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It's time to introduce a disruptive innovation in workforce and business development and that is the purpose of this book.
The American Worker has been cut off and is adrift in the mainstream economy. In the spring of 2010 over 17% were unemployed, underemployed, trying to enter the job market for the first time or to re-enter after several years of separation. To that 17% I would add many others that do not have the needed technical skills, have lost hope and are no longer actively searching and the actual figure rises to well above 20%. The American Workers' dreams of starting their own businesses are clouded in confusion and uncertainty. Dwarfing all of this is their concern for their long-term survival as a worker or entrepreneur in this volatile and unpredictable economy. There is a bewildering array of career directions to choose from but which ones will still be viable in two, three, or five years? Even though the economy may be rebounding there is a continuing concern for choosing a career path that offers some protection against another weak job market following upon the heels of a repeat of the economic disaster. They need help and advice.
At the same time the American Entrepreneur has been cut off and is adrift in the mainstream economy. Their biggest issue is whether or not their business idea has any staying power. Can their idea make money for them and if so, what is the best way to make it happen? If they think they are putting themselves in harms and at risk of their idea being replicated by an off-shore company, what should they do? What can they do? Can they leverage technology to insulate their business idea from the entry of new competitors? They need help and advice too!
Business incubation centers (BIC) are located in every state but the services they offer are more of the passive operational type of support than they are of the proactive strategic support that is needed. The Small Business Administration (SBA) was formed in 1953 and there are now over 1100 local Small Business Development Centers (SBDC). SBDCs offer consulting services using student teams under the guidance of faculty members but the services tend to be more cursory than meaningful. They need a support structure that creates a true partnership with them that is focused on the success of their business venture. They need an objective evaluation of their idea and strategic advice on how or even if they should proceed.
I would be remiss if I didn't recognize the interdependence between the American Worker and the American Entrepreneur. Many times they are the same person and have decided to launch their own business to get back into or enter for the first time the mainstream of the economy. Their needs range from the very fundamental understanding of business formation and development to a complete dependence on outside assistance. They need help and there isn't any organized one-stop service they can turn to.
The primary market for this book is large - educators, trainers, human resource managers, career counselors, corporate university program managers, continuing education and workforce development directors and anyone who has a need for a practical and comprehensive approach to the career and professional development of the workforce so that they are ready to compete successfully. The major adoption will be at the managerial and administrative levels in designing, developing and implementing post-secondary training programs. The secondary market is the career and professional development needs of the individual. I will include career planning and professional development guidance and resources for them.