Get Skilled!

I’m in love with Mike Rowe.  You know – the creator and host from the Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs,” yeah – that guy!  His voice, his attitude, his take on the world that we live in – he’s just plain amazing!  Time and time again, he has shown his respect and given heartfelt tribute to those he works with from sewer workers and cloth diaper cleaners to dairy farmers and manufacturing production workers throughout the course of the show.  You’ve seen him dive into those nasty, disgusting jobs that you just shake your head at wondering why someone would do a job like that, as you say to yourself “They couldn’t pay me enough to do that!”  But someone does it.  Someone gets up every morning, gets dressed and heads out the door to a job that many would find ugly, dirty.  Mike devised the S.W.E.A.T. Pledge (Skill and Work Ethic Aren’t Taboo), #3 rings pretty true:  I believe there is no such thing as a “bad job.”  I believe that all jobs are opportunities and it’s up to me to make the best of them.  Check out http://profoundlydisconnected.com to see the rest of the pledge.  Where would our world be if we didn’t have those hard working individuals that did those jobs?  We are slowly heading there.

Mike has lent his support to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and the “I Make America” campaign, he has testified before the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation about skilled trades.  He repeatedly reminds us to “work smart” and that “many of the best opportunities that exist today require a skill, not a diploma.”

Nationally, there is a shortage of skilled labor affecting not just manufacturing but everyone.  All companies want the most qualified, trainable applicants.  We want to match up the right person with the right skills for a successful outcome in our business.  With the right person in the right position we reduce turnover and training costs and increase productivity while gaining higher employee morale and job satisfaction.  All companies are fighting for the same thing – success for the company and success for their employees.

A program that is there to help not just companies, but also workers is The Skilled Iowa Initiative.  This program works to increase skill levels of Iowa’s workforce by helping people find great jobs, companies find skilled workers, and our state’s economy grow and prosper.  More than 10,000 businesses across the state recommend the National Career Readiness Certification (NCRC) to students and those in the workforce.  The NCRC is a series of tests – tests that are “real world” skills using everyday work situations.

Skilled Iowa and the NCRC give prospective employees the opportunity to boost their credentials, tout their abilities and promote their capabilities in a no-cost way while helping employers identify and invest in employees who can make real contributions to their businesses.

Programs like these that make a difference in people and companies are a win-win for everyone.

Eyes on the Road, Hands on the Wheel, Mind on Driving

You’ve seen the commercials, the print ads and billboards – Distracted Driving.  Any non-driving activity you participate in while behind the wheel can be a potential distraction and significantly increases your risk of an accident.  ANYTHING that takes your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel or your mind off the basic act of driving safely puts you, your family, friends and everyone you meet on the road– at risk.

Did you know that up to 90% of all car crashes are caused by driver error and about 26% of all car crashes involve the use of a cell phone – including hands free devices.  According to the National Safety Council, studies show that using voice-to-text can be MORE distracting than typing texts by hand.  Just because a technology doesn’t take your eyes off the road does not make it safe to use while driving.  Drivers are more likely to develop “tunnel vision.”  You may still be looking ahead while driving however, the tendency to scan the roadway or check side and rearview mirrors diminishes.  Many fail to see what’s right in front of them:  stop signs, red lights and even pedestrians.

We pride ourselves on the ability to multi-task.  How many times a day do we attempt to do two or more things at once?  The old adage “walk and chew gum at the same time” is so prevalent in our society today.  While our brains can quickly switch between tasks, it cannot do two things at once.  How well can you read and comprehend a book while speaking on the phone?  You won’t be able to do either of these well if you try to do them at the same time.  Multi-tasking while driving divides our brain power and decreases the focus on the main task.  Hands-free is not risk-free.  

We know the risks and whether we think that the statistics don’t apply to us or that we can beat the odds, ultimately the choice is ours.  Life is busy, stressful – constant.  Is that phone call or text message as important as coming home each night?  Is it as significant as family dinner or tucking your children in bed?  Don’t take unnecessary risks.  Life is short.  Life is precious.  Life can change in an instant.

