Archive for February, 2008

Improve skills, lower your unemployment rate

Monday, February 25th, 2008

Economist Charles Wheelan says that decreasing the national unemployment rate is not going to happen by the government “creating jobs.” Instead, he believes the government needs to focus their funds and energy into education. He says “a sensible government should help to create a skilled workforce and a decent business climate. If it does that, the jobs will take care of themselves.”

When broken down, the stats support this. According to the Department of Labor, the unemployment rate is:

8.2 percent for high school dropouts.

4.7 percent for high school graduates with no college.

3.7 percent for workers with an associate’s degree or some college.

2 percent for workers with a bachelor’s degree and higher.

So, by increasing your education and skills in your job field, you can decrease your own chances of finding yourself unemployed. Find out more about technical training programs to improve your professional marketability.

Read Wheelan’s full article here.

The Future of Independent Film and Filmmakers

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle has got me thinking about independent film and whether I should go to film school. In “Independent Film Festival: Rebels in reel time,”  Jeff Ross, the founder of the San Francisco Independent Film Festival, discusses what it means to be independent in 2008.

Ross likens independent film to pornography, saying that you know it when you see it. But when he tries to pin down a definition it doesn’t get much clearer. He says, “There’s an aesthetic to indie films. It used to mean films like Clerks and Slackers, Jim Jarmusch, things like that. It doesn’t necessarily mean outside or inside the studio system.”
In other words, the term “independent” no longer has anything to do with whether or not a film was produced independently of a major studio. So what has happened to independent filmmaking?

Over the past 20 years, it became easier for smaller films with smaller budgets to get noticed. Look at El Mariachi, the 1992 film shot for $7,000 that won the Audience Award at Sundance and gave Robert Rodriguez his start. For a brief moment in history, any film school graduate with a camera and decent editing skills could shoot the next big little film, hoping to make a splash at Sundance, SXSW or their local film festival.

This all changed when the average moviegoer started seeing independent films. Hollywood saw a market for films aimed at an adult audience and wanted to cash in. And so, gave birth to the “independent studio” (an oxymoron if ever there was one).

Enter a slew of “independent” films backed by major studios like Sony, Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox. With co-financing of films, it has become difficult to distinguish a small budget studio film from a truly independent one.

Even though major studios have co-opted the term “independent,” things are not necessarily bleak. Recent successes like No Country for Old Men (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) and Juno (Fox Searchlight) have proven that a market still exists for smaller, character-driven films.

Is it still possible for a student from an online film school or digital film school to get recognized on the film festival circuit? Sure. But it doesn’t hurt to be aware of the shifting expectations of independent film. Creativity and solid production values are still essential, but the target audience is widening.

“I think indie means thinking man’s entertainment,” says Ross. “Fun movies that aren’t spoon-fed but don’t feel like work. My shorthand is art films with car chases.”

All-girl team in auto repair tech competition

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

Shop class is not just for men these days! From MountainView High School and Peoria’s Sunrise Mountain High School in Arizona, two all-girl teams are practicing for a pit-crew challenge between teams from area high school auto shop classes. The pit-crew challenge will draw about four dozen teams of students from Arizona high school automotive technology shop classes.

They will compete by performing the following challenges as a team: rotating tires, torquing lug nuts, changing oil filters and replacing spark plugs. The fastest team wins a used vehicle for use in their high school’s  shop class.

The girls are especially excited to prove themselves against the usual stereotype that girls don’t do auto repair tech because “it’s a dirty job.” One team member, Jessica Coolbaugh, likes auto repair tech because it makes her stand out as a woman in a male-dominated industry.

While some of the girls may continue on to further education in auto repair tech training to make a career, other team members did this as a hobby. For one, Stephanie Hilton-Acosta, “it’s a passion,” but she hopes to study to become a nurse after high school.

Technical-Schools-Guide makes a global impact!

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

Technical-Schools-Guide.com is going global!

Helping Americans change their lives by enrolling in a technical training program is our primary focus. But this month, we decided to try something new. We are now providing loans to small business start-ups in other countries through a website called Kiva.org.

This is such a great opportunity for us to extend our mission overseas to help people who otherwise wouldn’t have the funds to get their businesses started. We’ve strategically picked some entrepreneuers with interests similar to some of the trades for which we offer training. Check out Kiva.org and learn more about the people that we are lending to their futures! If you want, setup your own account and start lending – loans can be as small as $25, so anyone can help in this mission to decrease global poverty!

Top 5 best-paying jobs for your Associate degree

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

For years, the Associate degree has been looked upon as the starting point for higher education. Most people who complete their Associate degree at a technical school transfer to a four-year college or university. But there are many high-paying jobs available to Associate-degree holders.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has ranked the following careers as the highest-paying jobs typically held by those with Associate degrees.

Computer Specialist – $59,480
Computer specialists perform tasks ranging from managing network security to providing technical support to help-desk consulting. Career opportunities are expected to increase by 19 percent through 2014.

Nuclear Technician – $59,200
Nuclear technicians will probably experience a 14 percent growth in job opportunities over the next eight years. Nuclear technicians are needed to monitor radiation levels and operate nuclear test and research equipment.
Dental Hygienist – $58,350
Now that dental hygiene has taken a front seat in personal grooming, dental hygienists are in high demand. Aside from a 43 percent growth in job opportunities, they also enjoy high salaries. Dental hygienists assist with routine dental services, such as teeth cleanings and X-rays.

Radiation Therapist – $57,700
Cancer and tumor patients interact with radiation therapists on a regular basis. Radiation therapists are responsible for administering radiation therapy to cancer patients. Increases in the number of cancer patients should fuel the 26 percent projected growth over the next eight years.

Nuclear Medicine Technologist – $55,840
Organ monitoring tests that require radioactive materials are generally administered by nuclear medicine technologists. This field is expected to grow by more than 21 percent through 2014.

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