A new type of green house that uses cardboard and sea water, grows healthy food in the desert…and it’s affordable.
A new type of green house that uses cardboard and sea water, grows healthy food in the desert…and it’s affordable.
A few practical steps to create a safer, happier, more productive community (both by community building and workforce building):
Reading Bill Nye’s book Everything All At Once, I’m inspired to share three of my ideas that would immediately change the world for the better using simple, doable processes that would solve multiple problems simultaneously. These three ideas would partner business, government, nonprofits, and community members to work together for good:
1. A job matching game focused on employee passions and transferable skills that matches the best employee to your business with the least amount of work and the most mutual satisfaction. Businesses that offer living wages, benefits, and respect their employees will be included…and job seekers of all abilities, education, and background can play.
2. A resources matching game that helps solve the multiple challenges of homelessness, poverty, addiction, and personal hopelessness. This game would be open for ALL to play so that there is no stigma.
3. A free sharing model that has worked for 12+ years that combines bringing new customers into businesses, community building, keeping items out of landfills, and free fun for all players.
I want access to partner with those who have the connections and resources to bring these ideas into reality (actually the third idea I’ve already created into reality at https://swappositive.wordpress.com/about , but need a bigger team to expand it).
These three ideas are practical and doable. I want to join a successful team to help create and implement these ideas in the spirit of the Bill Nye lifestyle philosophy. Please contact me at email@example.com.
This article from the Portland Business Journal says the greatest number of undocumented workers are employed in leisure and hospitality, followed by the construction sector and professional/business services, but the biggest hit on the overall economy by deporting undocumented workers would be in manufacturing.
The article states, “How could these sectors move forward following mass deportations? It’s difficult to say, but employers may be left in the lurch as native-born American workers increasingly turn away from low-skill, labor-intensive jobs.” A farm industry study released in 2013 indicated American workers were not compelled to take up farm labor positions even during high unemployment.
Let’s break that down.
Most farms are not inside a big city, where most workers reside. So if a farm wants to hire workers, they need to hire local, or provide enough money for workers to move to the area and pay for housing and relocation costs.
Labeling farm, manufacturing, and hospitality work ‘low skill’ by pundits shows disrespect for the work. For example farm work needs to be taught and learned, just like any other job. Cherries need to be picked with the stem intact because they stay fresher longer thus can be sold for more money. There are techniques how to effectively and efficiently pick fruit – it is a skill. So job training of workers is important. When is the last time you saw a class on how to pick fruit? How about the physics and science safety of ladder placement?
“Americans turn away from labor-intensive jobs” is also a half-truth. Some people LIKE the idea of getting paid to work out. Some people LIKE to work outside and not be trapped in a stuffy office. But they haven’t been given the opportunity to learn, and have been told that this type of work is beneath them. (So – eating good food, being outside in the fresh air, and being paid to exercise is beneath you? Some people would LOVE to do those things and get paid!)
Americans have also been led to believe that physical labor, farm labor, manufacturing, and hospitality labor is paid at a starvation wage. Business and industry can change this image by advertising and paying living wages, as well as providing benefits, training and/or mentoring to make these jobs attractive to quality workers of all ages.
So how do you get Americans to apply for jobs in agriculture, construction, hospitality, professional, business, and manufacturing?
Business: you can’t get something for nothing. Pay your employees a living wage and respect them and the job they were hired to do.
Educators: we need food and plumbers, as well as teachers and doctors. Encourage kids to explore.
Everyone: don’t talk down a job and treat workers badly… and then expect people to seek out that job.
And finally, ponder this: What does it say about all of us when we label certain necessary jobs only fit for “undocumented” workers? Why do we disrespect these necessary jobs AND the people who do them gratefully and well? How can we take responsibility and provide leadership?
By Barb Hughes
A bank has found a unique way to help their customers create more wealth financially and socially, thus creating more money for customers to invest in houses, finance new business, and more. An ingenious ‘love story’ idea mix where both business and customer are enriched.
“I’ve been playing with my Jobs Dating App idea. Here’s a conversation I had a few days ago on facebook when a friend mentioned they are begrudgingly looking for a new job. I changed the names (other than my own) to protect privacy, and did light editing for clarification :
Carl: Updating my resume. Plz kill me.
