MTT Program Supporter
Well.. Life is interesting!
Some of you may already know, but after 12 years I decided to resign from my position at Georgia Southern. This was a tough decision to make given the current economic situation. It's pretty sad that I can have a larger impact on the student body outside the University than from within. Simply put there are political roadblocks that continuously hinder program growth and innovation.
As a business owner I have a very unique perspective. I see the quality of students, graduates, and employees full circle.
My involvement with Georgia Southern does not stop with my resignation, I will just be taking a different seat at the table. I still plan to stay engaged with the Motorsports program, participate in the industrial advisory committee and establish a financial plan to solidify the future for the Motosports team.
Racing isn't a hobby for my family, it's our lifestyle.
I could write a very interesting autobiography however it would be a distraction.
Moving forward I have committed myself to making a difference.
Here are some interesting statistics. This is old data, pre covid, and our situation doesn't look like it's improving any time soon so check out this data.
Each year, approximately 20,000 youth will age out of the foster care system in the US.
There are 74.2 million people under 18 in the United States. That’s 24% of the total population.
Nearly 40% of children in the United States live in low-income families with incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty level.
Only 1 in 10 youth from low-income families go on to graduate from a four-year college, compared with 28% of youth from middle-income families and 50% of youth from high-income families.
70 percent of young adults today are ineligible to join the U.S. military because they fail academic, moral or health qualifications.
354 Children are arrested every day in America. 180 Children are arrested for violent crimes.
It is tough to wrap your head around these figures.
What can we do?
Those of you who really know me know that I have always functioned in some sort of mentoring capacity. I didn't even realize I was doing it. In hindsight it has been around me all my life. My parents both worked very hard to provide for us. My parents also provided for anyone who needed it. I didn't realize it at the time and I don't think they did.
Any given day there would be anywhere from 4 to 10 kids at my house. We would always be working in the shop tinkering with cars, race cars, dirt bikes, or with my brother's paintball business. Our house became a safe haven for several kids. We got in our fair share of mischief as teenagers but it was mostly PG13. To this day I still pick on my Mom because she doesn't know how to cook for a family of 4 because she always cooked for 10 or more.
So where am I going with this?
Things change for better or for worse. The “old timers” always referred to the good old days, or say back in my day or some other reference to their perspective. The truth is modern technology has put the spotlight on a lot of pre-existing issues that were essentially ignored for decades.
1-There is a shortage of skilled labor
2-Modern Education has evolved into a commercial enterprise
3-Everyone has their hands out
4-College graduates “EXPECT” a ridiculous amount of compensation for wall paper and most do not have the drive to be successful contributors to society or industry.
5- The vast majority of the students I have encountered over the past 12 years lack motivation and are only participating in college because their parents told them there was no other way to be successful.
Don't misunderstand me, I'm not against getting a degree. I am 100% against going through the motions without a GOAL!
Months ago my wife and I had a conversation about how I wanted to do it differently. I have this picture in my head of an education system that has specific objectives, targeted vocational training, industry shaped and sponsored positions. It would take another four pages to fully explain my plan, but for now just watch!
Phase 1 was to identify the ideal student and a NAME for the program. I hope to be able to one day help military civilian transition in conjunction with the foster system but for this phase I will focus on the At Risk Youth 16-18.
What do I mean by “At Risk Youth”? Google has a pretty decent definition.
Simply put it's the kids “society” labels as destined for failure?
Society suggests that kids born into drug homes are destined for failure, society suggests that kids who are abandoned are destined for failure, society suggests that kids in broken homes are destined for failure the list goes on and on. Most labeled “at risk” are never given the opportunity, some have never left their neighborhood. It's crazy to process this and if you're reading this you're probably not at risk.
I believe our “at risk” population is extremely motivated to make a change thus I am starting what I am calling the Manufacturing Technology Transition Program.
I am working with some very well respected names in the industry, a few regional programs and foster networks. I'm working with the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and the Tooling U platform for the vocational training modules. I will use our existing manufacturing business to provide the platform for delivery and execution. We are currently leasing a portion of a 35,000 sqft building with the goal to raise the money to lease the remainder of the building. I am currently working on acquiring a few modern machining centers, robotic manipulators etc. I am working with a few donors on the necessary equipment to build out a classroom. At the end of the day I want our product to be talented people with a new outlook on life and the skills to be successful. I hope to gain recognition from regional industry leaders that can help support our efforts.
To launch a program of this magnitude it will require a substantial investment but these kids deserve a chance. Their situation is not the sum of their bad choices, it's often a result of their circumstances and by doing nothing we are doing something that I fear is irreversible
Once we get a few pieces of the puzzle in place I will probably make a series of videos to showcase what we are doing and the milestones.