November 20, 2005

Human Capital and the NYT Weekend emails regarding work can send me off in directions I never imagine. Author and frequent contributor to T+D, Saul Carliner, dropped a mail on me over the weekend telling me to read a piece in the New York Times on Human Capital. I stopped my spree of online Christmas present shopping to read the article and I never got back to the shopping. So, when my mom doesn't get her Indiana Pacers chip and dip bowls, I plan to blame it all on Saul. The piece, by David Brooks, is part of the Times' new, pay-for-their opinions section called TimesSelect. I am a bit annoyed about them charging me to get to opinion pieces, but that is the way of the world. You can start a free temporary subscription if you want to look at this piece. Brooks wrote: "(S)kills and knowledge - the stuff you can measure with tests - is only the most superficial component of human capital. U.S. education reforms have generally failed because they try to improve the skills of students without addressing the underlying components of human capital." Is that the case in workplace learning? I don't think so. The sad thing about teaching school-age students is that too many people have their fingers in the soup. Politicos, administrators, school boards, teachers unions, uninformed parents and dozens of others can mess things up. When profit is the motive, Human Capital is a commodity that is an essential element to an organization's future. In many savvy companies and organizations it is respected and leveraged to the Nth degree.

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The T+D blog covers training, learning, business, and technology topics as well as relevant content from ASTD (the American Society for Training and Development) publications and services.

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