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Category — CEO

Dropouts Are Putting a Major Strain on Our Economy

marc blog july 14by Marc Joseph, reprinted from The Huffington Post

Despite all the efforts of every president from Kennedy to Obama, kids not completing their high school education are a blight on our society. According to DoSomething.org, every year, over 1.2 million students drop out of high school in the United States alone. This comes to 7,000 kids a day dropping out. Twenty five percent of high school freshmen fail to graduate on time. The U.S., which in 1970 had had the world’s highest graduation rates of any developed country, now ranks 22 out of 27 countries in the developed world. Two thousand high schools across this country graduate fewer than 60% of their students. In the U.S., high school dropouts commit 75% of our crimes.

The unemployment rate for dropouts is 9.1%, for those with high school diplomas it’s 5.8% and with college degrees, 3.3%. The average high school dropout earns $20,240 annually versus $30,600 for a high school graduate. According to The New York Times, if we could reduce the number of dropouts by a little over half, this would yield close to 700,000 new high school graduates each year. These 700,000 new graduates a year would obtain a higher rate of employment and earnings and would be less likely to draw on public money for health care and welfare and less likely to be involved in the criminal justice system. And because of the increase in income, these 700,000 graduates each year would contribute more in tax revenues. Each of these graduates over their lifetime produces a net benefit to taxpayers of $127,000 in government savings. This would benefit the public close to $90 billion each year, which turns into $1 trillion after 11 years. That is serious money and an easy issue that both Democrats and Republicans can rally behind to reduce our deficit while supporting funding for education.

Throughout the years, all of our leaders have made attempts to reduce the dropout rate through improving our educational system. Kennedy hastened school desegregation to integrate public schools to give all kids the hope of a better education. Johnson established Head Start so all kids would have a chance to start on equal footing. Carter upgraded the Department of Education to cabinet level status. Clinton passed the “Goals 2000 Educate America Act,” which gave resources to states and communities to enact outcomes-based education with the theory that students will reach higher levels of achievement when more is expected of them. George W. Bush passed the “No Child Left behind Act,” which worked to close the gap between rich and poor students by targeting more federal funding to low-income schools. And Obama passed the $4.35 Billion “Race to the Top” legislation which has competitive grants supporting education reform and innovations in classrooms. Yet, we still have 1.2 million students dropping out of high school each year…

In my own state, from a new report by our mayors, according to the Arizona Republic, the 18,000 high-school dropouts this year will cost Arizona $7.6 billion over their lifetime. Phoenix, the country’s sixth largest city, in 2012 had the highest rate of youth disconnection among the country’s 25 largest metro areas with 24% of its students dropping out of high school. Our mayors say this year’s dropouts will cost Arizona $4.9 billion in lost income, $869 million in health costs, $1.7 billion in crime-related expenses and $26 million in welfare over their lifetime. On top of all this, statewide, 22% of youth 16-24 years old are not working or not in school, which is 182,000 young people.

The societal impact of our kids dropping out of school is devastating. Our schools know early on when many of these kids are in trouble. Key indicators include poor grades in core subjects, low attendance rates, failure to be promoted to the next grade and disengagement in the classrooms which would also include behavioral problems. So to save these kids, we have to start early. Our government needs to invest in early childhood education. When students enter school without the needed knowledge and skills, they begin behind and just never catch up. Early childhood programs need to support the emotional, cognitive and social development of kids.

So what should our schools do to curb this enormous economic problem? Because many dropouts feel alienated from others and disconnected from the school experience, schools must ensure that all students have meaningful relationships with adults while at school. This obviously includes teachers and administrators, but should include counselors, volunteers and more paid and unpaid mentors. Schools must have individualized learning sessions and non-traditional options. These options may include online learning and intensive tutoring programs. Also, students with disabilities, who are twice as likely to dropout as students with no disabilities, must be offered greater personalization programs from k-12.

This is truly a grassroots effort in each community to lower our dropout rates. There are national programs to help on the local level. Communities in Schools is an organization that has been around for 30 years that helps bring community resources inside public schools, providing resources for at risk kids to succeed in the classroom and in life. The Boys & Girls Clubs of America provide programs, services and a safe place to learn and grow and connect with adults. And at DollarDays through our Facebook page, we are giving away $5,000 worth of products schools can use, so please nominate a school that deserves our help.

