During the past three weeks, I got a good eyeball into the manufacturing world. Our teacher group visited two power plants, a large-scale baking company, a factory that makes different kinds of floor coverings, a product shipping company, and two plants that make stuff that makes other stuff.
Yes, there were people working in these factories. But not many. Nowhere do you see the human-heavy assembly lines that were so prevalent a generation ago.
We teachers were told that there are plenty of jobs out there, but you need engineering degrees, math degrees, mechanical engineering degrees, or at the very least some post-high-school course work. Not to mention this great, new modern work ethic that has all of us working 12 hours for an 8-hour wage.
Many of the people who spoke to us talked about how the future workforce will have to move from job to job, and keep up with every twist and turn in the technology, in order to keep food on the table. When you think that part of this technology is ever-increasing robotics that eliminate even more human tasks, I would say the work world is about to become a land mine.
It has not escaped my notice that school teachers no longer have job security. String together a few years of illness, find yourself working for an administration that doesn't like you, and ... uh oh.
With that in mind, I had the audacity to approach a college professor of entrepreneurship who spoke to our teacher group. We are having lunch on Tuesday to discuss a possible area of growth in the American economy-- i.e., a new business.
I am nervous. I know nothing about entrepreneurship, and even though it's summertime, I hate to waste anyone's lunch hour.
On the other hand, when he spoke to our group, the professor said that if someone has an interesting proposal, he talks over the idea at the water cooler. If someone has a very interesting proposal, he has lunch with that person. If he's ready to apply some ink and legal, he goes out to dinner with that person.
I got lunch. It's a land mine world. Might as well exert some audacity.