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Monday, May 25, 2009

Next Meeting - June 5, 2009

Meeting Time 12:30pm - 2:00pm
Location Firehouse (Clay UM Church South)
Address 17646 Cleveland Road South Bend, IN

Link to Google Map

This weeks Meeting

Pat McMahon
Director of Project Future of St. Joseph County

will speak on:
“How we can expect technology to impact our economy and job markets”


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Meeting May 22, 2009

We met in the main hall at Clay Firehouse Youth Center where Hodge Patel, District Director from the Office of Congressman Joe Donnelly spoke on “The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and How it Impacts You”. Mr. Patel explained how Federal programs are impacting the Michiana Community, and explained what Congressman Donnelly can, and cannot do to directly impact the job picture in South Bend, Elkhart, Mishawaka and surrounding communities. We were pleased to hear about a new Veterans Clinic that will bring new jobs to the area, and were interested to hear about developments with Electric Motor Company. Those interested in becoming more involved with Congressman Donnelly's efforts are encouraged to contact his office and learn about opportunities to participate in advisory councils on subjects ranging from Veterans Affairs to Jobs.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Meeting - May 15, 2009


Amy Kanouse of Indiana's medical support programs

Norm Robertson leader of St. Pious Job Support Ministry and owner of Mishawaka's Express Employment

Amy opened the meeting with an explanation of Indiana's medical insurance programs for adults and children.

Norm spoke on the importance of building an effective job search campaign.


Elkhart Chamber Presentation: David Zachs, Futurist

First, thank you for asking me to attend this presentation on Monday (May 11) at the Matterhorn Restaurant in Elkhart. The speaker, David Zach, Futurist, was very thought provoking and provided a very good overview of the fads and trends impacting our way of life and economy.
As you know, the presentation was sponsored by the Elkhart Chamber of Commerce with approximately 40 people in attendance that spanned representatives from local government (John Letherman--County Commissioner), Economic Development Corporation as well as people representing local businesses, health care and social services.
Mr. Zachs has carved out a career as a Futurist for well over 15 years, giving presentations to a wide variety of organizations---community civic organizations (Chambers of Commerce, Rotary, Optimist, Kiwanis Clubs, Corporations, Regional Development Groups, Service organizations).
The discussion centered on the major influences and trends that are occurring around us and how we need to consider the implications of these influences/trends as we look to carve out what Elkhart
/ Elkhart County should look like in 10-20 years.
Some of the major trends:
(1) Age of Design--the better the design of the item, the better the value. This does not only suggest the design of a article, component, piece of equipment; rather, it also considers how you design 'access' to your organization (simple things like access ramps, doorways, web sites, etc). The value of good design will continue to take on a stronger and stronger role in the future. (An interesting comment from an architect was that instruction manuals are indications of poor design)
Reference Book---A Whole New Mind---Daniel H. Pink
(2) Age of Measurement--our capabilities to measure things more precisely drives organizations to focus more effort on measuring many of its activities to improve efficiencies, enhance quality, better understand trends. However, the more we measure the more we are raising question on 'trust' of our people versus the talents they possess. We need to balance the interest and need to measure versus a strong focus on design (of products, work procedures, instructions).
Reference Book---The Pirate's Dilemma--Matt Mason
Some recent businesses (i.e., Craig's List, Drudge report) are examples of questioning or 'hacking' the current rules--Craig's List--providing 'ads' for free on the Internet was very disruptive to newspapers as the Drudge Report and other blogs are to news services. China is also a very disruptive force to US manufacturing.
As we currently view the how products are made, information is shared, services provided are there trends or 'hackers' that are starting to disrupt the rules as we know them.
(3) Automation--we are finding the items that help perform basic tasks are becoming more and more automated, moving you to focus your efforts elsewhere (i.e., vacuum cleaners--in Japan, robots are taking over more tasks)
(4) Location--the amenities and cost of living of a location will become a more important aspect of work due to our ability to remotely access systems, data and availability of telecommunications.
(5) Customization--the breadth of product options continue to expand turning customers into co-workers in designing of products and services
(6) Data Environments---power of computing is driving more local ability to create and store vast amounts of data locally
(7) Wealth Invention
(8) Everything Gets to Talk--RFID tags becoming more miniature, thereby creating a mechanism down the road for businesses to automatically know their stock levels and re-order points and to establish systems to remove need for human intervention in the process of procurement and re-ordering.
(9) Risks vs Innovation--if everything gets measured and there is more instantaneous communication on changes (RFID tags that can communicate shifts in inventory, etc) will this reduce the entrepreneurial spirit of taking risks
(10) Healthcare vs Care--advances in monitoring devices for the elderly are becoming so advanced that a person can be remotely monitored on a variety of fronts--will this 'enhanced' healthcare reduce our contacting our loved ones to check on how they are doing?
(11) Nanotechnology--we are understanding more and more about the laws of nature as gain more insight into this technology
Future attitudes will be seduced by fads (there is money to be made on taking advantage of emerging fads) but trends are about investments over time.
What should Elkhart/Elkhart County do in reshaping the breadth of industries and services that would form the economic base for the future?
(1) Take breaks and speak to strangers (David Zach example---start taking on the cues from 'smokers')
(2) Get engaged with others--breaking bread breaks barriers (Example--start drinking)--engage other communities
(3) Re-learn to fight dragons---dragons can be beaten. They are different today--arrogance, intransigence.
(4) Set a time frame--establish a frame of reference and establish benchmarks. Also, in remaking the future of Elkhart, do not simply forget the past but learn from the past and extract those virtues and strengths of this region and build from that basis.
My take is that the message Mr. Zach was conveying to the group had many aspects of the situation that all of us as job seekers are currently facing in determining what we need to do to land that next career opportunity-----
(1) Who am I and what do I want to do (my strengths, weaknesses, transferable skills)
(2) Developing your message (resume, cover letter, elevator speech, other marketing materials)
(3) Targeting your campaign (industries, companies, functions, positions, locations)
(4) Networking through direct and indirect means
(5) Establish your targets to monitor progress on your campaign
(6) Adapt/change your strategy, approach to what has, has not previously worked (learn from the past)
Overall, I found his comments very stimulating but also is and will become a daunting challenge for the community leaders in the room who need to develop a vision for the region by talking with other communities who have gone through or are going through these transformations while pulling in business, civic, educational and service leaders for their inputs and insights. In the end, this transformation for the region will be evolutionary over 10-20 years but will need to have some strong principles established as to what Elkhart needs to retain from its past while laying out clear markers (5, 10 years out) of progress to measure our advance in changing Elkhart and Elkhart County to this 'new' region.
For members in our networking groups, our vision and need is definitely more immediate but we all want to be more assured that the opportunity we choose or position we take will provide us not only a challenge at an acceptable wage or salary but that this region continues to provide a rich opportunity for years to come. While it is our personal responsibility to perform well at our jobs it is also our responsibility and need to keep ourselves up to date on our skills and add those we need to remain competitive in this changing economic environment. We are hopeful that this region continues to prosper as a rich manufacturing environment but recognize the need to have a broader base of industry to better support the region and weather any economic downturn.