Lynn: I did update mine recently and it suuuuuucked
Carl: Few things make me feel like more of a loser / impostor / slacker / etc.
Jeanie: I feel your pain. Doing that myself. Oh, and the job search itself. If I get so bored just reading a job description, how can I possibly imagine actually working there! Egads.
Carl: Right? Or finding the perfect job that you know you’ll love but realizing you’re not qualified.
Jeanie: Right? Because somehow when it’s time to hire, all of a sudden HR and hiring managers seems to think that if you haven’t done that exact thing already, you can’t possibly be acceptable. You know, because once we start looking for a job, it’s impossible for us to ever learn a new thing ever again.
Jeanie: I once got a rejection letter to my resume submission that actually said, “…you’re not a perfect fit.” Perfect. Who the hell would ever be a PERFECT fit? Except for the person who previously had the job but even that person would not be PERFECT because if they were, they’d still be in the job. Ugh.
Carl: No such thing as perfect. Sorry you’re job hunting, too.
Barb Hughes: I want to be on a team to design a job dating app. Where you fill out all the things you think are FUN, and then the algorithms find jobs that have similar things to what you like. It would make job-hunting entertaining, and bring up all kinds of new jobs that we’d never have thought to apply for. It would also be a great game for grade school, middle, and high school kids to get an idea of what current jobs out there they would actually be compatible for, so they can take classes that feed that interest…I mean they’ve already listed things they like to do (or want to try doing) so what better way to choose a career path?
Jeanie: Great idea! Except that I don’t think there’s a big market for someone who excels at reading books, binge watching Madame Secretary, snorkeling and frosting cupcakes. 😉
Barb Hughes: Jeanie HA! That would be where the questions would be broken down and crafted in such a way that they would apply to job interests. For example, binge watching could be a transferable skill of “able to sit for long periods of time staring at a screen totally focused on watching something I find interesting.” Other questions would ferret out what those interests are.
Carl: ^^^Going through surveillance footage like those poor guys on legal dramas. 🙂
Barb Hughes: Frosting Cupcakes might be listed under several categories (depending on which actually brings you joy) such as ‘creating masterpieces with food, clay, or art’ or ‘repetitive hand motions that create a product such as knitting, frosting cupcakes, or painting’.
Barb Hughes: And then if a business has similar activities, such as assembling widgets, bread making, painting clay figurines, etc. you might be paired up with possible jobs in anything from manufacturing to pharmacy work to watch repair. See how much fun this would be? Jobs you never would have thought of would be offered as possibilities of transferable skills to the things you ACTUALLY enjoy doing.
Barb Hughes: Carl, concerning surveillance footage – my daughter has a friend who would get in trouble as a kid for sneaking around listening in on people…and now he works as head security at a department store and gets to watch people on security cameras and then confront them. He loves his job.
Carl: I’ve made peace with the reality that not all jobs must be work one loves. That whole “do what you love and the money will follow” is nonsense. Someone has to do unpleasant jobs and that’s okay.
Jeanie: Carl I actually agree. I’m totally fine working at a job I’m not “passionate” about, as long as it’s fairly decent and the pay is sufficient. There was this great article I came across a few years ago about how the idea of “following your passion” is overrated. I’ll see if I can find it–you may like it.
Jeanie: I think that whole passion following thing has created a lot of disappointed young people. But maybe Barb can crack the code…
Barb Hughes: I would also like to add in – for the business offering the job – for them to fill out what benefits they offer. Free clothes (radio stations have lots of promotional t-shirts and stuff that they give to staff -radio outfitted me for awhile there; and I’ve heard people at Nordstrom et all have nice employee discounts on clothes). Free Food (when I worked at a restaurant you could have one free meal each shift you worked; at New Seasons Market they offer employees 20% off everything in the store AND they give you free food through the blue slip program). Businesses would also fill out what kinds of health care they offered, if they give out free bus passes/pay for a car or your gas money etc. So not only would the prospective employee fill out the game to match, but the employer would fill out what that actual job does and what perks the company offers, so you get a *real* match. I’d also like google maps included in the game so you can see which jobs are closest to you via walk/bike/public transportation/driving/work from home so you can choose a short commute if you want (saving the city in gridlock and pollution). I’ve been working on gamified questions, but of course this would take a lot more input and research as well (which I enjoy doing).
Jeanie: Barb these are all great ideas! Maybe you should develop the app!
