Scottish author and reformer Samuel Smiles once said, “the spirit of self-help is the root of all genuine growth in the individual.” I strongly believe that and in my August Circuits Assembly column discuss the model the late Olin King used at SCI Systems, Inc. to foster a culture of opportunity for those willing to put in the extra hours to take advantage of those benefits.
While there is room for debate on King’s management style, I suspect that if back in the 80s entrepreneurs at more large manufacturing concerns had worked as closely with their local and state resources as King did, we might have better trained workforces, education systems that worked and a lot less government bureaucracy tied to job creation. The tuition refund program described in the column would be impossible for any company to afford now that universities have grown into bloated bureaucracies more worried about achieving academic or athletic bragging rights than educating students at an affordable cost. Similarly, many public job creation initiatives require companies to spend inordinate amounts of time on paperwork for relatively minor cost offsets, have multiple approval cycles that create unworkable lead-time or worse offer funding that unexpectedly runs out.
That said, I recognize that some EMS companies still find ways to offer employee benefits for self-improvement, in spite of the industry’s slim margins. I periodically write columns that highlight that point and given the fact that “outsourcing” is now a political wedge issue, will likely focus on the contributions EMS companies make to their local communities in column in the near future. So, if your company has a benefit program designed to increase worker skills (whether job-related or just for pure self-improvement), feel free to drop me an email or comment on this post. I’ll get back to you to discuss it in more detail before I write that column.