[VIDEO] Senior Citizens are the Future of Work

McDonald’s raised more than a few eyebrows with a recent announcement. They have pledged to hire more senior citizens in their bid to fill 250,000 summer jobs this year. Wow! In this episode, I discuss the myths and realities of hiring mature workers and how senior citizens are the future of work. | Special thanks to ClickIQ for sponsoring this episode.

 

Links related to this podcast:

Is it right to profit on prison labor?

23 | When you think of prisoners working inside of a jail, what comes to mind? Prisoners cooking, mopping floors, folding clothes…? Yes, all of those are certainly true and now you can add one more – training artificial intelligence algorithms. In this episode, I talk about the pros and cons (pun intended) of prison labor.


Listen to this podcast on Anchor.fm

Subscribe to this podcast via your favorite podcast platform!

About the host:

Over the past decade, Jim Stroud has built an expertise in sourcing and recruiting strategy, public speaking, lead generation, video production, podcasting, online research, competitive intelligence, online community management and training. He has consulted for such companies as Microsoft, Google, MCI, Siemens, Bernard Hodes Group and a host of startup companies. During his tenure with Randstad Sourceright, he alleviated the recruitment headaches of their clients worldwide as their Global Head of Sourcing and Recruiting Strategy.  He now serves ClickIQ as its VP, Product Evangelist.

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

When you think of prisoners working inside of a jail, what comes to mind? Prisoners cooking, mopping floors, folding clothes…? Yes, all of those are certainly true and now you can add one more – training artificial intelligence algorithms. I’ll explain, after this.


I have a question for Talent Acquisition Managers, how many jobs do you advertise a year? 100? 500? 10,000 or more? If so, let me give you a tip on how to maximize your job adverting budget. And that tip is, ClickIQ.

ClickIQ’s automated job advertising platform manages, tracks and optimizes the performance of your job advertising in real time, focusing your money where it’s needed most to reach both active and passive job seekers across Indeed, Google, Facebook, Instagram and an extensive network of job boards.

So, talent acquisition managers, if you want to make sure you are getting the most value out of your job advertising budget, I highly suggest you check out ClickIq online at www.clickiq.us. Or, you can email me directly. My email is jim at-click-dot-us

That’s right! I was so impressed by the technology behind ClickIQ that I joined the company. I think you will be impressed as well.Again, on the web – www.clickiq.us or email me directly jim at-click-dot-us.

You’ll be glad you did.

The startup company Vainu is building a comprehensive database of companies around the world that helps businesses find contractors to work with. To accomplish that aim, they need a lot of data analyzed and classified and that’s where prison labor comes in. Prisoners read through hundreds of thousands of business articles scraped from the internet and label whether, for example, an article is about Apple the tech company or a fruit company that has “apple” in the name. This labeled data is then used to train an algorithm that manages the database.

The partnership between Vainu and 2 prisons, one in Helsinki and one in Turku, was a happy accident. Tuomas Rasila, the founder of Vainu, was brainstorming ways to process more data for his AI when the thought occurred to him that he could use prison labor. The Vainu offices happen to be in the same building as the headquarters of the Criminal Sanctions Agency (CSA), the government agency that oversees Finnish prisons.

Here’s a quote from The Verge and their story, “Inmates in Finland are training AI as part of prison labor.”

Officials at the agency were excited to partner, according to Rasila, especially because the new jobs don’t require anything other than a laptop. “There’s no risk for violence,” he says, adding that when it comes to other forms of prison labor, like metalsmithing, access to tools that can be turned into makeshift weapons can make a prison workspace “a dangerous place.” Rasila estimates that, currently, a little less than 100 prisoners are working on Vainu’s project for a few hours a day.

Right now, Vainu and the CSA have an annual contract based on the number of tasks. The Vainu team hopes to expand elsewhere in Finland, and other countries where it can be hard to find people willing to do this type of work in local languages. To them, it’s a win-win situation. One motivation for the inmates is to make money, of course, but “a selling point of this was that the demand for training AI is actually increasing significantly, globally,” Rasila says.

