Business & Economy
Great Communicators Get the Health-Care Jobs, Promotions, Experts Say PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 06 February 2012 14:02
2 Specialists Share Tips for Getting Your Message Across

There’s a bright spot in the U.S. employment picture: the health-care industry.

Health-care employers added 17,000 jobs in November, and they’ve been adding an average 27,000 jobs a month since December 2010, according to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

That’s the good news. The bad news is nearly 10,000 health-care workers have lost jobs since August; there were 136 mass layoffs in that time period.

“Finding work in health-care is definitely getting easier, but the stiff competition means you’ll need more than credentials to land those jobs,” says Stephanie Roberson Barnard, a communications consultant who specializes in training medical professionals to speak and write clearly and effectively.

“Check any online job-hunting Web site for science, technical, pharmaceutical, biotech and medical jobs and you’ll find one common requirement: ‘excellent communication skills,’” she and co-author Deborah St. James write in their new book, Listen. Write. Present: The Elements for Communicating Science and Technology (Yale University Press; 2012),

Unfortunately, the science-rich education required for health-care professionals leaves little room for learning how to craft a message for a particular audience, be it an email or a PowerPoint presentation. And that’s essential not only for getting jobs, but for keeping them and winning promotions, Barnard says.

She and St. James, deputy director of publications and communications for a North Carolina biotech company, offer these tips for getting your message across:

• Plan: Take time to get to know your clients, colleagues and co-workers. Establish rapport and cultivate a collaborative relationship by finding out about others’ interests (check out the pictures in their offices for clues) and inquiring about them. If you have never been to their offices, look them up on Google or their company’s Web site. Always keep your personal conversations light and professional.

• Listen: Smile, nod, and acknowledge the speaker – and mean it. Really focus on what the person is saying and not just on the words. Truly effective communication requires your full attention. It’s better to spend a few minutes concentrating on the other person’s message during a conversation than wasting time trying to remember what he or she said because you were trying to do something else. It’s okay to write or type notes as long as you ask permission first.

• Present: Practice. Practice. Practice. Need we say more? Of all the tips we offer, practicing is perhaps the most important one. People in our audiences often suggest that it’s possible to over practice. They claim that too much practicing makes a talk appear staged. We have found that the “stiff” presenters are the ones who haven’t practiced. They’re so busy trying to remember what they’re going to say, they can’t tune into the audience or deviate from their slides. In contrast, the speakers who have mastered their content seem to glide about the room, exuding just the right amount of enthusiasm.

• Meet: Respect people’s time by presenting materials simply. The biggest complaint people have about meetings is that they last too long. For this reason, presenting your ideas in a simple, concise fashion will give you the advantage of appearing focused and prepared. Remember, never compromise content for simplicity.

• Serve: Be kind to others. It costs nothing and requires no skill. Your kind words, good deed, or thoughtful gift may even launch a cascade of positive gestures among others. A recent study by researchers from the University of California San Diego and Harvard University suggests that cooperative behavior spreads among people. This ripple effect can have a wonderful positive impact on the corporate culture of your organization.

“Good leaders must learn to communicate not only within their field of expertise but also to reach people outside their field of authority, influence and passion,” Barnard says. “With proper training and practice anyone can become a better communicator.”

About Stephanie Roberson Barnard

Stephanie Roberson Barnard has trained thousands of pharmaceutical industry professionals on how to be more effective speakers, writers and communicators. She has also coached hundreds of health-care professionals on presentation skills for FDA hearings, CFO reports and scientific speaker programs, as well as national and international congresses. Her clients include AstraZeneca, Bayer Corporation, WL Gore, and Boehringer Ingelheim. This is her second Yale Press book collaboration with Deborah St. James.

About Deborah St. James

Deborah St. James is Deputy Director of Publications and Scientific Communications at Grifols. She has worked in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry for more than 20 years. Prior to her current position, she was Bayer Corporation’s senior manager for national sales training in the pharmaceutical division. She is a former college English instructor and Senior Editor of Better Health magazine.

Braley Statement on President’s Veterans’ Jobs Corps Proposal PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Monday, 06 February 2012 09:20

Washington, DC – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) released the following statement today after President Obama urged Congress to create a new Veterans Jobs Corps that would put veterans to work as first responders or as workers repairing trails, building roads, and doing other projects on public lands:

“After holding a hearing just yesterday on reducing veterans’ unemployment, I welcome the idea of a Veterans Jobs Corps.  One out of every four combat veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan is out-of-work, and this program could help reduce that number.


“Men and women who’ve put their lives on the line for our country deserve every opportunity when they return home.  Why not provide them the opportunity to continue contributing to the nation they love, whether as firefighters, cops, or rangers?  They’ve already rebuilt Iraq and Afghanistan.  It’s time to give them the chance to help rebuild America.”

