Understanding the Connection Between Schools and the Workplace

Hosted by

Steve Boese

Co-Founder of H3 HR Advisors and Program Chair, HR Technology Conference

Trish McFarlane

CEO and Principal Analyst, H3 HR Advisors

About this episode

This episode of the HR Happy Hour is brought to you by Paychex, one of the leading providers of HR, payroll, retirement, and software solutions for businesses of all sizes. 

Financial capital has long been established as a key driver of business performance, but today, business leaders are increasingly recognizing the importance of their human capital in driving success. Download Paychex’s latest guide to discover why breaking down the silos between HR and finance can result in better business strategy and growth, as well as 14 simple HR metrics your teams should be tracking, and why. 

To download the e-book, visit payx.me/FDMresearch.  

This week, we met with Johnny Caupert, School Board Vice President to talk about educational changes since the pandemic began and preparing the next generation for the workforce.

– Background of how the educational system transitioned during the pandemic

– Importance of bringing in outisde perspective to any organization or team

– Process/strategy for crisis management

– Unexpected leaders emerging through this transition

 

Thank you, Johnny, for joining the show today!  Remember to subscribe to the HR Happy Hour wherever you get your podcasts.

Transition follows:

Steve 0:25
Welcome to the HR Happy Hour Show with Steve and Trish, sponsored by our friends at Paychex. Today we are going to be talking about education. Some of the changes, some of the challenges, some of the adaptations that both educators, students and parents have had to go through since the pandemic began. And we’re gonna talk maybe a little bit about the next generation of the workforce today. Trish, how are you?

Trish 0:45
I’m good, how are you?

Steve 0:47
I am great, Trish. As we record this, it’s a little bit before Thanksgiving and H3 HR is taking a little Thanksgiving break, I’ve been informed, which is exciting. So here’s the question, if you are going to take just just a day off, a mental health day, a recharge, rest update, not a crisis day or anything like that. Just I’m taking a day for me. What would that day look like Trish, what would you do?

Trish 1:13
Well, that’s a tough question. If you’re asking what I would do, I would because I think I have like ADHD, I would probably do way too many chores around the house and catch up on things. But if you were actually asking me what I should do to relax, I should actually just find a good book, curl up on the couch with a nice warm blanket. And truly relaxed. I’m not very good at that. I don’t know. What would you do? Would you have like a thing you go do or would you truly just relax?

Steve 1:40
Oh, yeah, I have a whole list. I watch soccer, probably German soccer, or perhaps English League. I would exercise. I would maybe go for a jog. Then I’d barbecue for a while.

Trish 1:53
Isn’t that like every weekend you’ve ever had?

Steve 1:57
That’s like pretty much every Saturday.

Trish 1:59
So you’re like living relaxation life?

Steve 2:02
Yeah, but if I did all that on a Tuesday, that’d be better. That would be a true mental health day.

Trish 2:08
If you did it on a Tuesday, you’d probably have to actually work on a Saturday so it doesn’t seem fun. Okay, we’ll have to ask our guest.

Steve 2:14
We will so I hope folks are getting time off or we’ll get time off or have gotten time off by the time they hear this after the Thanksgiving holiday. We are very excited to welcome a special guest today. Johnny Caupert, he’s from Waterloo, Illinois. Trish, I know somebody else from Waterloo. He’s a school board member there. He’s a high school parent and he’s the executive director of the National Corn to Ethanol Research Center. Johnny was born and raised on a grain and livestock farm near Pinckneyville. Illinois as who wasn’t he his degree in agriculture, economics and agricultural policy. His focus at the National Corn to Ethanol Research Center is focused on the commercialization of products and technologies in the biotech industry. That sounds very complicated. John is also a licensed aviator and pilot. That’s very cool. That’s probably the second coolest little snippet of bio we had. We had like a special agent on the show, former FBI special agent. That was pretty cool. It’s number two. Okay, Johnny, welcome the show.

Johnny Caupert 3:11
Thank you. It’s great to be here. Steve and Trish.

Steve 3:13
It’s good to see you, Johnny. You you got a lot going on. I don’t know if you get to take a mental health day. But if you did, what would you do? What would be your like, Hey, I’m chilling today. I’m taking a break for me.