This idea of using prison labor for profit is highly controversial. Some say that prisoners are exploited; most making anywhere between $0.00 – $2.00 hourly. In some cases, time is taken off of their sentence in exchange for their labor. Depending on who you ask, this is a good thing; while to others, its modern slavery. I can’t think of a better case study to see both sides than the fashion industry.

Take the case of Carcel, a Danish brand founded in 2016 specifically to provide incarcerated women with jobs, training and, possibly, a crime-free future. On any given day, prisoners at a women’s penitentiary center in Peru, serving long sentences predominantly for drug-related crimes as well as murder, human trafficking and robbery are weaving and knitting luxurious alpaca wool sweaters, deep-pile roll-necks and silky-soft track pants, destined to be sold to wealthy shoppers. More than two years into the program, both Carcel’s founders and the Peruvian prison authorities say the project has been a measurable success. However, social media had a different view.

Carcel introduced a new line of silk garments produced from women’s jails in Thailand. On Twitter, a company spokesman said, “We are proud of the work we do and the women we employ. We work in prisons to give women the opportunity to earn and provide for their families. We believe in fair and equal employment rights inside as well as outside of prison, which means that employment is chosen freely, living wages are paid and no discrimination is practices. These conditions have to be in place for us to work with any prison.”

One twitter response was “Your “sustainable business model” includes the need for women to be in prisons.”

Another, “If you make ANY profit, that is money from slavery.”

Another, “You “work in prisons” (actually the prisoners work) because it means labor is cheap and controllable. This gives you greater profit margins for your over-priced rags.”

Another, “You’re going straight to hell”

And the comments continued to slip even lower than that.

Carcel is not the only company selling clothes made by inmates. There is Prison Blues in the USA and Pieta, which like Carcel, is in Peru. All claim they can create a profitable and sustainable business model while also providing new jobs and opportunities for prisoners. In the case of Pieta, inmates don’t just make the clothes, they also contribute to the designs, act as models for advertising campaigns and are paid a portion of the sale price for each unit of clothing they produce. Upon release, former inmates can continue working with Pietà, or seek jobs at other companies with Pietà’s recommendation and support.

So is using prison labor exploitive or, is it a tool for rehabilitation? I wanted to know what a prisoner who has worked at a jail had to say, just for some insight from their perspective. I did some research and found this article from the Los Angeles Times called, “Think prison labor is a form of slavery? Think again.”

Here’s are some quotes from a former prisoner.

My prison job made me feel like I was fulfilling my existential duty to society: I was contributing. It doesn’t surprise me that prison work assignments are credited with reducing recidivism. Any change for good that happened within me while I was incarcerated grew out of my job. If I feel that way about my time making chicken a la king, an inmate who’s saving lives fighting fires must feel it 10 times over.

Some call prison labor the new Jim Crow because of the outsized number of black and brown inmates in U.S. prisons. It’s a facile charge, and worse, it may be keeping progressive companies away from prison projects. Socially conscious businesses and agencies are likely to pay inmates higher wages, train them for better jobs and do more to prepare them for life after prison — if those companies aren’t scared away by vociferous critics of prison labor.

Whole Foods used to sell goat cheese made from milk produced on a prison farm in Colorado. “We felt supporting suppliers who found a way to be part of paid, rehabilitative work being done by inmates would help people get back on their feet and eventually become contributing members of society,” a company spokesman said. Whole Foods ended the program in 2015, after consumer protests I can only assume came from people who’ve never been incarcerated. Anyone who’s done time wouldn’t deny a fellow prisoner that kind of lifeline.

I like the idea of prisoners learning a skill and working as it supports the notion that once they are released, they will not return to a life of crime but become a productive member of society. At least, that’s what I think. I want to hear what you have to say. Leave a comment?

If you love what you heard, hate what you heard or, don’t know what you just heard, I want to know about it. You can leave a comment concerning this podcast on my website at www.JimStroud.com. In addition to finding source material and related information for this podcast episode, you’ll find other goodies that I hope will make you smile. And if you have not already, please subscribe to my website. Your continued support keeps  this podcast train chugging down the track. Whoot-whoot, whoot-whoot, whoot-whoot…

Links related to this podcast:

.

