Roe said this could become an increasingly popular option to taking the associate's degree and using it to work toward a bachelor's. "Our job is conveying to students and parents that the associate in science degree can be an endpoint and these jobs exist," he said. Nguyen said the City of Winter Haven has an IT internship program that recruits promising students out of high school and maintains contact with them through college. The hope is to keep them in or lure them back to the area when they're ready to enter the workforce. Of course, the ability to acquire new skills doesn't stop once a person leaves school. KEEP LEARNING In May, the Winter Haven Public Library debuted its Science, Exploration, Education, Design (SEED) lab with the goal of increasing digital literacy skills within the community. "The response has been very positive," said Jane Martin, library director. She said the SEED lab includes 12 learning stations, Chromebooks, iPads, and a 3D printer. The lab is available to patrons during library hours, except when it is hosting a scheduled class. Class topics range from a beginners computer class to a series on social media, Martin said. "We haven't had any negative evaluations after any of our classes, and everyone who's seen the lab has been impressed." Nguyen said Polk can help combat brain drain by highlighting the region's unique advantages. "From a compensation standpoint, we just can't compete," Nguyen said of larger markets that pay more for IT and other STEM positions. "So we try to make up for it in other areas by offering them the chance to do more meaningful work and in an environment that gives them a little more room to be creative." To view the Brookings report, visit www.brookings.edu/research/interactives/2014/job-vacancies-and-stem-skills#/M29460. [ John Ceballos can be reached at email@example.com or 863-802-7515. ] Linda Babli, reference and information services librarian, left, helps LaMoyne Meek in a Microsoft Word Basics class in the Science... TheLedger.com July 6, 2014 11:09 PM
LAKELAND | Hiep Nguyen says Polk County employers are constantly battling the threat of "brain drain."
The term refers to the exodus of highly trained, highly educated people from a particular region or industry. In Polk's case, much of the challenge is to keep some of the county's best and brightest workers from bolting for bigger, more lucrative jobs in Tampa, Orlando, and beyond.
"It's difficult to attract and retain talent," said Nguyen, chief information officer for the City of Winter Haven.
More specifically, workers with training in STEM fields science, technology, engineering and mathematics appear to be in short supply.
That's one of the findings in a report published last week by the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C.-based, non-profit think tank that conducts research in a variety of social sciences, including economics.
The study titled "Still Searching: Job Vacancies and STEM Skills" examined job openings and hiring difficulty throughout the 100 largest metropolitan areas by population in the United States.
The report touts the largest database ever produced that charts job vacancy duration, as well as the first that includes vacancy duration by skill level. Both databases were produced by Burning Glass a Boston-based labor market analytics firm and covered 3.3 million job advertisements from 52,000 companies in 2013.
"Our report gives civic leaders, educators and training organizations the tools to better understand the opportunities available to workers in our post-recession economy, and how to target training programs to improve their success in the marketplace," said a statement by Jonathan Rothwell, associate fellow at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program.
On a national level, STEM job openings were advertised for more than twice as long as other positions, according to the report.
In the Lakeland-Winter Haven metro area which includes all of Polk County STEM jobs that require some level of college were posted for an average of 52.3 days, much longer than the 25.3 average duration for non-STEM jobs that required the same level of education.
Overall, the average job ad duration for Lakeland-Winter Haven jobs was 34.3 days, the 48th-longest figure among the 100 largest metro areas in the United States. Stockton, Calif., topped the list with an average job ad duration of 56 days.
The most popular type of job posting in Polk, according to the report, was "office and administrative support" (251 ads), followed by "sales and related" occupations (192 ads), and "health care practitioner and technical" jobs (180 ads).
Meanwhile, Lakeland-Winter Haven also placed 91st out of 100 in "share of ads requiring STEM skills" with 30.3 percent. However, those 2013 STEM job figures from the Brookings report don't reflect the most recent uptick.
