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Burger Flipper: On The Job Training For Career Success

The only way to get ahead and enjoy a secure standard of living is to have a college degree. And while you are at it, look into your crystal ball and determine the most likely field of opportunity for the next 25 to 30 years. But what about alternative paths such as on the job training?

The need for a college degree has become a mantra over the years. Young people and their parents believe that anyone without a degree will be relegated to a lifetime of dish-washing. This belief is probably the most important single factor in the astronomical rise of college tuition rates, if everyone believes that life cannot be lived without the degree, they will pay almost any price to acquire one.

Is it true that college is essential to financial well-being, security, and economic and social mobility? Here at Bold Business, we have combed through the stats and a variety of resources to come to the conclusion, absolutely not. But, we want to add an important caveat, training is important and academic learning is important as well. Our point is that the typical career path, of four to eight years of specialized academic study, then going to work, maybe the wrong path for most people.

Take a minute with that.

Many of you are probably already formulating arguments against that statement, and repeating all of the stats you have been fed for decades about the earnings potential of college graduates vs. high school graduates. There is plenty of truth in those statistics too. But they don’t tell the whole picture. They leave out important details. Most of all, they ignore the changing dynamics of the workplace and the fact that college degree isn’t just expensive these days, it is astronomically expensive.

Our bold idea isn’t that on the job training and college degree are bad, it is simply that there is a much better way to get training and advance on a career path than to roll the dice with a college diploma that may or may not land you a decent job.

We are advocates of corporate training and education programs. Employer guided training and college programs are far more efficient and effective at helping workers obtain precisely the correct skills needed to advance within their own company.

We went looking for training programs that let employees climb that ladder from the bottom to the top and found that one of the best is in the much-maligned “dead end” job of burger flipper. McDonald’s. If you are a regular kid, with lots of ambition and no silver spoon, McDonald’s just might be your ticket not just to have a good life, but to a very very good life.

On the Job Training or College Degree? A Comparison of Opportunity and Cost

Many corporations and private businesses offer career training and growth opportunities, but we particularly enjoyed the comparison of “burger flipper” to college. So let us get to it, how do these two career paths compare in a head to head.

The argument for college degree begins from the assumption that average earnings for college graduates exceed those of high school grads. Of course, the average is one of those tricky words. But current estimates put the college kick at about $16,000. And that equates to about $500,000 in additional earnings over a lifetime.

That’s a substantial increase. However, the NCES found that the average bachelor’s degree in the United States now costs $37,172. When you calculate four years of lost income opportunity cost while attending college, and the debt service, that $500,000 starts to disappear pretty quickly.

But we suggest that it is not truly an either/or situation. For bright and ambitious young people at a place like McDonald’s, burger flipper isn’t the last job, but the first job. The company offers on the job training for shift leaders and managers. McDonald’s created “Hamburger University” back in 1961, 7,500 employees and franchisees pass through their program every year, gaining the skills and knowledge necessary to run million dollar restaurants.

For those who have college aspirations, McDonald’s and many companies like them offer tuition reimbursement, which allows their employees to attend college and graduate debt-free. It isn’t easy to attend college while working, but over half of the current college students do so, and it is a viable option to avoid high debt costs after graduation.

McDonalds on the job training vs college degreeExperience and Promotion Can Be the Most Important Benefits

But, the real advantage of joining a company that trains and promotes from within is the opportunity to work rather than sitting on the sidelines while going to school. McDonald’s employees are involved in the workforce, developing their skills, getting feedback from supervisors, learning where their talents and preferences lie on a daily basis. Combine this self-knowledge and experience with on-staff career path counselors, and it is easy to see how McDonald’s employees benefit from professional feedback, advice, and opportunity.

Why don’t more families struggling to pay for a college degree and find the right career path to take advantage of these kinds of opportunities?

It is probably just cultural myopia. Turn on the news and on any given day of the week it is possible to hear that career opportunities for American millennials are gone, they’ve flown the coop. The only alternative is a college degree, it’s creating a situation where everyone is chasing the same degree, forcing the value of that degree downward and the cost upward, making the struggle for economic and social mobility even greater.

People often don’t hear the good news stories of opportunities available from employers like McDonald’s. Like the fact that McDonald’s aggressively promotes from within. 50% of their restaurant managers began working at the company as a crew. 60% of their franchisees began as crew members. Those are impressive statistics by any stretch of the imagination.