Dropouts cause our society emotional pain, because we all feel sorry for those less fortunate and struggling to survive. But the cold hard facts are they cause us economic pain that could be avoided once we admit, like the mayors of Arizona, that our dropout rate has an economic impact that we can’t ignore any longer. We have got to get our schools the resources to go at this problem head on. Maybe if we approach our current Congressional leaders that this is an economics problem, not a school funding issue, we can finally get their attention…

August 5, 2014   No Comments

How to Survive the Peak Seasons as a Retailer

Marc Josephby Marc Joseph, President and CEO of DollarDays

Running a retail business is like getting your report card every single day. It is a business of “thanks for what you did for me yesterday, but what can you do for me today?” It has to be one of the most stressful occupations in this country, yet if you do well, it can be the most exhilarating and fun businesses to live and breathe every day. What causes this stress versus reward cycle in retailing?

Good retailers balance looking into the future and planning for the next season with what is happening in my business today. The future plays to the heart of retailers because you analyze what went well last year and where there are opportunities to improve. Optimism abounds about the future because retailers are a confident and hopeful bunch…otherwise they would be in a profession that looks to the past rather than looking ahead. So planning ahead is the enjoyable part of retailing, because no mistakes have been made, yet.

Living in your business today is a different story. Most businesses measure themselves against what happened last year in sales. Sure there are mitigating circumstances that could alter the numbers you are up against, like more or less competition, change in customers’ taste preferences or suppliers of your key products going in or out of business. But every retailer has last year’s numbers recorded by day and look at these numbers three or four times a day during their peak seasons to see if they are going to beat them. Take my business as an example. Our two peak seasons are Back to School and Christmas. Currently we are in our Back to School season. Our staff meets quickly throughout the day to gauge where we are against last year each day. When we had the biggest day in our company’s history last week, it was the greatest feeling I have had since the day my son was born. When we only did half of what we did last year three days later, I felt like an old man who was on his way to retirement… so living each day in business to its fullest during peak seasons is like riding a roller coaster all day long. You are exhausted at the end of the day on bad days and exhilarated and can’t wait to wake up and start again on the good days.

We will get through the Back to School season, so now I am worried about the Christmas season. Do we have enough products to offer our customers and as important, are they the right products? Have we been watching the trends of the last few months to help give us an indication of what will be successful this fall? Do we have the most sophisticated methods to market to our customers efficiently and effectively during the holiday season? Do I have the right sales staff in place that will be able to relate to our customers? All of these are questions that will keep my staff and me up at night, because they are the unknowns…and then November hits and we are right back into the cycle of living day to day with our numbers much like we are in today for Back to School.

But I would not have it any other way. The ebb and flow of providing customers what they need when they need it at the right price is part of a true retailer’s heart and soul. The highs and lows that go with it are just part of the game of life.

July 18, 2014   No Comments

Winners receive 100 stuffed backpacks for kids

free backpacksWE HAVE WINNERS!!

Congratulations to:
Mary Jane Coward of Dillion, SC
Teresa Riddle of Clayton, NC
Ann Welch of Ludington, MI
Mary Shariat of Mobile, AL

Each of the above nominees won 25 backpacks stuffed with school supplies in our June Facebook Giveaway.

Thank you to the THOUSANDS of people who took the time to nominate teachers to help their students.

DollarDays is absolutely committed to helping teachers. We are a strong advocate of education and helping our teachers (who we call heroes) have the tools they need to teach and grow our future leaders. Marc Joseph, our CEO, wrote a thoughtful article on education in the Huffington Post that we hope you’ll read. We truly ARE champions of education.

This month, we are giving ten teachers each $500 to spend at DollarDays to help stock their classrooms! Please nominate a teacher on our Facebook page contest.

July 2, 2014   No Comments

Marc Joseph interviewed in Success Magazine!

marc joseph success magazineSome of you know that DollarDays’ CEO, Marc Joseph, authored the book, The Secrets of Retailing or How to Beat Wal-Mart! to help small businesses compete in the world of big box stores. In fact, DollarDays.com has a wealth of Marc Joseph’s business and entrepreneurial articles, focusing on small businesses for you to enjoy.

But this time, Marc didn’t do the writing; he was interviewed by Success Magazine for an article they titled “Want to write a book? Our step by step guide.”  Marc gave his candid advice for wannabe authors including how writing a book can ultimately help your business. You can read the article here.

