creating nutritious meals at home is an unlikely reality.

Some Americans are turning to meal-delivery services for healthy meals that don’t require hours of cooking time.

Caroline Cederquist M.D., a bariatric physician and the developer of the Bistro MD meal plan, which offers physician-designed, metabolically balanced meals and free access to dieticians, explains:

“When adding the USDA’s conservative $70 for groceries and the $150 weekly value of time in preparing healthy meals, it becomes clear how spending as little as $22.85 a day for Bistro MD meals that are delivered right to your home is a real bargain.”

Americans spend less on food than people in many other developed nations, but inexpensive junk food comes with a price — fatigue, nutritional deficiencies, obesity and other diseases. A study by Johns Hopkins University determined that 75 percent of all U.S. adults will be overweight in the next five years.

For more information, go to or call (1-866-401-DIET).

Talking Cents With Your Family

<b>Talking Cents With Your Family</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – As the dismal economy shrinks the job force, parents across the country are faced with the intimidating task of explaining financial troubles to their children.

The economic meltdown has raised the unemployment pool in the United States to more than 7.2 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As these numbers continue to increase, more parents will have to explain fewer nights out, smaller allowances and other cuts to the family budget to their children. While the initial discussion can be frightening, experts say that avoiding these conversations with your children is a mistake.

“Keeping kids in the dark about something so serious as a job layoff is a huge mistake. Hearing such an immensely personal family problem from anyone other than you could well break down the trust between you and your child,” says Dr. Michele Borba, child expert and member of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Family PLUS Advisory Committee, a comprehensive family support strategy sponsored by Kimberly-Clark Corporation.

So, how can parents start a conversation about a recent layoff?

Borba, who also authored “The Big Book of Parenting Solutions,” offers a few tips to help parents and kids discuss financial problems:

* Prepare what you want to say. Doing so will help you feel more comfortable and less tense, which will make your news sound less scary to your kids.

* Describe the potential impact on your family. Most kids’ prime concern is how this personally affects them. So, be honest and clear about any foreseeable changes. For instance: Dining out less. Not going to movies. More bag lunches. Less allowance.

* Explain your plan for new employment. Kids don’t need a lengthy discussion, so just briefly explain that you’re seeking a new job and that it may take awhile. Knowing that you have a “plan” (even if you have no idea what to do) helps kids feel secure.

* Involve your kids so they feel they are part of the solution. Ask them for ideas to help your family reduce costs. For instance, mention that turning off the lights will conserve energy. Then ask them for other suggestions.

* Keep the discussion going. A one-time talk won’t be enough for your children to absorb what is happening, so let them know that they can ask questions at anytime.

Find more tips for parents on a variety of topics on the Family PLUS Web site at

A Fragile Economy Can Mean New Career Opportunities

<b>A Fragile Economy Can Mean New Career Opportunities</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Thinking of a career change? Job opportunities are shifting, and now may be a good time to consider a change. But a new career may mean continuing your education.

Consider improving your skill set and future career opportunity by getting a bachelor’s or master’s degree in your chosen field. Working adults can earn degrees at accredited, high-quality universities online — a great way to balance your work and family life while learning a new skill.

If making the career leap, consider the transition to a job in a high-growth sector. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, growth is expected to be strong for post-secondary teachers through 2016 as well as computer and engineering jobs, and jobs in management. There is expected growth in the transportation and warehouse industry and for aircraft equipment mechanics and service technicians.

Homeland security also continues to be a growth sector for new jobs. According to a report from the Homeland Security Research Corporation for 2007-2011, the U.S. Homeland Security market will grow from about $24 billion in 2006 to $35 billion by 2011.

All of these industries require skilled and experienced workers. The first step in obtaining those skills is to get a degree in your chosen field. American Public University (, for example, has accredited online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in Education, Information Technology, Transportation and Logistics as well as a well-respected program in Homeland


APU’s tuition is a fraction of what most “brick and mortar” schools offer, with undergraduate tuition at $750 per course and graduate tuition at $825 per course. APU has not raised its undergraduate tuition in eight years, so students can be assured tuition won’t drastically increase during their tenure. An undergraduate book grant also helps students get books at no cost — one more way to save money and still get a great education.

Do some research on accredited, affordable and respected online universities. Earning a degree can be your next step to a brighter future.

Tips to Help You Plan For Retirement

<b>Tips to Help You Plan For Retirement</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Today, planning for retirement is more important than ever. With fewer than 21 percent of employees in the private sector covered by traditional pension plans, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the uncertainty around Social Security benefits, Americans need to take a more proactive approach to ensure their retirement. They will need to rely heavily on their own savings for income in retirement, and plan carefully to avoid outliving those savings.

Fortunately, retirees can create a “personal pension plan” that guarantees a steady stream of income for life, using an insurance product called an immediate annuity. The following tips describe how a “personal pension” from an immediate annuity might fit into an overall retirement plan.

– Diversify. As part of your overall retirement strategy, consider using a portion of your savings to fund an immediate annuity. Leave investments that move with the market to other parts of your retirement portfolio, depending upon your tolerance for risk.

– Fund the plan. An immediate annuity can be funded with part of your 401(k) or IRA savings or from other savings you have accumulated. You can also use money from an inheritance, from downsizing your home or from money available once you’ve finished paying off a child’s college tuition.

– Access to funds. Over the course of retirement, your needs and circumstances are likely to change. Many personal pension products don’t allow you to touch your money once your income begins. If you are concerned about having access to your funds in the future, choose an immediate annuity that offers this feature.

– Fight Inflation. Inflation can take a big bite out of your retirement income. Some personal pension products allow for annual payment increases that help keep up with inflation’s impact.

– Leave a legacy. If leaving an inheritance is important to you, look for products guaranteed to pay back your premium to your spouse or another family member, or that provide ongoing payments to them, even if you received payments well beyond your life expectancy.

– Guarantee it for life. You may need your retirement income to last 20, 30 or even 40 years. Choose an immediate annuity from a company with a long, steady track record of financial strength and stability.

For more information on retirement income products, visit