Braley is the highest-ranking Democrat on the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity.

# # #

STATE FARM® HIRING Top Employer Seeks Qualified Candidates PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Missy Dundov   
Monday, 06 February 2012 09:07
Bloomington, IL (February 3, 2012)--State Farm reports nearly 3,000 openings across the United States and Canada.
State Farm’s commitment to creating innovative solutions to serve customers and policyholders is generating employment opportunities.
“As we continue to define our workforce to best meet our customers’ evolving needs, we are seeking skills and talents from numerous diverse labor markets,” said State Farm Vice President Human Resources, Mary Schmidt.
Named a top employer, State Farm is a family of insurance and financial services companies that together serve tens of millions of customers. Our business lines offer more than 100 products.
State Farm has offices in all 50 states and three Canadian provinces. Current openings exist in:
  • Claims
  • Customer Service
  • IT/Systems
  • Underwriting

Governor Quinn Announces Chrysler Increasing Production at Belvidere Plant to Build Next Generation of Vehicles PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Nafia Khan   
Friday, 03 February 2012 15:55

State’s Support Helping to Create 1,800 Jobs

BELVIDERE – February 2, 2012. One day after laying out the Illinois Jobs Agenda for 2012 in his State of the State address, Governor Pat Quinn today announced that Chrysler Group LLC is ramping up production at its Belvidere plant to help build its next generation of vehicles. The company has invested $700 million to retool the plant and will begin production of the new Dodge Dart in the second quarter of 2012. In fall 2010, Governor Quinn announced a business investment package for the company that is supporting the creation of up to 1,800 new jobs and has been instrumental to Chrysler’s decision to expand in Illinois.

“The auto industry is essential to growing our economy. Illinois automakers and their suppliers are thriving today because we have helped meet their needs,” Governor Quinn said. “By providing companies like Chrysler with the tools they need, we’re helping them not only succeed but thrive.”

As part of its investment, Chrysler opened a 638,000 square-foot body shop to support production of the Dart, in addition to installing new machinery, tooling and material handling equipment. The new body shop increased the size of the Belvidere assembly plant to 4.8 million square feet. The plant also includes a 330,000-square-foot stamping plant. The Belvidere facility currently produces the Jeep® Compass and Jeep Patriot.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is administering the state’s business investment package. The package consists of EDGE tax credits, Employer Training Investment Program (ETIP) job-training funds that will help enhance the skills of the company’s workforce, and Large Business Development Program funds for capital improvements. Chrysler will also benefit from being located in an Enterprise Zone.

“The Rock River Valley has emerged as a strong leader in the transportation industry, and Chrysler has undoubtedly played a major role in building that reputation,” said DCEO Director Warren Ribley. “Today we’re pleased to stand beside them as they chart a course towards the future that includes their continued commitment to Illinois.”

Illinois added more than 52,000 jobs in 2011, and has added nearly 100,000 jobs since 2010. Since January 2010, Illinois has added almost 20,000 manufacturing jobs.