March 24, 2014   No Comments

The War on Poverty is back; this time, it’s the people’s burden

 

blogmar14In the United States, one in five children live in a household with not enough food to eat. Feeding America reports that 15.9 million kids under the age of 18 live in this condition where they are unable to consistently access nutritious and adequate amounts of food necessary for a healthy life. Last month Congress passed a sweeping  that cut an additional $8.6 billion from food stamps (SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) over the next 10 years. This is on top of the $5 billion the program lost last November because the 2009 Recovery Act stimulus bill expired. Forty-seven million Americans currently participate in SNAP, up 47 percent since the Great Recession started in 2008. This means that 15 percent of us rely on this program to eat. Last year the US spent $78 billion on the SNAP program.

We don’t have to be math whizzes to know that a 47 percent increase in participation coupled with a reduction in the funding of $13.6 billion spells misery for millions of Americans. This program has been the federal social safety net for low-income Americans and now this safety net is beginning to tear.

The New York Times reports that more and more people are beginning to show up at soup kitchens and food pantries. The first reduction in November cut out 23 meals per month for a family of four. In New York City, the number of people seeking food aid grew by 85 percent after the November cuts while 23 percent of the city’s food pantries and soup kitchens reduced the number of meals they provided. Food stamps were the signature program of President Johnson’s War on Poverty during the 1960s which led to fewer poor children going hungry or having nutrition related developmental delays. Birth weights also grew for children of poor mothers on food stamps. As a nation, we can’t afford to go back to the nutritional standards before the War on Poverty.

Luckily for us, our nonprofit organizations are stepping in and have created food banks to help fill the void continually shaped by Congress. The world’s first food bank started in 1967, right after the War on Poverty began. St. Mary’s Food Bank was started by John Van Hengel who was volunteering at St. Vincent DePaul in Phoenix, Arizona, serving dinners to those in need. A mother told him the soup kitchens and grocery store dumpsters were the only way she could feed her children. John went to the local parish, St. Mary’s Basilica and shared his vision of collecting food and money for food and depositing it where those in need could withdraw it. They gave John $3,000 and an abandoned building to get the food bank up and running. Today food banks touch just about every corner of the USA.

For example, Ozarks Food Harvest, one of the Feeding America food banks in Springfield, MO, distributes food to 320 hunger relief organizations across 29 Missouri counties reaching 41,000 people a month. To help hungry children, they have a weekend backpack program, where they fill 1,500 backpacks with food so these underprivileged kids can have something to eat when they can’t eat at school. How can you not love an organization that takes care of others every day of the week!

The State of Kentucky is setting an example for the rest of government in how to encourage its citizens to help others. Its legislature has made it easier for Kentuckians to donate to the Farms to Food Banks Program by just checking a box on their state tax returns to have part of their tax refunds to automatically go to this program which brings farm food directly into the food banks. This is how the government should behave in inspiring it citizenship to help each other.

Once again, we as individuals must step in to fill the gap recently created by our Congress. If you can’t devote your time, start by helping with cash to donate for food to our food banks. Here is a link to all the Feeding America Food Banks in your area.  Here is a link to helping Meals On Wheels, which brings together 5,000 local nutritional programs for seniors and deliver over 1 million meals a day.  And at DollarDays on our  Facebook page, we are giving away $5,000 in food and products to local food banks, so make sure you nominate the one in your town.

General Motors Foundation last month donated $500,000 to the Capuchin Soup Kitchen serving the people of metro Detroit. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Florida recently donated $250,000 to the Florida Association of Food Banks. The Alaska Federal Credit Union donated money to 17 food banks. Businesses with a conscience are beginning to step up to fill this massive void, but so far there is too big a gap to fill.  We have got to make up the billions of dollars lost to support those in the most need in this new order of priorities created by Congress. We as citizens of this fine country need to create a new grass roots effort for this latest War on Poverty. Having 47 million Americans in need of food is not the country our forefathers envisioned. It is also not the country we want to leave to our children.

March 4, 2014   No Comments

DollarDays CEO meets “Rudy”

DollarDays’ CEO Marc Joseph had the opportunity to hear Rudy Ruettiger’s keynote address at last week’s Affiliate Summit West in Las Vegas.

Many of you may remember Rudy, portrayed in the 1993 classic movie, Rudy, that captures his determination to overcome the odds to fulfill his dream. Rudy is now a motivational speaker whose message is contagious and inspirational. One of Rudy’s rules to live by was well received by the audience, “It is interesting what happens to your life when you take control. You attract positive people, people willing to mentor you.”

After the keynote, Marc JosephMarc Rudy was able to meet Rudy and get a signed copy of his book.

January 21, 2013   No Comments