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January 9, 2013

Host: Ted Simons

Adult Education

  |   Video
  • The East Valley Institute of Technology’s career training programs aren’t just for high school students. They’re also for adults making a career change or wanting to acquire skills that will help them compete in today’s competitive job market. EVIT’s Adult Education Consultant and State Senator David Schapira talks about the state of adult education in Arizona.
  • David Schapira - State Senator and Adult Education Consultant, East Valley Institute of Technology
Category: Education   |   Keywords: adult, education, senator, schapira, technology, East Valley, ,

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Ted Simons: Adult education ranges from GED programs to career training classes for graduates looking to learn new job skills. Here to talk about the state of adult education in Arizona is state senator David Schapira: who is also an education consultant for the east valley institute of technology. Good to see you again. Thanks for joining us.
David Schapira: Good to be here, Ted.
Ted Simons: Define adult education.
David Schapira: Adult education has become a lot of things. We used to think of just a couple different options. We used to think of either the University or a trade school. Today we have a lot of options for adults. We have the traditional four-year degree at a University and then maybe post graduate after that. We have community colleges. We have trade schools and we have these new things like EVID. We have a lot of options for students out there now. Let's say you decide you want to be a Ph.D. or you want to be a faculty member, you want to be a teacher. Get the four-year degree. Students are going to community colleges and getting associate's degrees and going from there to careers, sometimes going to the university to get, to finish off the four-year degree. And students are coming to places like EVID to get a job or a career. The difference being that in some cases they are student driven. So the Universities and the community colleges, we have students who show interest in a certain profession and those institutions create classes for 9 those students. Places like EVID, we go to industry and say, what jobs do you need filled? And where do you have your needs? And then we create courses based on the jobs that are throughout that need to be filled. If you build it, they will come. The students then come to our courses to take classes because they know they can gets a job after school.
Ted Simons: These are students who have their high school diplomas. For those who don't getting those folks up to speed, if you will, are we doing better?
David Schapira: We are doing better now. Obviously, it starts with the problem. And the problem is, we have a lot of high school dropouts in this state. Our dropout rate is among the worst in the country partly because of our failure to invest in K-12 education across the spectrum. Now, then you take the next problem which is you have students who dropped out of high school and now need a career. And so what's happening is we have a lot of these students going into GED programs with the superintendent just announced we are among the top in the nation in adult education. That's great. That's the remediation we are providing for those high school dropouts and getting them GED's and getting them in places like. EVID where they can come and learn a skill. They can learn to do HVAC or cosmetology or become a nurse. And then actually get a job.
Ted Simons: It does seem like twin tracks. We are watching classes at EVID and again certifications and skill development and these sorts of things for those who have already graduated. Relatively new idea or thinks just a trade school on steroids?
David Schapira: EVID has been around for quite some time and traditionally our focus has been on high school students. It's very different from the old vocational Ed model we had when you and I were in school. What has shifted we are a centralized campus where school districts across the east valley sends middle school students to do these different career programs. And then a lot of our high school students get certifications at the end of the programs. On the adult side almost all of our adult programs are programs that end in some sort of certification but certainly preparedness to go right into the job market and start a career.
Ted Simons: So with that in mind let's get back to those who are grappling to get their GED, grappling to get that high school education. It sounds like we are doing well. It sounds like the funding may -- what kind of funding is out there for those folks? What kind of funding is out there for EVID?
David Schapira: One of the fascinating things is that we have done this great job getting these folks GED's and he acknowledges in the press release there's 6,000 adult students on this waiting list to get into our adult education programs to get GED's and that's a problem. I think we have to have access to opportunity. I have always sedation is the boot strap by which you can pull yourself up. Certainly I think our state has failed to, except in our K-12 system, to prepare our students and fortunately we are at the top in the nation. We are near the top in the nation in helping those adult students once they dropped out to get their GED's and get back on track but still we are failing those 6,000 adult students who are on the waiting list or adults who want to be students who are on the waiting list so they can go to a place like EVID to get a trade.
Ted Simons: What would that funding pay for in terms of adult education?
David Schapira: It would pay for the preparation of the courses, the curriculum, the teachers, the testing in order to get those adult students back on track to get the GED. As far as places like EVID is concerned we are a public school. We are funded in terms of high school students but when it comes to adult students they pay a tuition. There is no state subsidy to help those students who want to come. We are offer an a forwardable alternative to the trade schools out there but we are operating with no state funding.
Ted Simons: You mention alternative. Is there a problem with competition? Do community colleges see a problem with community college? Universities? It seems like there's a lot of folks going for these adult students. A little tough stuff out there?
David Schapira: Yet there are still a lot of industries who are desperately seeking people to come fill these positions. So I don't see it as competitive. Frankly, I think the student that goes to a Mesa community college or Scottsdale community college or paradise valley community college, I think they are seeking something a little different and a lot of them are turning into a two plus two model. Two years, get their associate's degree and then to ASU or another four-year institution. We are not a degree granting institution. So we are not in competition in that aspect. The students that we get right students who are coming to get a skill, our superintendent Sally Downey says every scholar needs a skill. They want them to be prepared to go out in the job market and be successful.
Ted Simons: With that in mind what is the future of adult education in Arizona? Not just with EVID but folks getting the GED up to speed. What's the landscape?
David Schapira: The future is ensuring that every adult in this state has the educational opportunities that they need to be successful. And I am also on the board in Tempe union high school district and we talk about career college and live life. And we have to continue to improve our education system so our students are prepared for a college, career, and life and EVID are doing a great job of a that.Ted Simons: Great to have you back here. Good to see you again. Good to see you