Johnny Caupert 3:23
So Steve, I’m like you I’d have a list. My wife affectionately says that I live my life in the form of an outline. Because I do so. But if it was a true Mental Health Day, that’s actually pretty easy. I was born and raised on a farm. So I would head back to my parents farm. That is my bastion of calm. So that’s exactly where I would go. And when I would be there. I would just hang out, maybe do a little bit of ATV riding. Maybe just walk around in the woods. Yeah, just experiencing the silence. That would be my mental health.

Steve 3:57
That sound pretty good.

Trish 3:59
That’d be perfect.

Steve 4:00
Well, Johnny, we are so glad you’re here to talk a little bit. Adjacent to maybe the normal subject matter we talk about, right? We don’t really talk about education too much. But we talk about workforce training a lot, but not really so much about, you know, primary, you know, even lower than that, like level education. So maybe we’ll just start off with Johnny, give us a little perspective from from your post as a school board member?

Johnny Caupert 4:28
Yeah. So I love the question about you know, not only how long have I been involved in in education, Board of Education, but what prompted me to get get involved? So I’ll go the latter part first. My wife and I were not natives of the community of Waterloo, Illinois, where we now live like a lot of folks were transplants where the parents have an only child. And when our daughter started kindergarten, I felt like I owed it not only to my daughter, but to myself to know what was going on in the school in which she was going to be a student. So I started attending school board meetings. And I go to these school board meetings, the third Monday of every month and hear the Board of Education, the administration, there may be one or two folks representing local newspapers. And then there would be me. And I sat there for a couple of years, attending these meetings, and all of a sudden, I thought, you know, this is something that I think that I’d like to be more involved in meaning instead of just being an attendee, be a participant. So in 2013, I ran for school board, just was reelected this spring to my third term on the board of education, and absolutely have loved every minute of it, despite the challenges that we’re going to talk about. Yeah, for the last couple of years have loved every minute of it.

Steve 5:48
Yeah, just one more thing for me, Johnny, how are these campaigns? Is there mudslinging going on?

Johnny Caupert 5:53
I’m brutal. Okay. I mean, I’m red meat on everything. I mean, in my personal life, my professional life, and when I campaign for, for school board, when I decided to run for school board in 2012. And I’m very transparent about it. There were some things going on within the school district that I just wasn’t super fond of. One of the things was in the elementary schools, we had eliminated our arts program. I’m a big believer in the arts. And we had eliminated that for for budget reasons. That was one of the things that prompted me to, to very much get involved. So yes, my campaign was not some soft, you know, I didn’t I didn’t play around. And you know, as a non Waterloo native, there’s only three folks by the name of Caupert and the community of Waterloo, Illinois, to now live in your home, they live in my home, okay, my wife and daughter, and out of six candidates. I came in second, of three seats that were open. So I was elected to the Board of Education and have been elected twice since.

Trish 6:57
Can you just say to you, though, I think coming especially in a small town, when you come in and you’re new, I’ve been here five years. It’s a challenge because a lot of the people who live in these small towns across the country have grown up in these towns, they have deep ties. Have you had any kind of, I guess any pressure or barriers because of coming in new or was it a was it a benefit? Maybe that you’re coming in with different ideas? Maybe things they hadn’t heard of? How do people take that?

Johnny Caupert 7:23
I think Trish, it was a combination of the two. One of the things that caught me so off guard, when I first moved to Waterloo and and then ran for Board of Education was the first time I was asked, you know, who are you from home? Or where are you from home? And I said, What does that mean? I’m me from home. But there’s this there’s this phrase in the community board room? Oh, yeah. It’s like a thing. So that made me realize I was a bit of an outsider, because all the natives of Waterloo, Illinois, and Monroe County, Illinois, they all knew that phrase. But there was also I think, some uniqueness and newness, that some folks I’d write letters to the editor, I was crazy on social media was stuff and folks just began to scratch. It could hexis copper guy, you know, who is this outspoken guy, because we’re intrigued by what he has to say. So I really think Trish, it was a combination of the two some barriers because I was not a native of here, folks didn’t know the name, right. But then folks quickly were intrigued by this guy brings a different perspective. And that’s what I campaigned on.

