He looked up from his desk and saw Bob waving at him from his picture window. Lunch time. Good. He opened the door and said, “Glad to see you, Bob. I need a break. Lead the way and take me to your favorite eatery. I’m starved.”
Bob chortled and began walking towards the elevator. The halls were empty but for a few stragglers late to class after their lunch break. “You like seafood?” Bob queried.
“Sure. I like pretty much everything” Dan replied.
“There’s a red Lobster a few blocks away. And they serve alcohol. Are you game?”
“Lead on. A beer or glass of wine sounds good, with or without shrimp and lobster,” Dan replied smiling.
They were soon on the street, walking East on Queens Boulevard, enjoying the lovely fall day. They strolled slowly as the usual din or cars, trucks and buses zipped by on the busy arterial boulevard.
“So how did your meeting at the Manhattan school go yesterday?” Bob queried.
“Pretty well, actually. I got a quick but useful orientation from Howard,” Dan said
“Yeah, he’s a bit of a dick, isn’t he?” Bob interjected, chortling.
“He’s a bit tightly wound, but he was helpful and considerate. We just have different styles.”
“Yeah, you’re not a dick,” Bob replied, chortling again.
“Dan smiled and continued, ignoring the comment. “The Melameds were a surprise. They actually gave me a pretty lengthy interview when I expected just the formality of a quick chat to put names and faces together.”
“You made quite the impression on them. Marvin told me they called him gushing about you.”
“They just liked my idea for a short course to train students on current software packages that can get them real jobs in businesses that can’t find enough people for data entry positions and general computerized office support.”
“What do you mean?” Bob asked with some interest.
“I’d like to create a three-month program that exclusively trains students on MS-DOS basics and the leading word processing, spreadsheet and database programs for the IBM-PC and compatible computers instead of the outdated Apple IIe systems we currently have that no businesses use. Companies don’t have the time or resources to train entry level people to use the software they need to be productive, despite our company line to the contrary.”
“I couldn’t agree more, Dan. My clients would love me to send students who can actually do real work on day one instead of being unable to even load the programs they’re using. That would be huge if you could pull it off,” Bob said excitedly. “But it won’t fly if you need real resources to make it happen. The Melameds are so tight only dogs can hear them fart,” Bob added, laughing.
“I have some ideas I need to pursue. I think I may be able to get the equipment we need at very little cost, but I need to do some more research and make some calls. The Apple IIe computers we’re using in the two labs are obsolete, but there’s still a market for them. I’ve seen used apple II and IIe systems for sale at comparable prices to new IBM-PC clones from leading manufacturers, and the new generic clones like the one I put together from parts are selling for significantly less than the used Apple IIe for reasons I’ll never understand. I’m thinking that if Marvin will let me horse-trade for the computers in one of the labs, I can probably get us 20 generic PC clones with little additional cost. At least that’s something I’m going to look into further” Dan said.
“I don’t know if you can make that happen, Dan, but it would be a game changer. I’ll sure advocate for it as it would make a huge difference on my ability to place of our students with local businesses.”
“Well, I’m going to try. I know they won’t go for a significant investment, as modest as it would be—maybe $20,000 at most—for a new lab. But I’ll explore every low-cost option,” Dan said, quickly adding “Do you know if there are any grant monies from the state or federal government that we could apply for?”
Bob once again good naturedly chortled at the suggestion, answering “Drug dealers have a better chance of getting a grant to reduce drug dependency than proprietary for-profit schools of getting federal or state grants. We’re not exactly on Santa’s nice list these days.”
“Too bad—that was one avenue I’d hoped to explore.”
“Don’t waste your time. Trust me, it’s a dead end.”
“Back to Plan A again, then. I’ll work on it in my spare time and hope to get enough information to start seriously looking at some options by next week. I really don’t like expensive programs that go on for a year and don’t provide students with the job training they need. And I intend to do something about that one way or another,” Dan said.
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