Encore Careers

  |   Video
  • Vice President at, Marci Alboher, talks about her new book “The Encore Career Handbook: How to Make a Living and a Difference in the Second Half of Life.”
  • Marci Alboher - Vice President,
Category: The Arts   |   Keywords: author, alboher, encore, careers, ,

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Ted Simons: Career changes for baby boomers may involve learning new job skills, starting a new business, or getting involved in a nonprofit. Often the transition involves a new focus on the greater good. I recently spoke about career shifts for experienced workers with Marci Alboher of, a nonprofit organization that helps people enter second careers. Alboher is the author of "The encore career handbook." Marci, good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.
Marci Alboher:Thanks for having me.
Ted Simons: You are in Phoenix kinds of launching this encore career hands book. You are not from Phoenix. What are you doing here?
Marci Alboher:I live in New York City but you are right to recognize that. I am here because I am leading a very big book tour all around the country talking about encore careers and the reason we chose Phoenix as the launch is that Phoenix is kind of known as the birth place of retirement. Right? Sun city, all these places. People went for endless pleasure. The trend we are going to be talking about now and what this book is all about is a new kind of thing to could with this life stage and it's actually taking hold right here in Phoenix with the organization experience matters, that you know all about. So we just thought it would be fitting to talk about the encore movement in a place where that's taking hold in the very same place where retirement got its start.
Ted Simons: Indeed. And the concept, the book is "Encore career." What is an encore career?
Marci Alboher: Right. The book is the encore career handbook. An encore career is a second act that has some social purpose to it. That has some benefit for the greater good. So reinvention is all the rage now. Everybody is reinventing and this book is not the book that's going to tell you just about how to open a vineyard or an artisanal bakery. People are looking to help themselves and the world in some way and that's what the encore movement is about. It's about using these years, this new bonus period of life that we suddenly have, these years that have opened up, to do something that's going to have lasting impact which is something people are really craving.
Ted Simons: Not necessarily more of the same? Not necessarily something completely different but something, what, more altruistic? Personally gratifying?
Marci Alboher: So interestingly, for many, many people, it's kind of something altruistic and maybe the first time they thought of work in that way. They may have had a corporate career and not really thought of wanting to do something in kind of helping vein. But we are finding it's true even for people who have been teachers their whole lives, social workers, nonprofit people, that they, too, want to shake things up at this life stage. They may still want to do something that helps but in a whole new way. That kind of reinvention is challenging.
Ted Simons: Is that different from previous generations?
Marci Alboher:It is. Because there's a new stage, a new life stage that really has opened up. We used to have a 30-year career, if you had a career. Right? And then you just wound down and move the right to retirement and it ended. Right?
Ted Simons: Right.
Marci Alboher: Now there's this, you hit your 50s or 60s and it's possibly you will work another 15 or 20 years and you are healthier. And you have got all this energy, and often a lot of talent and experience. And what are you going to do with that time? Even if you want leisure, if even if you want to do all these things on your bucket list, travel, play more golf, you may not want to do that five or seven days a week. You may want something on your 10 terms.
Ted Simons: When this is on your own terms, are you talking about dabblers? Are you talking about careerists? Somewhere in between?
Marci Alboher: The spectrum. The spectrum. This book covers everything from the person who wants to be a literacy tutor at a school two or three days a week or two or three afternoons a week to someone who wants to found a nonprofit or socially organized mission-based business and work harder than they have ever worked before. I have seen all parts of the spectrum.
Ted Simons: Now, When you get these people back into the job market or the nonprofit arena, is there, can there be a problem with, here comes from know it all walking down the hall, the experienced person? Talk about that particular dynamic.