Steve 8:26
Yeah. And that’s such a great lesson to just, you know, against the stuff we normally talk about in the world of work in the workplace, that bringing in that outside perspective, in any organization in any team. It’s so valuable and so important, even though there’s often resistance to it. Right. But we we see throughout our careers again, and again, where that outside perspective, that different way of thinking, just some fresh ideas is so valuable.

Trish 8:50
Absolutely. I mean, I think too, if you don’t do that you wind up with a board member or board of people who don’t get much done. Right, and it becomes very stagnant. So even though you’ve been reelected several times, it sounds like I mean, you’re so out there with talking to people in the community listening to their ideas, which again, is a very different approach than a lot of school boards across the country have. So do you feel like you get a lot of input from your constituents? Or do they kind of know how you think now and you’re seeing that kind of died down a little bit? Where did where does the community stand?

Johnny Caupert 9:25
That’s a great question, Trish. And one of the things I think that has been very beneficial for me personally, but also professionally, to my fellow board members, to the school district to the community as a whole is just my willingness to talk to anybody at any time about anything. Not now, some folks are a little put off by that. Why are you willing to put yourself out there? Well, I’m wanting to put myself out there because while I might be an elected school board member, I’m a parent first and the overwhelming majority of folks that contact me either directly or indirectly Your parents first, as a parent that’s complimented by them being a taxpayer in the community, their voice, their opinion deserves to be heard. They know that I’m willing to listen. And therefore I do. Just because I listen, that’s not a promise that I can do anything about their issue or their problem. But I’m willing to listen, and more often than not, that’s all that folks are looking for somebody willing to listen.

Trish 10:23
Yeah, just more of a generic question to before I know, Steve’s going to get into more. But what we’ve talked about with our other guests who came from Waterloo High School, but more of a generic question, if I’m a listener, and I’m thinking about my own school district, my children’s, you know, school district, what would you say to encourage someone maybe to get more involved? Right? You You’ve been involved? Since your daughter is very young, do you? What if my kids are just now in high school? Is it too late? Because they cannot do it? Should they go that route of the boards that get into a PTA? What do you think they should do?

Johnny Caupert 10:57
Get involved, get involved, get involved, one of the unique things that we’ve witnessed over the last 20 or 21 months, because the COVID pandemic, we have a greater turnout at board meetings than we’ve had in my previous seven or eight years on the board combined. Now, sometimes those meetings get a bit entertaining, with some of the opinions and some of the voices that are there. But you know, what filters showing up, and they’re getting involved. And it’s never too late. If it’s the last quarter of the last semester of the senior year in high school, have your child or your student, it’s not too late to get involved.

Steve 11:37
Johnny mentioned the last 20 or 21 months, right, and we can’t not talk about that, right. And we’ve had a lot of shows over those last 20 or 21 months about the pivot to work from home and then maybe bringing people back to the offices and maybe not and testing mandates and vaccine mandates. We’ve covered the workplace angles of this pandemic 100 different ways. Well, we haven’t really talked too much about maybe not at all really about is the impact on education other than like, sort of personally, right? It’s just you got kids in the world school system in high schools, and many of our listeners are kids, school aged kids, of course, I love Johnny, if you look back through last probably March of 2020. So tell us about what was that like when he the world’s changing, things are getting worse, people are starting to get scared and the school needs to react. And if you could just reflect a little bit back on those very early days. And what were you talking about? What were you thinking about? And then what did you end up having to do say in spring of 2020?

Johnny Caupert 12:37
Absolutely, Steve. Well, first off, I remember exactly what day it was. It was March 16th. I remember exactly where I was. One of the things that I do in my personal time is I played trumpet. I played three musical instruments for many years.We’ll leave it like that. And on occasion, I’ll pick up my trumpet now join in with our high school band in high school was getting ready, getting ready to conduct a talent show. And the band director had asked me whether I would emcee the talent show. I said, sure. He’s like, hey, why don’t you bring your trumpet along? He goes, we can’t know jazz band performance that we’re going to get to do during the town. Sure. I said, Great. So here it was was rehearsal. It was practice for the talent show here had my trumpet. I was playing with the jazz man. Long story short, that was March 16. The very next day, there was a meeting of the Board of Education, whenever it was announced. Don’t have a choice. We’re going remote. My next two weeks. And this wasn’t this was not a local decision. Right. This was like an across the board or across the across the state.

Steve 13:46
Okay, statewide then.