Music in this podcast:

http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-… “Dama-May” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b…

“Remember” Instrumental by Homage https://youtu.be/_zZYUrT_iQo

Royalty Free Music | Trap Hip Hop — Thirteen (No Copyright) ►Download ➜ http://cfmfreemusic.com/thirteen/ CFM OFFICIAL WEBSITE ►BUY HQ Beats ➜ https://mgjproduction.com/collections…

All Alone – Royalty Free Music | No Copyright Beat – Hip Hop ►Download ➜ http://cfmfreemusic.com/all-alone/ CFM OFFICIAL WEBSITE ►BUY HQ Beats ➜ https://mgjproduction.com/collections…

8 Reasons Why We Should (and should not) Raise the Minimum Wage

McDonald’s has given up lobbying against a minimum wage increase. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I explore the pros and cons of raising the minimum wage, how robots and automation factor in and the effect on the  fast food industry  in this episode of “The Jim Stroud Show.” I also make comparisons to the retail sector and how the future of work for the retail industry might adapt. All courtesy of ClickIQ, the automated job advertising platform you should be using; at least in my humble opinion. 😉

Links related to this episode:

The Future of Student Loan Debt

19 | There is a crisis of college student loan debt that is mind-blowing in its scope. Let me share some numbers with you: 44.7 million Americans have student loan debt representing $1.56 trillion owed to the government and of that HUGE amount of money, 11.5% of student loans are 90 days or more delinquent or in default. Add to these facts that students are still applying to US Universities with no sign of slowing down, at least according to the statistics portal – Statista. So, the cycle of student loan debt will continue or, will it? I happen to think that the future of student loan debt is no more long-term debt, thanks to “income sharing.” Tune in to find out what I mean.


Listen to this podcast on Anchor.fm.

Subscribe to this podcast via your favorite podcast platform!

About the host:

Over the past decade, Jim Stroud has built an expertise in sourcing and recruiting strategy, public speaking, lead generation, video production, podcasting, online research, competitive intelligence, online community management and training. He has consulted for such companies as Microsoft, Google, MCI, Siemens, Bernard Hodes Group and a host of startup companies. During his tenure with Randstad Sourceright, he alleviated the recruitment headaches of their clients worldwide as their Global Head of Sourcing and Recruiting Strategy.  He now serves ClickIQ as its VP, Product Evangelist.

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

Hi. I’m Jim Stroud and this is my podcast.

There is a crisis of college student loan debt that is mind-blowing in its scope. Let me share some numbers with you: 44.7 million Americans have student loan debt representing $1.56 trillion owed to the government and of that HUGE amount of money, 11.5% of student loans are 90 days or more delinquent or in default. Add to these facts that students are still applying to US Universities with no sign of slowing down, at least according to the statistics portal – Statista. So, the cycle of student loan debt will continue or, will it? I happen to think that the future of higher education is income sharing. I’ll tell you why I think that, after this, special message.