Marci Alboher: The people who succeed best in their encores are people who have a really healthy mix between knowing how to use their experience in this new environment, and having a good dose of humility and realizing they don't know everything. And one of the things they may not know is how things get done in the new culture they are joining, or at this changing world of work. Where technology is used differently or the intergenerational interplay is different. We find the people who succeed best of at this are people who have a good balance of those two.
Ted Simons: And understand that a manager that they are dealing with is still the manager.
Marci Alboher:Yeah. So often you may be working for someone much younger. And we see a lot of cross mentoring going on. A lot of young people who are so thrilled to be working with someone with years of experience, but that experienced person saying, wow, I can learn a lot from someone who is young enough to be my child.
Ted Simons: So someone watching right now says, this is interesting. This is something I would like to give it a try. What right steps? What do you do?
Marci Alboher: If you live near Arizona, in Phoenix, you are lucky now have a great organization, experience matters, right here. That is here to help you launch your encore. So you can get involved in volunteering. You can consider an encore fellowship which is a sector switcher program where people from the nonprofit sector get matched with nonprofits in very high impact work. You can buy this book and do all the exercises and really do some introspection and really kind of figure out what is it that you want right now? Because it may not even be in your head. You may know what you want and need to figure out how to get there. But you may not even know what you want right now. 18 That's pretty common also.
Ted Simons: You have had quite a career yourself in journalism and now you are doing this. It sounds like an encore career for you. Am I mistaken there?
Marci Alboher: Yes and no. I call it, I had my early encore moment because I have had a few career changes already. I am a little younger than a lot of the people that I was writing about. But I certainly know how to stay in the game and reinvent continuously from what I have learned from talking to all these people who are just a step ahead of me in the career process.
Ted Simons: But you got involved for what reason? Yeah. People, people see journalists and that's a bit of a shift.
Marci Alboher: What happened for me is my first career change happened in my 30s. I was a corporate lawyer and I had a kind of crisis of conscience after about nine or 10 years, I woke up and said, I just can't do this anymore. I can't do work I don't believe in. I want to do something that feels truer to my values and I became a journalist. It was a very, very hard transition. It took me years. And eventually I started writing very regularly for the "New York Times" where I ultimately had my own column and blog called "Shifting careers." It's through that work that I became aware of the encore movement. I interviewed the founder of a nonprofit called It used to be called civic ventures and Mark Friedman who wrote the foreword to this book, I profiled him and wrote all this incredible stuff baby boomers were doing. runs something called the purpose prize and you have your own purpose prize here in Phoenix right now. It's huge cash awards. $100,000 prizes for social innovators over the age of 60. And the idea behind this work is that we all need to change our perception of what it means to be this age. It used to be that this is the time you are winding down and you are kind of, you know, passing on the reins and getting out of the way. But really, people at this new encore stage are doing really valuable work and they have all this energy that they want to apply and there is a huge talent force.
Ted Simons: With that in mind is there one question you hear the most from second careerists or those interested in going this direction?
Marci Alboher: One question I hear the most is who is going to want me? Who's going to hire sunny what about age discrimination? I hear that quite a lot. And the people who do best are the people who don't fixate on that question. You are going to have to go to places that value experience. So that's where groups like experience matters are so important because they are work to go educate nonprofits and social change organizations how best to use the talent of baby boomers. So you are probably going to do best in places who already have a consciousness of wanting to have an intergenerational work force and wanting to value your contributions.
Ted Simons: Very good. Good to have you here. Good luck on the book tour. Thanks for joining us. We appreciate it.
Marci Alboher: Thank you