Johnny Caupert 13:49
I don’t think anybody thought that it was going to be longer than two weeks. I really think all indicators were two weeks. Let this COVID bug, let this thing calm down. Boy, the next thing you know, whenever students were requested, then required to clear out their lockers and clear out all their belongings. It’s like, okay, this is this is very, very real. None of us in our lifetimes. There’s not a human being in this community old enough that’s lived through a pandemic before, especially a global pandemic. It was not chaos, though. It was concern. And that’s where we were collectively, at least in the onset of this pandemic and going remote.

Trish 14:39
Can you talk a little bit about how does a school board are there? Are there set sort of guidelines to handle I mean, maybe not a pandemic, per se, but any type of unexpected change because I think too in the workplace. There aren’t a lot of companies that have an outline process or strategy even in place. So we’ve heard a lot from you know, different organs. As a profit for profit who have just struggled because they didn’t have any kind of plan, does a school district as a school board have any sort of sort of plan for any kind of crisis that comes up? Or was that something you all had to make up? In conjunction with the states? Were obviously in guidance. But was that something that you had to make up? Or was there a guideline for you?

Johnny Caupert 15:21
I think it would depend on how you define crisis, right? You know, tornadoes, school intruders, those those sorts of crisis. There was definitely not not a manual. There was there was no playbook on what in the world do you do? Whenever you’ve got to send nearly 3000 kids remote? And oh, by the way, we have to figure out how to teach them while they while they are remote, you know, things like zoom, some of us had never even heard of it, much less used virtual learning, what the heck even is that? virtual communication? How do that, but what we quickly realized, again, hey, we’re all in this together. This is a non judgmental time. We have to be patient. At least that’s how it was, Steve, early on. Yeah, it began to change over time.

Steve 16:09
Yeah, I’d love to then get into that a little bit more, Johnny? Because, you know, there’s a lot of impact on students. Trish, you’ve seen that in your own kids, right? We’re part of the school district, and everybody’s listening has seen the impact on kids who were thrust into remote learning. And I know there’s a million stories out there every kid adapted to it differently. Some did okay with it, some didn’t, etc. From my perspective, I’m interested in maybe we don’t hear enough about John, I love your comment about it is the educators themselves, teachers, teaching assistants, those involved in actually delivering those services to the students? Right, they were perhaps not prepared as well. Right. I’d love for you to comment a little bit about what did you and your teams do? And what what did you see working well, to try to help them right? Get through this and still kind of manage this really complex mix of trying to do their jobs, educate their students take care of their own kids, maybe right might be at home, if they haven’t, or their elderly, family members, etc. So I’d love for you to kind of a little bit about that perspective.

Johnny Caupert 17:07
So I’d like to start with the minimum first. And something that we can’t lose perspective of is the fact that a very high percentage of our teachers, while they might be educators, professionally, their parents as well, and their parents first. So they had their children be concerned about many of which were students in the school district. And then, you know, how do I conduct these remote learning lessons, so on and so forth? I think collectively, we did a very, very good job, given the circumstances. Now that being said, there’s some struggles? Absolutely, depending on levels of experience with technology, advanced technology, that’s what said, I think the curve or the learning curve, on how some of the educators were able to we’re able to adapt, how able were they to pick up utilizing new technology, virtual learning, Zoom classes, even recording your class? How do you do that? So yes, I think the thing that I was most inspired by, again, in the early days of this was the support, that I saw not only the internal support for the educators, meaning they really bonded as a team, helping each other assisting each other, but but support that we saw across the community as well. Without that support, I think the challenge could have been far greater than what it was.

Trish 18:30
Did you see any person or group of people emerge, maybe as leaders, because they had a good understanding maybe of technology, or just had used some sort of remote technology before maybe that were in leadership roles. I know, in organizations, we started to hear about stories where, you know, maybe someone who was more mid level was really good at handling zoom meetings, or so forth. And they started becoming almost advisors to their leadership, was there any of that in the school district?