{sponsor message12 DuckDuckGo Search Tips You Should Know to Boost Productivity}

  • Lambda School is doing something that I think is revolutionary. Or, at the very least, is leading a revolutionary trend. Lambda School trains people online to be software engineers at no up-front cost. Instead of paying tuition, students can agree to pay a percentage of their income after they’re employed, and only if they’re making more than $50k per year. If you don’t find a job, or don’t reach that level of income, you’ll never pay a cent. Drop the mic’. Boom!Lambda School is one of the few education institutions doing this type of deferred payment initiative. The official name for this type of program is called – Income Sharing Agreements. Purdue and startup boot camps like App Academy and General Assembly offer similar ISA (income sharing agreement) programs. For the record, I love this model because it makes perfect business sense to me. ISA schools succeed when the students succeed. Such being the case, the curriculums lean towards high-salary jobs since they teach skills like iOS development, Android Development and Data Science. Looking at Lambda School objectively, its only been around a year. Will this idea work long-term? I hope so, but I don’t know. There are several successful alumni featured on its webpage and quite recently they raised $30m to expand its 6-month programs into high-demand industries like nursing and cybersecurity.So, are income sharing agreements the model all schools should adopt? If they did, what would likely happen? Umm… Let me speculate.
  • The Lambda model works well for jobs where the salaries are high. Such being the case, I don’t imagine Lambda supporting careers where the average pay is below… $50,000.00. Other schools seeking to duplicate this model, would likely follow suit which means, there would still be a lot of college debt but for people with lower incomes which, is not a good thing. But on the flip side, if more people join schools with income-sharing agreements, those jobs making less than $50k will have to raise their salaries in order to attract talent.
  • Something else to consider, a student in an income sharing agreement is not obligated to work; so during periods when the student is not working and has no income, the student does not have to make payments on their income sharing agreements. Compare that to the average student loan that you have to pay back whether you are working or not. I think this is a good thing as it will reassure students that they will only owe money on worthwhile education. So, how will some of the IVY league schools compete with that? I think they will have to offer fewer course like: Underwater Basket Weaving offered by the University of California at San Diego; or courses on pop stars like – Lady Gaga which was offered at The University of VA, officially entitled – “Gaga for Gaga: Sex, Gender and Identity.” Or, the “Joy of Garbage” which is a course designed to teach students how to manage garbage and encourage them to make less waste and recycle more. You can sign up for that at UC Berkeley.
  • And finally, one last concern, should this income sharing agreement model take off like I want it to. I think some regulation would have to be in place to protect students from predatory practices. For example, Lambda’s program puts a cap on how much money you pay back – $30,000. Competing programs could easily set a cap much higher, add late fees and without the safety net of being accountable only when you are working; how would that be any different than a government sponsored student loan? It wouldn’t be. It would be the same type of debt under a new name.

I am hopeful that the Lambda school model of income sharing agreements catches on. A good education, in exchange for a percentage of your income for a limited time is SOO much better, in my opinion, than graduating like the average college student with $39,000 in debt with 10 years to pay it back.. with interest. But that’s just my opinion. I would rather hear yours. A penny for your thoughts?

If you love what you heard, hate what you heard or, don’t know what you just heard, I want to know about it. You can reach me at my website – www.JimStroud.com. In addition to finding source material and related information for this podcast episode, you’ll find other goodies that I hope will make you smile. Oh, before I go, please financially support this podcast with a little somethin’-somethin’ in my virtual tip jar. (There’s a link in the podcast description.) Your generosity encourages me to keep this podcast train chugging down the track. Whoot-whoot, whoot-whoot, whoot-whoot…

Links related to this episode:

Music in this podcast:

Rock Angel by Joakim Karud https://soundcloud.com/joakimkarud Creative Commons — Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported— CC BY-SA 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b… Music promoted by Audio Library https://youtu.be/K8eRXvLL7Wo

Hot Coffee by Ghostrifter Official https://soundcloud.com/ghostrifter-official Creative Commons — Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported — CC BY-SA 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ Music promoted by Audio Library https://youtu.be/Y30VQPGtxOs

Who will win the Minimum Wage Fight for 15?

18 | The Fight for 15 is an American political movement advocating for the federal minimum wage to be raised to $15 per hour. The federal minimum wage was set at $7.25 per hour in 2009, and as of 2019 it has not been increased since. The movement has involved strikes by workers in child care, home healthcare, airport, gas station, convenience stores but most notably with fast food workers. What will happen if or when $15 is the minimum wage for all of the United States?  I speculate the national and global consequences in this episode of The Jim Stroud podcast.


Click here to listen to this podcast on Anchor.fm

Subscribe to this podcast via your favorite podcast platform!

About the host:

Over the past decade, Jim Stroud has built an expertise in sourcing and recruiting strategy, public speaking, lead generation, video production, podcasting, online research, competitive intelligence, online community management and training. He has consulted for such companies as Microsoft, Google, MCI, Siemens, Bernard Hodes Group and a host of startup companies. During his tenure with Randstad Sourceright, he alleviated the recruitment headaches of their clients worldwide as their Global Head of Sourcing and Recruiting Strategy.  He now serves ClickIQ as its VP, Product Evangelist.