D. Gregory Wilkerson


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Meeting - May 8th

Meeting Time 12:30pm - 2:00pm

Location Firehouse (Clay UM Church South)
Address 17646 Cleveland Road South Bend, IN

Link to Google Map

This weeks Meeting

This week's meeting continued to build on networking skills with a focus on establishing an "I am" statement.

Upcoming Speakers

MCN - May 15th
  • Speaker will explain Indiana Insurance Options


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Job Search Seminar:

April 30th

Demystifying the job search puzzle seminar is scheduled
RSVP: michianacareernetwork@gmail.com

Elkhart, Ind. -- April 25, 2009 -- People Between Jobs (PBJ) and the Michiana Career Network (MCN) groups presented the first of two free presentations focused on "Demystifying the Job Search Puzzle" Friday, April 24th. Sixty people attended the first half of the seminar at Elkhart's First Presbyterian Church.

Make plans to attend the second half of the seminar on Thursday, April 30th at the First Presbyterian Church 200 East Beardsley Avenue, Elkhart, Ind. Presentations are aimed at providing job seekers guidance and insight on useful skills in uncovering and landing their next position.

Presentations topics scheduled for Thursday, April 30th include Networking, Establishing a Successful Job Search Campaign, Keys to Successful Interviewing and more. Several speakers are area individuals in various stages of their job search. These presentations are directed towards professionals and managers in Elkhart and St. Joseph Counties that are currently undertaking a job search.

These presentations are free, although a small volunteer donation will be accepted to help defray some of the costs of the presentation materials. Due to limited space, please RSVP by no later than Tuesday, April 28th.

To reserve your seat, send an email to


expressing your interest. A confirming email will be sent.

Map to 1st Presbyterian Church - Elkhart


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