Johnny Caupert 18:59
Absolutely, I saw that. I mean, folks that rise above and beyond, and difficult situations in difficult environments. And sometimes the it’s the unexpected, right? Sometimes it’s that educator, that person that, you know, on the surface, they seem to be the individual that’s maybe a little more shy, or sometimes they’re the one that sits in the background. They’re the one that doesn’t want to be noticed. All of a sudden, they’re dealt this hand that nobody could expect. And they’re the one that rises up. And you know what, maybe it’s just a level of comfort that they have in a challenging environment, but maybe it is more directly experience related, maybe they are more comfortable with advanced technology and therefore they can take those skills that they have or they’ve learned, and they pass those along to others. We saw that in droves here in the hearing the Waterloo community and if it’s okay to point out one name in particular, I think now about our assistant principal that we have in our junior high you know, Amber Cruser who’s very, very involved on all things technology, she’s helped this Board of Education for nearly the last two years. You know what these things, you know, remote board meetings, Zoom board means how in the world even do these things? Well, Amber’s just one example. Nick Hergenroder who essentially runs our IT department. These are just a couple of folks that really went above and beyond to help their peers within the school district. It’s something that will be forever remembered.

Trish 20:25
Yeah. Will there be any opportunities? Do you think over time, where people like that will have maybe greater promotion opportunities? Because they rose to the occasion? I don’t mean those two civically, obviously, but just people who maybe maybe it’s a kindergarten teacher who just went above and beyond them being very, you know, outgoing and creative with how they were teaching a class or something. Is there any? I mean, just the board kind of look at that, or do principals look at that sort of thing in the workplace about those people might rise up maybe to become the future assistant principals or principals of a school?

Johnny Caupert 20:58
So performance reviews, which I think education has a different term for it than performance review, right? In private sector, in our in our professional eyes, we call them performance reviews, but I’m certain that whenever building principals are administrators, and they’re the ones that conduct the reviews, performance reviews of teachers and educators, I’m certain that those things probably probably stand out. And we as members of the Board of Education, when we see it, you know, as a parent of a of a child in the district, when I would see it firsthand, I was certain certain certain to make it known in a board meeting, Hey, I saw this teacher I saw this educator, I saw this administrator go above and beyond rise up during these difficult times. So it absolutely goes gets noticed.

Steve 21:44
Thank you, Johnny, I have a couple more questions I wanted to get into around sort of educating the workforce of the future and a little bit about working parents. But first church, we must thank our sponsors, we have our friends at paychecks. This episode of the HR Happy Hour is brought to you by Paychex one of the leading providers of HR, payroll, retirement, and insurance solutions for businesses of all sizes. Financial capital has long been established as a key driver of business performance. But today, business leaders are increasingly recognizing the importance of their human capital and driving success. Download Paychex latest guide to discover why breaking down the silos between HR and finance can result in better business strategy and growth, as well as 14 Simple HR metrics your team should be tracking and why to download the ebook, please visit payx.me/fdmresearch. That’s payx.me/fdmresearch. Thanks to our friends at Paychex.

Trish 22:39
Thank you. And I feel like that would be great reading for this weekend. Don’t you?

Steve 22:44
On a mental health day? Read a mental health day about 14 metrics for HR? I would probably enjoy that.

Trish 22:50
You know, it’s funny. I was asking you on the WORK BREAK today about learning and how you know we use Outlook and in a blast if you want learning time. If you’re someone that books your learning time as you should into your week ahead. I feel like that’s a good use of your you know, 15 or 20 minutes.

Steve 23:08
I absolutely would Trish, yeah, absolutely. Good stuff. All right, back to Johnny. So Johnny, a couple things for me. You mentioned you’re an educator, you’re a member of the school board. But if you’re a parent first, many of the educators are also parents first, the working world, the workplace is full of working parents. And I think if nothing else, the last couple of years have shown organizations of all kinds that boy, your working parents who are working in your organization, man, they’ve got an incredible set of challenges, particularly as you said, Johnny back in 2020, when with a day’s notice, all the students were sent home for adult learning, and parents who had to scramble right to try to figure out how they’re going to manage that, especially if they had to leave the home right to go to the workplace, which quite honestly, most of us we’re doing right? Yeah. So I’d love for you to comment a little bit. Just maybe generally, I guess your your thoughts of what can HR leaders, business leaders, etc, kind of just think about and consider and be more just mindful of the challenges that the parents in their organizations are going through on a day to day basis?