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

Hi, I’m Jim Stroud and this is my podcast.

The Fight for 15 is an American political movement advocating for the federal minimum wage to be raised to $15 per hour. The federal minimum wage was set at $7.25 per hour in 2009, and as of 2019 it has not been increased since. The movement has involved strikes by workers in child care, home healthcare, airport, gas station, convenience stores but most notably with fast food workers.

The movement has seen some success on the state and local level. California, Massachusetts, and New York are currently in the process of raising their state minimum wage to $15 per hour and major cities such as San Francisco, New York City and Seattle, where the cost of living is significantly higher, have already raised their municipal minimum wage to $15 per hour with some exceptions.

What will happen if or when $15 is the minimum wage for all of the United States?  I speculate the national and global consequences after this special message.

{sponsor message12 DuckDuckGo Search Tips You Should Know to Boost Productivity}

The fight for a $15 minimum wage has been argued over and over and over by people who support and oppose the idea. These are the points I tend to hear, both pro and con.

If you are for a $15 minimum wage then, you are likely thinking that minimum wage workers will have more spending power which means increased sales for businesses resulting in more workers being needed. There would be less stress on social programs because people will be able to better take care of themselves. And since people would be earning more money, there would be less employee turnover thus, saving companies money from lost productivity due to vacant openings.

If you are against the $15 minimum wage, its likely because you, as a business owner, believe you cannot afford the raise in salary and must layoff workers to compensate. Plus, the increased salaries will have to be compensated for in some way, likely you will have to raise your prices and outsource some of your jobs to countries where people are willing to accept a lower pay rate. I also imagine that competition for jobs will intensify exponentially as overly qualified individuals pursue jobs that younger workers typically pursue. And when that happens, younger workers won’t have the experience needed to build their resumes.

The minimum wage debate is only going to increase in light of the fast approaching 2020 presidential election. Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has been pressuring McDonald’s to raise their minimum wage to $15 via an open letter to the CEO of McDonalds – Steve Easterbrook and a tweet which (in part), says this, “If Amazon and Disney can pay $15 an hour, so can McDonald’s, which made $5.1 billion in profits last year.”  Some people agree with Bernie Sanders. I speculate, many businesses do not.

I was in London recently and I saw something I had never seen before, inside McDonalds was a kiosk that allowed you to place your order and pay for your food. I looked at the counter where I presumed the cashier would be. There were several workers handing out food and such and some were taking orders but, I had to wonder. How many less workers were needed once these kisoks were introduced?  I did a bit of research after witnessing this and found out that McDonalds was adding these self-order and pay kiosks to 1,000 stores per quarter; not to mention their  mobile app that let you place orders with your cell phone. Very, very clever.

Now, I don’t speak for McDonalds, so I can only guess that these kiosks are McDonalds rebuttal to the “Fight for 15” movement. In other words, McDonald’s says sure, we will pay a $15 minimum wage if required but thanks to automation negating cashier jobs, that $15 an hour salary will go out to fewer workers.

So, on one hand, it looks like McDonald’s wins by employing fewer people while at the same time reaping higher profits. Right? Well, not necessarily. What happens when your customers don’t agree with your policy and protest it or, worse yet, show their discontent by shopping elsewhere? Consider this… Quite recently, Walmart announced that it was getting rid of greeters (many of whom are disabled) and would replace them with “Customer Hosts.” The plan was to go in effect at 1,000 of their stores. Shortly thereafter, there was a BIG backlash from its customers. So much so, Walmart backpedaled on their policy. Listen to this report from CBS Pittsburgh.

And here is something else to consider… Amazon. Robert Charette, a risk consultant to financial organizations made a very astute observation. Here’s a quote from 2017 that is still ringing true today…

Amazon is a leading indicator of what may come for service industries. In 2012, Amazon purchased Kiva Systems, a maker of warehouse robots, for US $775 million. The company began deploying the 320-pound, 16-inch-tall robots to its warehouses in early 2014, with some 10,000 of them operational by the end of 2014. Analysts estimatedthen that each robot replaces 1.5 full-time-equivalent human beings. Over the past two years, Amazon has added another 30,000 Kiva robots to its warehouses, as well as increased the productivity of its warehouse activities through additional automation initiatives, which allowed it to ship over 1 billion items between 1 November and 19 December 2016. While it may still be some years away, nearly completely automated Amazon (and other companies’) warehouses are seen as inevitable.