Is it a glamorous field? Certainly not, but it is stable and has fared far better through the past 30 years than a whole host of “glamour jobs.”  Shirley Chang, now Managing Director for TGIF, spent most of her career with McDonald’s, benefiting from on the job training and internal promotion opportunities to rise from the ranks of the crew to Managing Director Hong Kong. She had gone to trade school to become a nurse and found that it did not offer advancement opportunities, so she took a job at McDonald’s as a crew in Taiwan and found that she liked it. She steadily climbed the corporate ladder and developed her career, through the ranks to VP and Director positions. Her nursing degree did not lead to this kind of wide-open opportunity.

Ms. Chang is not alone. Career path planning and growth is one thing that corporations excel at. The training offered to employees is often superior to that which can be found in universities, because it is more up-to-date and more relevant. Plus, employees tend to retain that information better because it is relevant to their daily lives and not just something to be memorized from a textbook.

On the Job Training vs College Degree? Is It the Wrong Question?

Formal education is necessary to develop many skills. However, the bold idea we would like to suggest is that it may be more effective for most people to find a position at a company that will help foster their growth, with training, and opportunities for internal promotion and attending college with tuition reimbursements.

This plan helps students and adults re-entering the workforce develop day to day working skills, as well as gaining a better understanding of their real-world preferences and talents. Plus it allows employees to tap into the guidance and mentoring that their company can offer, to help them develop their careers over the long term.

Grabbing for the brass ring through college certificates and degrees benefited generations in the past. But, these days, the best path may be through employer-provided support, training, and education.

We hope that in the future more employers begin to see their employees as a resource to be developed and that more employees take advantage of the opportunities to climb those ladders and help build their companies from the inside.

Israeli Innovation Center — How Israel is Leading The Way In The Digital Revolution

Innovative technologies are altering the ways for big data to carve global economies. This digital revolution is revolutionizing transportation, medicine and energy. And it is altering the nature of power and political leadership as nations build strength through their people. One nation demonstrating this change is Israel. Built on the brainchild of former Israeli premier Shimon Peres, the Israeli Innovation Center in Jaffa has been launched to showcase this shift.

The Israeli Innovation Center will undeniably exhibit the nation’s technological achievements. It will also encourage collaboration and innovation across all its communities, not only in Israel but also all across the Middle East. According to the Financial Times, Israel is one of the few countries that survive through innovation. With little water and land, settlers explored new farming techniques to raise agricultural productivity. Surrounded by hostile neighbors, the country’s military had no option but to gain a technological edge to survive and then thrive.

Beyond the Israeli Innovation Center

In addition, as Israeli president between 2007 and 2014, Peres had no administration and thus could not issue orders. But this powerlessness enabled him to persuade people to do things. “The only thing I could do was to call on people to volunteer. And you’ll be surprised: I never heard the word ‘no’,” he said. Thus, that is how technological innovation came about. Peres believes that broader technological collaboration could also “contribute to peace across the Middle East if the so-called Start-Up Nation can help nurture a Start-Up Region and promote economic growth and interdependence.” To help bolster the attempt, his foundation is working to encourage new enterprises in Jordan, Egypt and Africa.

“Right now, the world is going through a transitional period: one age is dying, but is not dead,” Peres states, “and another one has been born, but is still in childhood.” He proposes that the digital or big data revolution is revising the rules of our economies. “Information has always existed but is difficult to collect. It’s like eating soup with a fork. Big data gives you a spoon,” he notes. Peres also says a nation’s strength will eventually depend on its people and its companies rather than on the military. In other words, rather than by the heavy-handed approach seen nowadays, a leader’s authority relies on influence.

To fully embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution, politicians must forget the past and focus on the future. Peres maintains that vision is more important than experience and that leaders should have greater faith in the young. As seen from the reality of the Israeli Innovation Center, building communities through digital innovation is now key to a nation’s success.

Bringing More Internet Access To Africa

As most of the developed world thrives through connectivity, there are still more than 4 billion people globally who don’t have internet access.

According to the World Economic Forum, over half of the world’s population is missing out on the life-changing benefits of the worldwide web, from education and healthcare to financial services.