Johnny Caupert 24:13
Right? Well over the last 20 to 21 months. I mean, I’ve seen it firsthand, one of the things that that I take great pride in as an employer is family first. And everybody that knows me, again, whether it’s in my personal life, whether it’s in my professional life, they know that when it comes to Johnny copper family comes first, no matter what, I think there were a few over the last couple of years and supervisory positions, employer type positions, maybe some HR positions, that the learning curve for them was was a little bit steeper, when I think in particular about the single parents out there and maybe the single parent mom, who was working two part time jobs just to be able to put food on the table and pay bills and all All of a sudden, through no fault of her own, she has these challenges that she never thought she would experience in our lifetime. There’s not a school for her child to go to. There’s not a daycare for her to go through. Daycares that are open, aren’t taking any more children, she has to continue to work. Again, to be able to pay bills. This was on precedented. And I think some employers and some HR executives, frankly handled that better than then than others did. Regardless of how we handled it. We certainly all learned that in the future, we need to number one, be much more open minded than some of us were and adapt to things. Not everything is in a square little box, and we must be willing to adapt and think outside of the box. Yeah, absolutely.

Trish 25:47
Yeah. I was just talking with someone yesterday, one of our clients, and she was saying that, you know, we had a meeting scheduled and she had a sick toddler. And so I said, Of course let’s just reschedule the meeting. And she goes, Oh, no, she’s asleep. But like, we went ahead and did it. But it was just someone telling you that I don’t think I would have had someone tell me that two years ago, right? You wouldn’t say I’m, I need to work and be at home with my baby and all this. He just didn’t do it. And so if I mean, a lot of bad, of course comes out of a pandemic, but a lot of good does, too. And I think that open lines of communication from employers, employers, seeing leaders have the same struggles, that kind of levels, the playing field a little bit, if you’re, if you are an HR leader, if you’re the CEO, CFO, whatever, you might have the same challenges. I think too. The other thing we haven’t really talked about with all of this, all these topics, is that we’re actually dealing with people who were sick, too, in the midst of just that we were right, taking care of kids who are now we’re schooling them from home. I know when, when that day came along, you know, my sister and I quickly got our high schoolers together. And we started doing masterclass, because the school district was in the middle of planning what was going to happen, right? We didn’t want to miss a step, right? So we were like, we’re gonna teach these kids but it was also the stress of, well, someone in our family could get sick. Maybe it’s an older person could get sick or whatnot. Have you had much communication? I know a lot of people are showing up for board meetings and such or maybe calling you have you heard any positive stories around how people have been feeling more supported? Because it maybe it’s the teachers being more supported? When they have sick parents sick children? Is any of that have we have maybe you didn’t feel like they had before?

Johnny Caupert 27:31
Right? We, you know, it’s interesting, because in challenging times, it’s the extreme vocal minority, the loudest voice that that garner’s the attention, and I don’t know whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. It’s just a thing. But it’s often the hundreds, maybe 1000s of great things that go on told to you never hear about, because people just do it. Maybe it’s a teacher that reached out to a student, weekly, because they knew that that student was struggling while they were in school. Or maybe they know that that student has a difficult home life. And these are things that just some of us just take for granted. And those stories, I mean, you can literally write books, on the stories of the good things that occurred over the last 20 to 21 months, we I can say that, again, in the eight plus years that I’ve been on the school board, we truly saw more bonding, more bonding in the last 20 to 21 months than I’ve seen in the previous years, combined. I mean, we really bonded as a family, in this community. And I don’t see that bond being broken. And I think that’s a very, very positive thing for education moving forward. One of the things though, that did I just have to mention though, is with all of this, you know, remote learning out of school, as a parent, but also as a board member, I was very, very outspoken about when our kids can be back in school, we need them to be back in school, the whole social, emotional, mental health part of it, right? I mean, as human beings, we want to interact with other humans. And I saw it in my own daughter, who’s an only child, being away from her friends, being away from her chair team, this daughter of mine over four to five months time, almost got to the point where I wasn’t even recognizing her. Not physical, but just her as, as as a person. So having them back in school, in person I know that remains controversial was some to this day, and I respect the heck out of that, but also very much believe that as human animals, we need that social interaction, which is great for the kids.

