(By Nick Schneider)
Bill Stanczykiewicz, who serves as President and CEO of the Indiana Youth Institute, a statewide nonprofit agency that is a resource for youth-service providers, says, "Good is the enemy of great."
Stanczykiewicz spoke to a group of about 90 youth workers, faith-based leaders, educators and counselors for a Youth Worker Cafe, sponsored by the Greene County Alliance and the Indiana Youth Institute.
Stanczykiewicz talked about how youth organizations can improve their services with principles from the 1991 book "Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't" by James Collins.
"We have good things happening in your organizations and we have good things happening in our schools. We have good things happening in our congregations. We have good things often times happening in our families. Good is the enemy of great. Why?," Stanczykiewicz asked. "If things are going good, human nature says you know it's good enough. It's easy to get complacent. It's easy to stop thinking. It's easy to stop innovating. It's easy to stop thinking about those next opportunities."
He encouraged the attendees to keep thinking and looking for better ways to do things.
The Indiana Youth Institute promotes the healthy development of Indiana children and youth by serving the people, institutions and communities that impact their well-being.
IYI serves youth workers and nonprofit organizations that provide services directly to, or on behalf of, children and youth up through age 18 and their families. Their resources are used by after-school and summer camp programs, mentoring and tutoring groups, family service organizations, Scout troops, YMCAs, schools, youth ministries, arts organizations and museums with youth outreach, and agencies serving disabled or homeless children, among others. Secondary audiences include public officials, civic leaders, academics, and other policy makers who develop decisions impacting Indiana children.
The Greene County Alliance, founded in 2005, was established to build a network of support for agencies whose focus is family, youth development and growth. The group provides an avenue for county agencies to network, inform, and collaborate.
Stanczykiewicz also said the task at hand is how to inspire youngsters to develop a mindset of not settling for just being good. Push them to be great, he said.
The Youth Institute director says there are many job opportunities available to youngsters if they are encouraged to seize them.
He pointed out there are 40,000 to 50,000 jobs in the state of Indiana that are not being filled because there aren't enough workers with the right kind of qualifications.
Many of these jobs in the digital manufacturing field require a two-year Associate's degree or a one-year Workforce training credential.
Stanczykiewicz acknowledged that not all students are fitted to attend a traditional four-year college. But there are alternatives like the technical honors diploma in high school, which is only attracting about 8 percent of the students.
There is a great need to encourage post high school education, Stanczykiewicz stated.
"There is a premium on education after high school," he said. "At our Indiana Department of Workforce Development two-thirds of our Hoosier neighbors who are getting unemployment checks have a high school diploma or less. Our adult education, our adult worker training that we do, 59 percent of the Hoosiers in those programs have a freshman in high school education or less."
"We have to tell our kids now to hang in there," he said. "You need that education after high school. The jobs are there, we just have to get the word out."