Barb Hughes: Jeanie I’m looking into how to do that!
Barb Hughes: I think gamifying it in a way that hasn’t been done before would at least give options we don’t currently have. I mean, it seems like all jobs ask for is what degree/how much college you have, and if you’ve done *that* particular job before. And how many jobs are not even around anymore (book binder? radio disc jockey? all the things people over 40 went to college for?) It really doesn’t make sense to NOT have companies look for transferable skills, and what actions/opportunities brings an employee individual joy…and then for those same companies to offer to pay for any upgraded training an employee might need. Not only are there community colleges and tech/trade schools available for company paid training, there are also tons of free online classes, as well as free classes through public libraries, so an employer may not even have to PAY to train the employee…just give them a website and paid time to learn. And since the employee has already listed their interests, they will be thrilled that you are investing in them so they can invest in the company.
I’m interested in being on a team to develop this web app. Please contact me at urbanfarmer pdx1 (at) yahoo . com and include what organization, skill, or financial backing you would contribute to make this job dating web app a reality.
By Barb Hughes
People are scared because the future is unknown and moving so quickly. They feel economically left behind. We could start to turn this paradigm on it’s head and take out the fear, take out the us/them thinking, by applying the following ideas and principles.
Let’s replace fear with practical fun and hard work. I’d like to be on a working team to bring America together using simple, practical solutions to equip all Americans – city/country, colored/white, male/female, ruling class/working class, etc. – with successful tools/skills. I have some templates to help get this started. Contact me if interested.
Barb Hughes, Better Ideas Now blog founder
Tesla is coming out with a solar roof that is compatible with their updated battery that can then charge their car. The cost of the roof is supposedly comparable to the cost of a roof plus your current electricity bill. Telsa has recently purchased Solar City as it’s distribution channel. I look forward to see how this technology unfolds.
With the job market changing people aren’t sure what jobs are even available now, what skills are needed, or where to look for living wage work. Students, laid off workers, management, and people starting or re-entering the job force are frustrated, confused, and feel beaten down.
Companies/employers seek quality, diverse, happy employees with a variety of skill sets. They want to get the right employee fit the first time, saving time, energy, and money.
I recently put some thought into workable and doable solutions for homelessness. Now here’s my ideas to better address matching people and jobs/careers:
The YouTube Job Series/Channel would feature new and established jobs that are available right now. Each job/segment would highlight job responsibilities, company benefits, what the company/job is looking for socially/motivationally in an employee, short interviews of people who LIKE their job saying why they like it, what training is provided, the future the company offers to employees, and how/where to apply for the job. This series could be used not only by individuals doing job searches at home, but also by human resource departments, public relations teams, schools, re-training centers, prisons, and more. Being that it is public and on YouTube it can be accessed by those searching at home, in libraries, and can be shared on social networks. Workers could better self-select jobs they will personally enjoy, and feel confident applying for jobs and industries they – after watching the video(s) – now better understand. Employers who create videos of each type of job can easily share job openings, giving an easy and shareable way to attract the right person for their job. In one step the un/under-employed job seekers’ stress level is eased…and employers have better access to a quality job force of interested and qualified people. I would love to help craft the over-all template/questions/content that can be replicated by organizations big and small (possibly using iphones and desktop publishing to make it cost effective). Completed videos and job opening information could be emailed to the channel for upload and inclusion to their jobs database/website.
The Online Job Matching Game could be similar to current facebook games (i.e. the Disney Princess match ups), but instead of only focusing on job history and education, the jobs game could also have questions that help focus your social/psychographic interests. Let’s say you are an extrovert – you may thrive as a cashier or in direct sales because you get to talk to different people all day long. If you are an introvert you might thrive stocking shelves or working in close-knit small teams. The game could help suggest options where you would socially and emotionally thrive, and then match you with videos that show what a person does on the job(s) suggested, the personality traits that work well with this job, the benefits and training offered, etc. So the online jobs game would help you see how your current and past skills could cross over into other/new jobs. If you had the option to save each search, then try again and add new skills to this same online game, you could re-play it and get more options for jobs in the future…plus it would sure be nice to only have ONE resume/portfolio/game to fill out, and let the algorithms figure out what information is needed to apply to each job.
