Our Future Workforce Needs Some Help

One of the staggering factoids that came out of last week's National Governor's conference was cited by Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack - "75 percent of American young adults ages 17 to 24 are unable to enlist in the military primarily because they fail to graduate high school,have a criminal record, or are physically unfit."

In fact there is an organization of retired military officers who have dedicated themselves to changing this scary statistic . Never mind whether you are a hawk or a dove, just think about the implication of 75% of our young men and women not being able to pass a readiness test, and the biggest root cause is lack of nutrition.

Last month at Summer Camp, we talked about the looming skills gap in our workforce, particularly as it relates to the large numbers of entry level employees that we need to staff the service sector. It doesn't take a big leap of the imagination to realize that these statistics won't just impact the military. Over 60% of the employees currently hired by the foodservice industry are in the 16 - 24 age range.

Two organizations who are working on the problem are Share Our Strength, and Schools Serve. Next week on July 22, Share Our Strength is hosting a webinar to engage marketers and operators in the Great American Dineout - an opportunity to use cause related marketing in the challenge to end childhood hunger, and build your business. Diana Hovey, SVP of marketing for Corner Bakery Cafe, and Amanda Hite, CEO & founder of Talent Revolution will host. You can register here:

If you are a parent, a teacher, a member of a PTO or PTA, or just care about your local school kids, Schools Serve, is another great organization that is working on this issue. Started by PTO Today publisher Tim Sullivan, it is a great example of building community wealth, and helping solve a problem that is going to need a lot of focus from both public and private organizations. "Imagine millions of school children activated around one fundamental cause. Imagine millions of our future leaders instilled with a respect for and a passion for the value of service."

Helping a kid is always a good idea. Making sure that we will have a workforce that can compete - that's just smart


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  • Thank you for posting this joni. wow.
  • Michael thank you - it's funny when I was writing this post - I was thinking about Jamie and the Food Revolution - this is why I believe that our industry is so strategically aligned with the issues of nutrition and childhood hunger. At Share Our Strength we know that it is hard to convince a donor or partner that a child who is "fat" needs help - or nutritious food. This video is tough to watch -and it is tough to separate our livelihoods today from the issue and the future - but I deeply believe that what we do today - to give our kids a shot - and our students a fighting chance - will pay huge dividends in the years ahead. Thank you for asking us to watch. Joni
  • Jaimie Oliver's TED speech on his Food Revolution movement...

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