What Have You Learned Today?

By Michael Brito

Learning comes in many forms, many experiences and from many areas of our lives. Do we have a standard for learning? Do we have an all encompassing method by which we must go about it? Do we ever think about how we learn? Let’s look at the many ways I’ve learned from and about life…

From my early days as a heavy and road construction laboror to one of a business owner, I’ve always lived by the words of my father, “Mike, always be a student!” My Dad had a lot of trouble getting through school. Back in his day education wasn’t a priority and it was not seen as a necessity. When my Dad was a boy, working to provide for a young family was the focus. Pre- and post-depression, my Grandfather and Father knew that learning was accepted as part of the process not separate from the process. Learning came by doing, and doing was a mandate, not a choice! Generations have gone by without much fanfare regarding formal education for our minority community however, for the majority (those with the expectation of higher education) this was very different. The minority community (we all can agree) have a much different view of continuing education, a view from a “work or school” value. This juxtaposition life-scape may or may not be our choice and here is where this piece may acquire political tones (and that’s not what writer’s desire) however, I refer to this mindset as a choice of ones path and not the result of generational genetics!

Yes, some of us have the wisdom of those before us regarding a “breaking the cycle” mentality but to what degree? We tend to think that all Rhode Islanders have  equal opportunity regarding the educational choices throughout our young lives however we indeed are not granted such blanket pathways.

Being Rhode Island residents and minority business owners we see quite a different picture. We as entrepreneurs need to know the immense offerings and programs available for our staff! Select classes, seminars, twilight meetings or industry specific training; there can be a better tomorrow based upon the new and exciting things our state offers.

My Dad was savvy enough to know that times change and what worked for his Father and himself wouldn’t be the answer for his children. He also knew that without a solid foundation of a formal education there would be little chance of continued success! That’s why he made it his main goal to be positioned professionally and personally to provide myself, my brothers, sisters and his grandchildren any and all opportunities of advanced schooling.

Now I understand how unique my situation was; however, through my own pursuits regarding our employee’s needs of further learning, these opportunities do exist within the Ocean State for those that have the interest.

We agree that finding opportunity takes a level of perseverance, diligence and commitment and all effort is rewarded! If your business is a member of any specific agency, union or trade association, chances are, there are training events available. If you do not currently belong to a trade or industry specific group, join one or two and you’ll find many resources available to you. Businesses are also able to contact the Department of Labor and Training for a wide selection of learning and training avenues.

Don’t be intimidated by your desire to be seen as the “know it all”. My Dad always said, “When you think you’re ripe, you’re getting rotten!” Always seek out those men and women that can be advisors, mentors and leaders. Remember to question everything and seek out better ways to improve. Let’s all continue to be students of our trade and along the way, help others expand their minds by continuously looking for a better way! Remember…forever a student!

Michael Brito, Team Member, Managing the Road Ahead www.managetheroadahead.com

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Avatar About the Author: The Rhode Island Small Business Journal is a printed monthly magazine and an online resource for the aspiring and start-up entrepreneur and small business owner.

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