Trish 29:49
I talked to a gentleman who used to be my benefits broker yesterday. And when I was a practitioner, and he was kind of saying the same thing about bringing employees back, he’s like, we just want them back. We’re not going to make them come back. But we see a change in mental, you know, just awareness and well being when we’re not together. Right. And so there is something to be said for. There are benefits to it. I mean, I, I will say having my two at home for an additional year before they go off to college for me was good, right? I had a job where I was already working from home, and I could maybe accommodate a little easier than some other people who didn’t have that luxury. But I will say for them, being back in school was was much better for mental health and for their social well being as well. I wonder, do you have any thoughts on what that might look like, though, as these as these kids, this group of maybe high schoolers or college age students who have you know, gone through this, when they enter the workforce? Do we think there’s going to be any fallout? I mean, I guess it’s too early to tell, but you have any, just any sort of fit a look into your crystal ball? What do you think as a parent, as someone who deals with a lot of teenagers

Johnny Caupert 30:58
has only, I only have an opinion on it. And I think the number of college bound students getting degrees in social work, I think it’s going to explode. There’s going to be more degrees in social work over the next maybe 40 years, than we ever could have imagined. Just because of you know, experiences as a student are at home. And, and again, I think about my, my own family, my wife works in, in health care, she never worked remote, right, she went to work every single day, never missed a day. I’m executive director of a biotech research center. We never went remote. We were at work every single day throughout this. And then I think about my daughter. So my daughter was 15, then turn 16. During this pandemic, she was able to stay home alone, do the school activities and staff. But what if she would have been younger, and we wouldn’t had daycare? Or we went ahead? Childcare? It had been a whole different experience for the for the corporate family. So yeah, so many lessons learned through this.

Steve 32:04
Yeah, this is great stuff. Johnny, we could go on and on and on, I imagine. But perhaps we will on another show. Because we want to bring you back Johnny to talk about the other half of your life. Right? Well, happy to write science that we’re into. And some of the US want to get into, like, you know, the challenges of finding, you know, STEM talent and training people for these high tech jobs in the future. I want to get in some of that, too. We’ll do that on sort of part two of our conversation with you, Johnny. But for part one, thanks so much for joining us, sort of shedding some light sort of behind the scenes on like, everything we’ve read about we’ve heard about, right, we some of us have lived through it. But we really, you know, don’t really get I don’t get to talk to board members and folks who are involved in the decision making and the implementation of the of all the changes that have happened in schools and supporting students and supporting educators and supporting parents through all this. It’s really fantastic and educational for me, too. So Johnny, thanks so much for joining us.

Johnny Caupert 32:59
Thank you appreciate it.

Steve 33:00
All right, good stuff, Trish.

Trish 33:01
Good stuff. Right. I feel like I’ve learned a ton. And I think it’s really interesting how it really applies to what we’re going through in the workplace as well. Right, the same types of decisions and planning and just being thrown into it. It’s it’s good to hear actually, that it was that well thought out at the education level as well.

Steve 33:20
And I think it’s a good reminder that the leaders were debating these things about safe returning to the workplace, and when and how long and flexible working policies that are set up, the more transparent they can be about the conversations, the discussion points, the more that they can share with employees, the better off everyone’s going to be, because they’re going to feel like they’re part of that process. And they’re going to feel like they were included. And even if they don’t agree, right with the outcome, at least they feel like maybe that they were understood and they were listened to. And I think that’s really important as well, good luck.

Trish 33:55
And to consider what your local school districts are doing as well. I think, you know, that’s probably my big takeaway from this, too, is I wouldn’t have thought of that as maybe a catalyst for the way if I’m the employer that I’m handling things, but what is my local school district doing? Could I even talk to my local school board to get some advice or superintendent to get advice on what to be doing in my workplace?

Steve 34:15
I know we sort of like wrapped up the show. We didn’t really get into this Johnny hinted at it a lot, which is, but it’s a it provides a better awareness, I think for me, and hopefully listeners too, but our communities are an ecosystem of institutions. And they’re all related. So what happens in the school has impact on what happens at home. What happens in other workplaces? What happens in healthcare, what happens in public service and first responders? Right? It’s a circle and it’s all connected.

Trish 34:41
We’re gonna get Johnny more phone calls.

Steve 34:42
Good stuff. All right. I need to stop if I’m talking too long I can show Johnny thanks so much. Just thanks so much. Thanks to our friends at Paychex, of course. Remember all the show archives are at HRHappyHour.net. Thanks for listening. We will see you next time. And bye for now.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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