The World Economic Forum states that there are four areas that should be fulfilled in order to provide internet access, highlighted in their Internet for All report.


The World Economic Forum is pushing governments to “improve infrastructure coverage and quality, provide financial assistance to those who cannot afford to get online, and set up public Wi-Fi”

Infrastructure: The main reason people can’t access the web is due to their internet connection, or lack of it. 31% of the global population does not have 3G coverage, while 15% have no electricity. In sub-Saharan Africa two thirds of the population do not have regular electricity, and nearly a quarter of people living in South Asia the same. What’s also important is whether local governments can provide connectivity to its people.

Affordability: 13% of the world population live below the poverty line, so the cost of connectivity and the devices needed are mostly unaffordable.

Skills, awareness and cultural acceptance: 15% of adults globally are considered illiterate. In some countries, men are more likely to use the internet than women due to cultural differences. Understanding and education on how to use computer technology is key.

Local adoption and use: Roughly 80% of all online content is only available in 10 languages, which about 3 billion people speak as their first language. To encourage a wider web audience, catering for other languages is important.

The World Economic Forum is pushing governments to “improve infrastructure coverage and quality, provide financial assistance to those who cannot afford to get online, and set up public Wi-Fi.”

The Forum’s report also highlights how awareness of the internet’s value is fundamental. It recommends including ICT onto school’s curriculum, provide training to communities and encourage public-private collaboration to close the digital divide.

The Forum’s Internet for All initiative provides a framework for both governments and businesses to work toward. The program is being “implemented in an initial project in Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan and Ethiopia, where 75 million people (67% of the total population in these countries) currently have no access to the internet”.

Infographic of Internet Development In AfricaThe UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is also working with governments, local and international organizations, and members of civil society to get more people online, and to offer them affordable internet access.

According to Africa Business Communities, these types of initiatives are already taking shape. The Internet Society has announced that it will hold the first ever Africa Regional Internet and Development Dialogue on May 8-9, 2017 in Rwanda, in partnership with UNESCO and Republic of Rwanda.

The two-day forum will “bring together experts including government and inter-governmental organization officials, business and educational leaders from throughout the continent to discuss how Africa can use the Internet to advance education, innovation and job creation.”

Most of us take our cell phones, tablets, and laptops for granted. Accessing the internet isn’t easy for those in third world countries, and by allowing them access to the worldwide web it will hopefully improve education, healthcare and the economy.

Home Ownership Struggle For Millennial Generation

In pursuit of the American Dream, Americans have historically combined economic and social mobility with home ownership. People aim to get a better job, buy a house, and raise a family as a traditional way. While the millennial generation is way more different, they’re moving less and renting more.

Is this a temporary anomaly or a new trend, and what does it portend for the American ethos?

According to Forbes, home ownership has historically been good for the economy.  Home buying has a multiplier effect. Along with buying the house comes purchases for new furniture, remodeling, lawn care, etc. Home ownership has been beneficial to society, as well. Neighborhoods, where inhabitants own their homes, have lower crime rates and less drug usage. Children tend to do better in school, and citizens are more involved in their communities.


In February, the Pew Research Center released an analysis of American migration rates since the 1990s. The decline in mobility appears especially incongruous since the millennial generation is characterized as having fewer ties than previous generations. Early married doesn’t acknowledge millennial generation, as well as having children, and buying homes at a lower rate compared to previous generations. They are moving less.

Home ownershipIt is now 2017, and the downward trend continues. Home ownership is at a 50 year low. Is the American Dream changing?  More likely, the dream is deferred. In the April 2016 National Association of Realtors HOME (Housing Opportunities and Market Experience) Survey, 88% of millennials expressed the belief that homeownership is part of the American Dream.

Reduced mobility and less home buying may be the effects of the Great Recession (2007-2009). Decreasing earnings, high student loans, and inability to find jobs have resulted in an increased number of 18-to-34-year-olds living with their parents than living on their own. Home buying is more likely to be out of economic reach. In the most recent National Association of Realtors HOME survey, 56% of the respondents who do not currently own a home expressed that it would be somewhat difficult or challenging to qualify for a mortgage.

Given the boost to the economy provided by home ownership, the inability or difficulty in purchasing homes is likely to suppress any robust recovery from the Great Recession.

Although millennials may move less because fewer of them own homes, it is more likely other economic and social factors are at play.