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The value of 'Made in America' for government agencies' purchasing decisions

Despite increased competition from providers whose products are manufactured in countries where labor costs are lower, “Made in America” is still more than just a tagline or marketing tool. A number of surveys have found that Americans not only are more willing to purchase U.S.-manufactured goods, but also tend to seek them out. For example, 78 percent of respondents in a survey conducted by the Consumer Reports Research Center indicated they would choose American-made products. According to a Boston Consulting Group survey, 80 percent of respondents said they are more likely to buy American, and are also willing to pay more for those products. While these surveys reflect consumer opinion, t

Why an Honors Student Wants to Skip College and Go to Trade School

Raelee Nicholson earns A’s in her honors classes at a public high school south of Pittsburgh and scored in the 88th percentile on her college boards. But instead of going to college, Ms. Nicholson hopes to attend a two-year technical program that will qualify her to work as a diesel mechanic. Her guidance counselor, two teachers and several other adults tell her she’s making a mistake. “My dentist told me to (work on cars) as a hobby, but she kept telling me with my potential I should really go to college,” said Ms. Nicholson, a junior at Charleroi Area High School in western Pennsylvania. The friction around the best path forward after high school is popping up around the country as anxious

Has Technology Gone Too Far? How to Balance Efficiency and Human Connection

Business technology today is full of wonderful timesaving tools that allow you to do a lot with little effort. However, these efficiencies shouldn't overpower the important interaction time with customers. Here's how to balance efficiency and the human connection in business today. Technology is wonderful. Technology in business is even more wonderful. Think back to 15 years ago, before social media, before your accounting software took hundreds of hours of work off your plate, before you had order and payment processing tools, when everything you did was on paper. Now fast-forward to today, when HR software streamlines employee onboarding, time tracking, payroll and performance management a

Family owned Dura-Bond rescues businesses going down the tubes

The Norris family has built a thriving enterprise from businesses that former owners abandoned in frustration. The latest phoenix for Dura-Bond — the family owned company founded by J.M. “Buster” Norris in 1960 — to rise from the ashes is U.S. Steel’s former pipe mill in McKeesport. Dura-Bond is in the process of getting the refurbished plant certified to produce small diameter pipe that meets the oil and gas industry’s specifications. Once production begins later this year, the plant is expected to employ about 100 people. That number could eventually rise to 200, according to chairman Wayne Norris, the son of the company’s founder and father of president Jason Norris. “We’re looking at McK

12 Things Business Owners Pay Too Much For

Running a business is going to cost a lot whatever you do, but too many businesses spend unnecessary amounts in these areas. Business costs are unavoidable, but some costs in business are way higher than necessary. Paying too much for rent, marketing or travel can cost your business its flexibility and reduce your working capital that helps get you through the lean months. Knowing where you can trim the fat will allow your company to run more efficiently and prevent you from feeling a pinch month to month. We asked 12 entrepreneurs from YEC to weigh in on the most surprising things that business owners are paying too much for. 1. Credit card processing "Business owners should regularly check

Don’t Ignore Mother Nature – Plan Now to Ensure Business Continuity When Disaster Strikes

It has been said that an “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This advice is especially true when it comes to planning for business continuity during natural disasters. Given the many competing priorities facing company leaders, it can be easy to assume, because severe weather events and natural disasters are rare, that anticipating them doesn’t require immediate attention. But such thinking is effectively gambling with your company’s ability to operate, because if recent history is any guide, severe natural events are now occurring with alarming frequency. Earlier in January, the United States experienced an Arctic blast that subjected many cities to sub-freezing temperatures for

Can Apprenticeships Train the Workforce of the Future? States Hope So.

America has a skills gap. Governments across the U.S. are turning to European-style apprenticeship programs as a possible solution. For eight years, Will Lake, a graduate of a small college in Helena, Mont., bounced from job to job, looking for a way to use his bachelor’s degree in psychology. He worked as a telephone salesman, a bartender and a case manager assisting high school dropouts. “I knew I wanted to help people,” he says, but he struggled to cover his rent and student loans. He thought about becoming a therapist, but that would require a master’s degree. The added time and expense seemed daunting. Then his wife came across an ad for an information technology apprenticeship sponsore

Ask the Expert- Lean Leadership: Lessons I’ve Learned from Failure

Two situations shaped the mindset I would use for continuous improvement throughout my career. Question: Lots of continuous improvement and lean books/people say you learn as much from failure as you do from success. You’ve been in the industry a long time. Can you give a good example of how a failure (or failures) turned into a learning experience for you or your team? Answer: What a great question. Of course, there are lots of specific examples I could cite. There is so much learning that occurs naturally all along the pathways of a CI journey. But there are two major cultural situations that stand out in my career. Why? Because they shaped the mindset that I would use on continuous improv

Easton’s Crayola unveils new products at NY toy fair

Easton-based Crayola has launched its latest products at the American International Toy Fair in New York City. The toy fair began Saturday and runs through Tuesday. This year’s line of new Crayola tools gives a nod to the STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – movement in education by letting children tap into their inner scientist. One of the toys unveiled is Crayola Color Chemistry, which offers 50 different color-based experiments. The Crayola Crayon Melter lets kids indulge in their love of making crayons with an art tool that lets them use liquefied crayon on different surfaces. Crayola Scribble Scrubbies are wash-and-clean collectible toys that children can decorate with wa

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