One of the greatest contributions we could make to future generations is a commitment to prepare our children for the "world of work." Many colleges and universities throughout the United States have already adopted that commitment, but it needs to start much earlier. The "world of work" is changing at a very rapid pace. The commitment is no longer to prepare students for a local job, but to prepare them for a world immersed in a global economy; a global marketplace; a global workforce. Wherever one works, success depends on the ability to adapt and thrive within this global environment.
I grew up in rural Ohio and spent my first three school years in a one-room school house. Fortunately, the local folks committed to improving our school system by repeatedly passing bond issues so that the children could get a better education. Township consolidation began to occur and more educational opportunities and resources were made available to teachers and students. After high school I was able to get into Marietta College where I earned a degree in one of the best liberal arts institutions in the country. Through that solid education from first grade through college, I entered the workforce well-prepared for whatever came my way. I spent 20 years with IBM and 15 years with Ernst & Young Consulting, much of the time in executive management positions. I dealt with major business issues, many that were global in scope.
Working in the global marketplace brought exciting opportunities to learn from others around the world. Routine tasks within the U.S. business world become quite different when one works with people from other countries, with different languages and very different cultures. Yet so many business fundamentals are the same. The real challenge is to build and expand on our educational foundations so that we maximize the unlimited opportunities that exist when we truly see the world as a global marketplace.
In today's world, the job marketplace continues to change and is extremely competitive. Companies seek employees who can make a difference; who become truly engaged in helping the company attain its goals; who are willing to reinvent themselves to meet company needs. This requires a continuous learning approach, one built on a solid educational foundation and continued throughout one's lifetime.
Entry qualifications for the best colleges and universities are also extremely competitive. They have to be if they are to succeed in preparing students for the changing world. Preparation has to start at an early age - in grades K-12. Educational leaders for these early years must continually adapt the curriculum and methods to respond to the dynamic world in which tomorrow's adults will live, work and play.
Finally, as parents and as a community, we must demand a high-quality education and be willing to support a system that provides our schools with resources, ensuring that our children will be ready to thrive in what has become, and will continue to be, a dynamic "world of work."
Dale Wartluft '63
Retired Senior Executive and Member of Marietta College's Board of Trustees
(2011-2012 Fitzgerald EIR)
Project: Focus on Employee Satisfaction in the Workplace
Wartluft is the sixth EIR since the program was initiated in 2004, but he becomes the first to lead the program since it was renamed for Barbara '73 and Paul Fitzgerald. The Fitzgeralds donated $100,000 to endow McDonough's EIR program in 2010.
Dale Wartluft is the 2011-12 executive-in-residence at Marietta College. This Chamber Viewpoint is focused on education and its impact on our economic future. The Chamber Board developed an Education Committee who explore and explain the connection between strong schools, prosperous businesses, and flourishing communities. Once a month the Marietta Chamber's Viewpoint column will highlight a specific area, with the articles written by a variety of people, who are in business or in the education system.