According to CareerSource Polk a non-profit organization that oversees state and federal money in an effort to connect skilled job-seekers with employers there were 954 STEM vacancies posted online in May throughout the county. That number is up 12.5 percent from May 2013 and represents an increase of 106 STEM jobs.
The overall number of job vacancies advertised online in May reached 6,469, a 12.9 percent increase from a year earlier.
CareerSource Polk figures, which come through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, also indicate the STEM job market in Polk has increased by 451 openings since bottoming out in January 2011.
PUBLIX AND LRMC
The most advertised STEM jobs in the county for May, per CareerSource Polk, were registered nurses (223 ads) and computer user support specialists (77 ads). The employers, not counting staffing agencies, that posted the most STEM job ads were Lakeland Regional Medical Center and Publix Super Markets (each with 79).
On the other hand, the Lakeland-based Publix Super Markets is probably not the first employer most people envision when they think of STEM job opportunities.
Brian West, spokesman for Publix, said the company has a wide variety of positions that require STEM skills within its manufacturing facilities and corporate quality assurance department. Those positions include food safety and food quality inspectors, Publix's IT department, and industrial engineers.
"Publix is a great place to work, and there are many different opportunities for a satisfying career that fits all types of educations and interests," West said in an email.
The Brookings report suggests a higher number of qualified STEM workers would boost employment figures for the entire workforce.
"Strategies to help the unemployed get jobs and low-wage workers improve their earnings should include improving educational and training opportunities to acquire STEM knowledge," Rothwell said.
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Fashion slims down on men's pants ? for now | The Journal Gazette
While that is a judgment call, its true that the cut of mens pants the more fashionable cut, that is has gotten snugger, much snugger than what it was back when Giorgio Armanis loose Italian tailoring defined power and President Bill Clinton was wearing roomy Donna Karan suits. The modern suit, from Saint Laurent to J. Crew, now comes with narrow, flat-front trousers, falling straight without a break, sometimes cropped enough to reveal more than a smidgen of bare ankle. The jacket is single-breasted with a notched lapel. The proportions are particularly noticeable on red carpet celebrities whose suits and tuxedos tend to be custom-tailored to the last millimeter, particularly if that suit is by designer Tom Ford and is worn by the likes of Justin Timberlake, Colin Firth or Bradley Cooper. Cooper, by the way, caused a media fuss when he wore distractingly tight tuxedo pants to a White House State Dinner. His self-described crazy-town tight trousers, he later explained, resulted from having packed on pounds for a film role. His was a fashion faux pas, not a fashion statement. A slim-fitting suit should skim the body, not hug it, warns fashion expert Tim Gunn. Its not intended to be a wetsuit! On the average man, the popular cut done right could most accurately be described as lean. The preference for this style crosses ethnicities and economics. It is embraced by 20-somethings, as well as men in their 50s. But trim trousers have little mercy for beer bellies or two-fisted love handles. I started to get in shape in 2005 and the cut basically suited my frame, says Matt Martinez, senior producer of NPRs All Things Considered, as he explains his journey to the narrow silhouette. I went shopping and I was looking at the same kind of clothes that I used to buy and they were really balloony. I went looking for clothes that fit better. It was actually kind of hard to find really fitted clothes back then unless it was something bespoke. Martinez, 38, a fashion aficionado but also a frugal man, was ahead of the mainstream market. And he was not looking in the expensive designer realm. Had he wandered into the land of $3,000 suits, he would have found that Ford was one of the lead instigators in the tight tailoring movement during his time at Gucci in the early 2000s. And now, designing under his own name, he has little tolerance for surplus fabric. Hedi Slimane at Dior Homme also popularized razor sharp cuts that could only be worn by men whose natural metabolism roared like an inferno or those who simply did not believe in food. Miuccia Prada pushed the trend along with her fondness for boyish models who were so wispy they looked as though they couldnt bench press a sparrow. And Thom Browne chopped his Ivy League slacks at the ankle, further decreasing the amount of fabric dedicated to the average pair of trousers.
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