Violence and Mental Illness

  |   Video
  • The tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut is raising the debate over a variety of issues, including gun control & school safety. It’s also increasing awareness about mental illness. Phoenix psychiatrist Dr. Michael Yasinski discusses what is known and what we should know about violence and mental illnesses.
  • Dr. Michael Yasinski - Psychiatrist, Phoenix
Keywords: violence, mental illness,

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Ted Simons: The tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, is raising the debate over a variety of issues, including gun control and school safety. It's also increased awareness of mental illnesses and its association with violent incidents. Here to tell us what is known and what we should know about mental illness and violence is Scottsdale psychiatrist Dr. Michael Yasinski. Good to have you here.
Dr. Michael Yasinski: Nice to be here.
Ted Simons: Define if you could for us "Dangerously mentally ill."
Dr. Michael Yasinski: State to state varies a little bit but I will stick to the Arizona statute here. Really it comes down to about three things. It means you are imminently at risk to kill yourself, imminently at risk to kill somebody else, or if you are taking such poor care of yourself that you can't meet your basic needs, like shelter, feeding, those three things kind of fall into the severe mentally ill that you could be against your will given some type of medical treatment.
Ted Simons: How does that delineate between what you are talking about and then the dangerously mentally ill who may very well be able to take care of themselves and may not, may be able to function in a variety of other ways but who have this other thing going on?
Dr. Michael Yasinski: Right. So part of the problem, and I see this all the time with my patients, is I see people not doing well at all. A lot of people have something called psychoses, which is simply being out of touch with reality in diseases like schizophrenia or bipolar. They lose their insight or the ability to think rationally but yet they are not necessarily violent at the moment but you let them go live in their house, they are not able to be forced into any kind of treatment and as 9 days go on, that process gets worse and they become very violent. And by then it's too late to act.
Ted Simons: What are some of the warning signs then where you can maybe take, see someone who has unfortunately progressing from that A to that B?
Dr. Michael Yasinski: I think if you can especially family and friends, if they can keep an eye on the person, that's always a difficult thing. Because one of the big things is these people start to isolate. And when you are isolating it's very hard for a family and friends to even see what's going on. I always say, if you notice anybody, especially with an underlying mental illness they are isolating, I think you need to have, whether it's your friends, check them out. I actually encourage people to call the police. They will go do a well check at their home and knock on their door. And you can't get in any trouble for doing that. The police will show up. They don't mind. At the very least they can put their eyes in the place and make sure nothing too crazy is going on in there.
Ted Simons: Has the definition of dangerously mentally ill person, has that definition changed over the years?
Dr. Michael Yasinski: I think it's -- it's subtly different from state to state. But in general it's pretty much the same criteria of the harm to self, harm to others is really the main two components of that.
Ted Simons: And if someone vocalizes, maybe writes this down, their intent to do these sorts, is that dangerous enough to have some sort of interaction occur?
Dr. Michael Yasinski: Yeah. It has to be specific. Almost to the point where someone is writing a plan down to hurt you, for example. Just writing down things like I like to hurt people, often aren't enough especially in Arizona where we have pretty strong rights for the people. If it's too generic that's often not enough. If it's simply talking about how I want to die but I don't have any specific suicide plans, that's often not enough. So as a psychiatrist, I end up trying to take these people in to get hospitalized, the center says, no, there's not enough evidence. So they go back on the streets. And there's nothing left to do for them until they get worse and then finally meet the criteria that they need to get worse but by then it's too late.