By Barb Hughes
I’ve never been homeless. I think it would be important to ask homeless people what THEY want before we start building things or spending more money, or sending them off to prison somewhere.
The reason I say that, is I know one woman – who HAS a job and a cat – who was priced out of her apartment and she was living in a tent in a friends’ backyard over the winter. What she needed was an apartment in Portland that didn’t raise the rent above the salary she could afford and that allowed pets. So the person I knew who was homeless didn’t need a lot of fussing…she just needed a wage and housing that matched…which had matched no problem until the landlords decided to up their pricing to compete with the fancy new buildings being built.
Currently she’s living in an art studio downtown. I wonder with all the air bnb people, if there could be a similar website that could match up compatible people to rent rooms in homes? Again, the homeless person I know is a normal person, with a job, a pet, who actively volunteers her time in the community, etc. who could be your neighbor. How many homeless are like this? Why don’t we find out by asking them, and letting them help create a solution for them that matches, say, elderly homeowners with cats and a boarder with cats, where the boarder not only pays rent, but can help around the house? Building community, instead of creating an ‘us/them’ paradigm of ‘look at those homeless people – can’t we just sweep them, blow them up, or cart them off so we don’t have to look at them?’
Yes, some people might need more helps than others, but at least one leg of the situation is individuals and families that have jobs, have a community around them, but for whatever reason (raised housing costs without a raise from their employer? Unexpected medical bills? A new baby? A death of the main breadwinner? Investments disappearing that they were living off of? Job loss? Parents getting new jobs across the country but the high school teen wanting to finish out his/her senior year etc.) the money they have doesn’t match the housing they are in. Sometimes this is only temporary. To keep a person/family in their familiar neighborhood while they get the money matched up to their living situation seems like it would be easier to get a footing back up with minimum displacement. And how can we make this a mutual helping, instead of shaming? How can it be cost effective, where the person looking for a home, and the person who has space, can mutually help each other?
Another affordable housing idea that might work as a collaboration between businesses, government, and renters, is to work out a collaboration where the working tenant pays no more than 25% of their gross monthly salary towards their rent, with the stipulation that they also contribute a talent or skill that benefits the other renters. Examples could include an accountant could lead a monthly money management seminar to interested tenants (and guests?), a grocery worker could bring leftover packaged or nearly expired food to share with tenants, a young mother could hold a monthly clothing and toy exchange amongst tenants. This gifting of abundance from tenants would create added community benefit, helping to mutually uplift all tenants not only financially but emotionally, and helping to lessen dependence on overworked government social services. As tenants get pay raises or move to higher wage jobs, their percentage paid towards rent would raise as well. As tenants make new like-minded friends and as their pay raises, they may decide to move out of this housing and into other non-subsidized housing, thus freeing up the space for new tenants. This would help retain quality employees for low-wage area businesses, and the businesses could write off the percentage of rent not covered by their employee paycheck as a tax write-off/employee benefit. The city could contribute by allowing already built apartment complexes in various neighborhoods close to the businesses to be utilized for this venture. This way no new buildings need to be planned and built, saving time and money.
One of the things my friend told me was she was thinking of fixing up a truck and living out of that, so at least she’d have a safe mobile place for her cat and herself, where all her stuff was safe and she could lock it etc. The living small movement is afoot, partly because some people are tired of owning too much stuff, but partly because people can’t afford to store stuff/move stuff and because housing prices are so high. So maybe another option would be affordable trailer parks where people can live within their means, leave when they want to and take all their stuff with them if they get a new job or new opportunity? Just trying to brainstorm options where people feel they have a bit more control then being forced/herded like cattle by people/government officials who haven’t even talked to them.
People support that which they help to create. People who for -whatever reasons- can’t currently afford housing should be part of the leadership team in planning local homeless housing options, job training options, new innovations etc. I would think that if I were homeless, I’d have to know /learn all kinds of survival hacks (necessity is the mother of invention). We should be utilizing the brainpower of those who know what it’s like to be homeless, in helping to create the most cost effective, mutually helpful for society, community building affordable living situations. And who knows? The businesses who partner with experienced homeless people might create a whole new world of marketable invention$.
By Barb Hughes
Finland leads the way with another innovative idea: seniors and young adults enjoy affordable housing – and an enriching community experience.
