Techniques Magazine Techniques Magazine May 2011 : Page 15

part of this is partnering with education because the strength of your company is directly proportional to the strength of your workforce. And that has to do with education. From a Snap-on point of view, we think we’re doing a reasonable job with the concept of continuous improvement. We think we could do a lot better. But we try, to the extent that we can, to make sure that educational institutions have the best equipment. We try to participate in the development of curriculum around some of these enablers I talked about before— diagnostics and equipment and sophisti-cated tools. We try to help directly when we can, and we try to participate in the national dialogue through organizations like ACTE. BA: What is different about the American worker and what we do in our educational system that might provide us some unique talents and unique abilities to continue to stay as a strong manufacturing country? NP: Well actually that uniqueness is eroding. When our company was founded in 1920, our founder engaged the most powerful commercial force in the world that day—that was the American worker: energetic, dedicated, committed, great work ethic. And workers still have that to-day in the United States. But globalization and the ending of hot and cold wars have enabled other workforces to adopt those same characteristics. So the difference will be played out in how well we make our workforce capable, so they can add capa-bility to this work ethic, to this dedication, to this energy. BA: What strategies would you advise education leaders employ outside of their school environment? NP: I think I’ll answer that question in a couple of ways. I think they can do just what you and many of your colleagues are doing: try to engage, try to spend time with business people. Time on the meter is everything. And so when you do that, you start to understand the needs and em-phasis that business has, and that’s a very www.acteonline.org positive thing. And then they [businesses] understand the needs and emphasis of educators. I think education needs to seize the spotlight a little bit. For example, I think we have to raise it on the national agenda. When I was younger, there was Sputnik. Well, I wasn’t born then, of course…but the thing is there was Sputnik. And it was almost a national calling; education was almost a national calling. It certainly was a national priority. And one of the most important things is that educators have to work to get the government, whatever side of the aisle it is, to prioritize education as its number one priority and to make it a national calling so that it captures the imagination of the students. Because to-day, I don’t think it’s such a high priority, as high a priority as it was before. I think the other thing is, as part of that, we have to look at what is the practical nature of education? One of the great things if you spend time with business is that you can get that; you can get a culture of practical-ity associated with your education, not teaching things that may be of no use in the actual living of your life or pursuing of jobs. And then the practical scorecard for every educator, I think, and they need to hold themselves accountable to this, is: how many jobs do they actually deliver to their students? How much prosperity and fulfill -ment do they bring to their students? I think, today, if educators actually shined a very harsh light on themselves, they would find that it’s not as good. They’re not as strong in that criteria as it was before. To listen to the podcast of the full interview with Snap-on’s Nick Pinchuk, visit www. acteonline.org/podcasts.aspx . Ma Y 2011 Techniques 15

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