Please take a moment to visit www.distraction.gov or www.distracteddriving.ncs.org to learn more about Distracted Driving and what you can do to take action.

Happy Independence Day from Stellar Industries, Inc.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” With 56 signatures, our forefathers pledged to each other their lives, fortunes and honor and in doing so, created a future for generations to come.

From the declaration of thirteen States to 50 States, we have persevered thru a Civil War and Reconstruction, Industrialization and a Great Depression surrounded by two World Wars. We have experienced trials and tribulations and in times of tragedies, we have come together as one, as Americans. As we gather with friends and family to celebrate our Nation’s birth, fireworks, picnics, ball games and parades fill the air with sweetness and memories in the making. Our Flag will be prominently displayed and our National Anthem sang. I ask that you take a moment to be thankful for our country’s Independence – our rights, our freedoms, the Red, White & Blue. To service members past and present, Thank You for protecting our freedom. Your service to our country allows us the opportunity to make our dreams a reality each and every day.

And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave o’er the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave! Happy Independence Day America!

Mind Your Health Month – Caring for Your Mind and Body

We all know about the importance about taking care of our health — eating right, getting enough sleep and exercising, just to name a few. Healthy habits positively influence how a person feels and how their body functions, but good health involves not only caring for our body, but also our mind. The fact is our mental health is integral to our overall health. Too many Americans fail to incorporate this principal component into their health choices. Yet overall health and wellness are not possible without it.

What is mental health? If you were to ask your co-worker, spouse or neighbor they might respond that it is a “state of mind,” “being content with life” or “feeling good about yourself.” Simply stated, mental health is the ability to cope with daily life and the challenges it brings. When a person has “good” mental health, they deal better with what comes their way. By contrast, “poor” mental health — such as feeling overwhelmed by stress — can make even day-to-day life difficult. Poor mental health can also significantly harm a person’s physical health. For instance, research shows that stress is closely linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity. It also shows that people who feel depressed or chronically stressed may have a greater risk of physical illnesses.

The good news is there are many healthy choices and steps that individuals can adopt to promote and strengthen mental health — and overall health and well-being. A healthy lifestyle can help to prevent the onset or worsening of depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions, as well as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other chronic health problems. It can also help people recover from these conditions.

May is Mental Health Month, with a focus in raising awareness of the role mental health plays in our lives and providing tips and resources so anyone can take steps to promote good mental health. These include building social support, eating with your mental health in mind, recognizing the signs of stress, and knowing when to reach out for help.

Just as Americans have learned there are things they can do to reduce their risk of heart disease and other illnesses, we need to remember that there are professionals who want to help people learn what they can do both to protect their mental health in tough times and also to improve their mental well-being throughout their lives. We need to care for both our body and mind.

Stellar Wellness & Live Healthy Iowa 10 Week Wellness Challenge

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We’ve discussed our participation in the Live Healthy Iowa 10 Week Wellness Challenge in a previous blog.  The LHI 10 Week Wellness Challenge is a great fit for our Stellar Wellness program, encouraging employees to focus on Our People. Our Health.

We have seen friendly challenges among teams, encouraging motivation and thoughtful ideas on how to just keep moving by team members.  We’ve earned electronic badges by recording our data each week, received awesome tips, news and recipes.  While all of this is important, the underlying reason for joining this challenge is to get moving – get active.  By kicking off the challenge at the end of January, we will hopefully carry this motivation and mindset throughout the rest of 2014!  It takes a conscious effort to stay on track, not growing complacent in our goals.  This applies to EVERYTHING in life, from work to home, hobbies and everyday life.  By setting your goals and keeping them in the forefront of you daily life, it will not only help you stay on track, but help you reach that goal quicker.  How many of us thought that 10 weeks was going to last forever?  We are now only a week away from the end of this challenge!  What will be our next goal?

Heading into our final week, Stellar Red, White & Blue have logged an astounding 44,124 minutes of intentional physical activity – that’s just over 735 hours!  It’s amazing how quickly this time has added up and the weeks have flown by!  This challenge is an incredible way to encourage each other to get active.  Way to go, Stellar Red, White & Blue!