For more information on why Illinois is the right place for any business, visit



Pennsylvania’s largest charter school may close as nearby school district steals its funds PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ben Velderman   
Friday, 03 February 2012 14:50
By Ben Velderman
EAG Communications
CHESTER, Pa. - Three thousand students at Pennsylvania’s largest charter school face the imminent risk of having their school year cancelled in the coming days or weeks, and seeing their school “stop operations” entirely due to a lack of funds.
That grim reality is a direct result of decisions by officials in the nearby Chester Upland School District to keep state funds legally owed to the Chester Community Charter School, and to use them instead to bail the district out of its “self-inflicted budgetary crisis.”
That’s according to a legal brief filed by attorneys representing the Chester Community Charter School in response to last month’s judicial ruling that gave the Chester Upland School District a $3.2 million state bailout, and left the charter school holding almost $7 million in I.O.U. notes.
Attorneys for the Chester Community Charter School (CCCS) say the school faces a very real risk of shutting down because it cannot pay its bills.
As a result, it is “extremely likely that Chester Community Charter will have to stop operations, turning in excess of 3,000 students, nearly 700 with disabilities, out on the streets in the middle of the school year.”
Jeff Dailey, an attorney who represents the families of 10 Chester Community Charter students in the ongoing legal dispute, told EAG that his clients “include children with cerebral palsy, dyslexia, reading issues and others, all of whom are in jeopardy of having their school shut down.”
The charter school is facing insolvency because of the school district's “theft of money that should have gone to educate kids attending non-profit publicly established charter schools, like CCCS,” Dailey wrote in an email.
Several of his special needs clients chose to attend the charter school because of its successful track record of serving special needs students.
These students have blossomed academically and socially since attending the charter school, Dailey said. If CCCS is forced into bankruptcy, those special needs students would be forced to attend the traditional school district (CUSD), which is unable to sufficiently meet their needs.
The students’ continued success is very much in jeopardy, Dailey said.
Bailouts for school district, I.O.U.s for charter school
In Pennsylvania, school funding occurs on a monthly basis. The state government gives money to each school district, based on the number of students within that district.
From those funds, the school district is legally obligated to pass along the per-pupil amount it owes to the local charter schools, as determined by the number of students attending each charter. The traditional school districts act as the middle man in funding charter schools.
If a school district fails to pay the charter as required by law, the state is to deduct the amount owed to the charter school from “any and all state payments made to the district,” according to the Pennsylvania charter school law.
The Chester Upland School District has not made its full monthly payments to Chester Community Charter Schools since March 2011. Beginning in April 2011, the state took over the payments and has sent $23.5 million to the charter school, but still owes it about $6.8 million.
Last December, the Chester Community Charter School filed a lawsuit against the state of Pennsylvania to recover the almost $7 million it’s owed by the Chester Upland School District and – indirectly – the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
The charter school needs the $6.8 million – and the $3 million it’s legally entitled to receive every month –  to pay employees, vendors, and its building leases. If no action is taken, CCCS faces a total deficit of $21.8 million.
It now appears the charter school may not be receiving any money from the state until CUSD’s lawsuit against the state is resolved in the spring. The school district is suing the state for extra funding to make up for its ballooning budget problems.
As part of last month’s $3.2 million temporary bailout given to the Chester Upland School District, U.S. District Judge Michael M. Baylson prohibited the Pennsylvania Department of Education “from withholding subsidies to the Chester Upland School District until further order of the court.”
Baylson ordered that the $3.2 million be given to CUSD “for the payment of salaries and compensation to school district employees and to the vendors of the school district.” 

That’s fine for the school district, but what about the charter school?
“The recent temporary deal between the Department of Education and the Chester Upland School District does not provide any money for the charter schools, and effectively closes off funding for the rest of the year,” Dailey said.
On Monday, the Commonwealth Court denied the charter school’s request for immediate payment from the state, and effectively said the school will have to make do until the scheduled hearing in April.
The court’s decision means the charter school’s deficit will be “$10 million on February 5 and over $13 million on March 5,” an amount that “imperils CCCS and its students,” charter school officials said in a press release.
“The implication of the ruling is that the charter school – and its three thousand Chester students – should suffer the negative effects of program reductions and layoffs in order to establish credibility for our reasonable efforts to obtain funding required to continue to provide high quality education to the children of the City of Chester,” the release reads.
Charter suffers due to district mismanagement
Chester Community Charter School is not only the largest charter school in Pennsylvania, but it educates 60 percent of all K-8 students in the city of Chester.
Charter school officials note that the school has functioned within its financial means, and is only facing a financial crisis because CUSD officials have illegally withheld funding.
While the charter school receives less than the state’s $13,700 per pupil average, its students have achieved Annual Yearly Progress (as defined by the No Child Left Behind law) for three consecutive years, according to the press release.
In contrast, the Chester Upland district “spends more than $17,000 to educate each student enrolled in a district school,” Pennsylvania Education Secretary Ronald Tomalis recently wrote in a letter to state Sen. Andrew Dinniman.
“Moreover, CUSD has been the beneficiary of extraordinary state assistance for years,” Tomalis writes, including “$9.5 million in special appropriations over and above those provided through the traditional means of funding all Pennsylvania’s school districts.”
“The District knows that it budgeted improperly, and it knows that it overspent available revenues,” Tomalis writes.
While the Chester Upland district has mismanaged its resources and illegally spent the charter schools’ resources, it is Chester Community Charter students who stand to suffer the consequences.
The charter school has taken out loans to meet its payroll, rent payments and daily expenses. The interest charged on these loans means the charter school will have less money to spend on students in the future.
“If CCCS is unable to make these payments, it will have catastrophic effects on CCCS’s ability to continue operations,” CCCS Chief Financial Officer Robert Olivo wrote in an affidavit.
Pennsylvania taxpayers are left to wonder why state officials are letting one of the state’s most effective and fiscally responsible charter schools twist in the wind, even while more money is being poured into an ineffective and irresponsible government-run school district.
If Pennsylvania citizens want to understand what’s wrong with their state’s public education system, the case of Chester Community Charter School versus the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Education is a good place to start.
Contact Ben Velderman at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (231) 733-4202

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