The news is full of articles trying to figure out a way to save America: how to bring back the middle class, create jobs, help stop the disparity between the few rich at the top and the majority falling (or fearful of falling) toward poverty, and what to do about increasing homelessness and food insecurity. American society seems gripped in fear, as many young people wrestle with college debt and little or no living wage work prospects. Middle managers in their 40’s/50’s/60’s have been downsized/laid off, and haunt monthly job fairs featuring door-t0-door commission sales work (to try to reach those who don’t want to open their doors to strangers and/or don’t have money/need to purchase their products anyway). An undergirding of fear is sweeping our nation just under the surface for those of wealth (and those hanging on by their fingernails to their wealth), a daily reality for many more.
The conversation is here. People are awake and aware that this growing soup of problems are encroaching on us as a society, not just ‘the fringe others’. This involves all of us. Some of us who have not yet lost our job/home/health respond with self-protective denial. Some of us in frustration and fear blame the ‘other’. Some of us become clinically depressed and use pain medication/drink/drugs to hide.
I believe there is a practical way to turn this poverty of economy and spirit around. Here’s my idea outline for a Four Step Plan To Economic Recovery:
These four steps would in practical ways help turn the economy around with innovative business and industry leading the way by creating living wage jobs and incorporating training and benefits back into the business model. Add to that affordable housing, fanning innovation, creating community building opportunities, rebuilding a middle class and giving tangible tools to bring disenfranchised into the middle class, and the result would be uplifting all of American society for a better future.
Tired of the hassles of big banks? Dave Fishwick brought banking back to its roots: local banks for local people, by the community for the community.
If you’re interested in making a positive difference in your community, Dave Fishwick shows you how to open your own bank:
Utah is tackling the homeless problem. Their plan is already saving taxpayer money AND is improving the economy, plus they are on track to eliminate homelessness by 2015.
Origami algorithms are being used to create medical implants and space telescopes. I wonder if origami algorithms might be used to create the build-a-building, using plastic, wood, and mesh sheets that can be folded differently to create different shaped useful small buildings? Learn more about this amazing new technology that combines art, science, and history in this Ted Talk.
Ikea is developing a prototype of refugee shelter that is easy to put together, is insulated, has a solar light so people can cook/sew/do homework when it gets dark, and other simple yet practical features.
Ikea is getting feedback from refugees to improve upon the concept before they roll out the final design. They also plan to include a system of health care, education, and more so refugee families can not only get stabilized physically, but get all members of a family back on their feet in body/mind/spirit as quickly and respectfully as possible.
Wanna start a free pop-up store for the homeless? Check out this video, which gives how-to information including downloadable posters!
Introducing The Street Store. The world’s first rent-free, premises-free, free ‘pop-up clothing store’ for the homeless, found entirely on the street and curated by you.
Download open-source files and host your own Street Store on www.thestreetstore.org
Follow on Twitter @TheStreetStore and on Facebook.com/thestreetstoreorg
Be blown away by youth that demonstrate a passion for restoring the health of the environment! The April 26th Sharing Ideas event, features the Roosevelt High School Science Club, a group of students determined to counteract pollution in Portland, Oregon. These local youth are experimenting with planters that recycle polluted air into clean air and testing of air quality surrounding Roosevelt High School. They have been invited to Washington, D.C. later this year to present their findings.
Sharing Ideas events raise awareness of local grassroots efforts throughout Portland Oregon that strengthen community. Project presenters share the inspiration that launched their idea, how it moved into action, where they are today, and their hope for the future.
Everyone is invited. RSVP suggested online or by phone at 503.546.7499. Refreshments will be provided. Childcare (9 and under), transportation, and interpretation are provided upon request, with 48 hours advanced notice.
When: Saturday, April 26th, from 11 AM to 1 PM
Where: Central Library, 801 SW 10th Ave, Portland, OR 97205.
Who: You! Bring your friends and family to this free event and discover pathways to new possibilities!
Rebecca Onie asks audacious questions: What if waiting rooms were a place to improve daily health care? What if doctors could prescribe food, housing and heat in the winter? Here’s a Ted Talk that gives concrete information to create a healthcare system that actually keeps us healthy.
Tennessee is considering using lottery money to fully fund community college and technical school for all high school grads. Since cost is the biggest hurdle to getting a higher education, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is on the right track to make higher education truly attainable – without all the hoops. Read more here.