Ted Simons: When they get back on the streets, and you mentioned the rights of the mentally ill you are talking full rights here. You are talking second amendment rights here.
Dr. Michael Yasinski: They have full rights. Even more rights in terms of, you know, we are the ones that have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt just to show there's some risk of these people doing something. I mean, we just have to present so much evidence, and they just have to present basically the fact they are just living at home doing fine, not doing any of this and that's enough to let them go.
Ted Simons: Is there -- do you sense or see a push to change this, especially in light of recent incidents?
Dr. Michael Yasinski: I know Arizona we have some attorneys working very hard. I know chick Arnoldson, an attorney in town working on these things. In my view as a practicing psychiatrist there has to be more lenience who can we get into involuntary treatment like when a professional opinion like myself, we can see that just because there's not X, Y, and Z there, there's other stems that are just as concerning that maybe don't meet the criteria but concerning enough that I think they have to be evaluated in a hospital. So a little less stringent and rigid needs to happen, in my view.
Ted Simons: Once they are evaluated, once they are available for treatment, if you will, how do you treat those? Again, not just mentally ill but dangerously mentally ill?
Dr. Michael Yasinski: Yes. It's the same, you know, it's even hard once they are in treatment to keep them there. Because if they stop saying that they are violent or they stop saying they want to kill themselves two days into the hospital stay, then, that's a ready path to get out of that hospital stay very quickly. It almost has to be like they are consistently saying those things to get any kind of forcible treatment. So the hope that is they are recognizing some danger and you are able to medicate them and that medication gets them better enough to the point where some of their underlying mental illness starts to ease away and they come back to reality and they start thinking more rationally, and they are on their way to getting better.
Ted Simons: When you hear about these incidents in Tucson, in Newtown, Connecticut, in Colorado, the many incidents it seems like in Colorado, when you hear about these people and their lives leading up to these incidents, any surprises there at all?
Dr. Michael Yasinski: I think a lot of these people have the same background stories in terms of typical kid in school, typical kid tends to isolate, typical kid may be involved in computer games in the beginning. They kind of have that same few features. And, you know, it ends up being pretty consistent across the whole board, if you look at that type of person doing these kind of things. Because even though mental health patients don't have a hugely higher risk of violence, it still is there. It's still two to three times more violent than the regular population when you are looking at schizophrenia, bipolar, major depression, alcoholism. So it's a significant amount, even though most aren't violent, know, it is a significant percentage compared to the rest of the population.
Ted Simons: Indeed. Most kids who are isolated and playing video games don't wind up doing these sorts of things. It really is the balance there is very difficult to find.
Dr. Michael Yasinski: Right. Exactly. The other thing is, you have to be careful about part of the labeling or part of this kind of talk of how can we label people violent and how can we get them treatment and what's even force treatment, all of that works for kind of the current system of safety. But then you look back and think, well, what is the underlying problem that needs to be fixed in mental health? It really is stigma. Right? So the stigma of psychiatry is what makes people not want to even get help. If you are further stigmatizing them by saying evening is a criminal who is a psychiatric patient, you have the people that maybe would want to get help and now they don't want to come forward because they don't want to be viewed as a criminal. It's a very tough, tough slope to -- I personally feel it's getting that stigma out for people to want to get help. Because there's no way to force help on, we can try hammer the help forcing wise but that's just not the right approach in my opinion.
Ted Simons: All right. Great insight. Good to have you here. Thanks. No problem.