Clearly, Amazon’s automated warehouse efficiency has other consequences. It has enabled Amazon, through its online sales channel and ability to discount prices, to become the world’s eighth largest retailer(and largest online retailer). Amazon increasingly is taking market share away from traditional department stores, helping place companies like Sears, Kmart, and Macy’s, among many others, at risk. All three announced significant store closures and layoffs this past week, with Macy’s alone eliminating 10,000 jobs after disappointing holiday sales attributed to increased online sales competition. Macy’s management says it will take the savings from the layoffs and invest it into its online presence.

How many of those employees that Macy’s and other retail companies laid off will be able to find comparable work at the same salary is unknown. However, it is unlikely for very many, as few retailers that are under threat by Amazon and other online retailers are hiring permanent staff. Instead, like Macy’s, they are looking for ways to shed staff while they increase their online presence to combat Amazon and other e-commerce discounters. [END QUOTE]

And now, 3 predictions…

  1. Technology will persevere, and progress will be made, as it always has, since at least the 19th century when people protested the cotton gin and the steam engine as a threat to their way of life. But I think the transitional period will be bumpy, to say the least. As automation encroaches and younger, under-educated workers from the services sector become more and more frustrated, I think it is entirely possible to see another type of… Arab Spring but this time, on a much larger scale. Why? People losing jobs in America due to automation is one thing multiply that number by the countries we no longer need to outsource jobs too due to that same automation; and you have young angry displaced workers all over the globe, and roughly around the same time.
  2. Companies will begin to experience consumer rebellion. What do I mean by that? People will begin to make a more conscious effort to forgo automation whenever possible: for example, skipping right past the robot operator and demanding to speak to an actual human being when calling a company; not using the automated checkout lines in supermarkets and reducing reliance on ATM machines.
  3. There is a Made in America movement to support American businesses and the families that rely on them. I imagine that in the next decade, there will be a “Made by Human Hands” movement to support those businesses who refuse to fully automate their processes so they can put a human being to work.

But that’s just what I think will happen. I’m more interested in what you have to say.  Share your thoughts?

If you love what you heard, hate what you heard or, don’t know what you just heard, I want to know about it. You can reach me at my website – www.JimStroud.com. In addition to finding source material and related information for this podcast episode, you’ll find other goodies that I hope will make you smile. Oh, before I go, please financially support this podcast with a little somethin’-somethin’ in my virtual tip jar. (There’s a link in the podcast description.) Your generosity encourages me to keep this podcast train chugging down the track. Whoot-whoot, whoot-whoot, whoot-whoot…

Links related to this episode:

Music in this podcast:

► Music Credit: Dj Quads Track Name: “It’s Near” Music By: Dj Quads @ https://soundcloud.com/aka-dj-quads Original upload HERE – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UI79n… • Music promoted by NCM: https://goo.gl/fh3rEJ

Chill Soul Rap Instrumental by Nkato https://soundcloud.com/nkato Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported— CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b… Music promoted by Audio Library https://youtu.be/sdfcUBhRlgs

► Music Credit: LAKEY INSPIRED Track Name: “Days Like These” Music By: LAKEY INSPIRED @ https://soundcloud.com/lakeyinspired Original upload HERE – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTGEo… Official “LAKEY INSPIRED” YouTube Channel HERE – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOmy… License for commercial use: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported “Share Alike” (CC BY-SA 3.0) License. Full License HERE – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/… Music promoted by NCM https://goo.gl/fh3rEJ

LAKEY INSPIRED – Chill Day Download→ https://soundcloud.com/lakeyinspired/… Photo By Me: https://www.instagram.com/lakeyinspired/ ► Copyright Free For YouTubers (You must leave my YouTube or SoundCloud link in the video description)