"Humanities and the Growing Labor Market" Event

K. Patricia Bouweraerts
Dusty Wunderlich Image

Dusty Wunderlich, founder and CEO of Bristlecone Holdings, a rapidly growing Nevada-based financial technology startup.

One of the ways the labor market is changing is that graduates need to depend more upon thinking critically and less upon a specific set of prior learned skills.

The TMCC Humanities Department presents “Humanities and the Growing Labor Market,” a presentation free and open to the public.

  • When: Thursday, September 22, 6 p.m.
  • Where: TMCC Dandini Campus, Sierra Building, room 108

“No matter what technologies are being taught when a freshman enters university, they will almost certainly not be the ones being taught when that senior graduates,” said John Sloan, computer scientist, in an interview on ReadWrite.com. “And whatever technologies that student learns will not be what he ends up needing expertise in when he enters the workforce. Continuous, lifelong learning isn’t a buzzword, it’s a requirement.”

Northern Nevada startup Bristlecone Holdings™ CEO and Founder Dusty Wunderlich agrees.

“There are about 80-90 years of data speaking to how soft skills such as conscientiousness, integrity, adaptability, and motivation are far more predictive of productivity than a particular education and job experience,” he said.

Wunderlich’s company has rapidly grown to a staff of 40 in two and a half years. Bristlecone Holdings tests for and takes into account the soft skills and learning agility of its employees. He reports that according to the Gallup, Inc. Q12 employee engagement survey, his staff rates in the 93 percentile of employee engagement, three times the national average.

“We’re one of the fastest growing companies in Northern Nevada,” he said. “During the presentation at TMCC, we’re going to do a deep dive into why humanities studies are important in the workplace.”

The presentation will cover how the study of a wide range of subjects, including humanities, is critical in tomorrow’s workforce. The talk will include slides and a 20-minute question and answer period. College students and faculty interested or involved in philosophy studies are invited to stay after the presentation for a group discussion with Wunderlich and Humanities Instructor Blakely Hume.

Skills Learned by Studying Humanities

Wunderlich lists broad skills that will be vital as students enter and progress through their careers:

  • Contentiousness
  • Integrity
  • Lifelong learning
  • Creativity
  • Abstract thinking
  • Critical thinking
  • Adaptability
  • Flexibility with change

In studying humanities such as history, philosophy and culture, students learn how to look at the big picture, gaining greater insight into the world. In learning about the human experience through time, people gain knowledge for how problems have been solved in the past.

Different cultures have also approached difficulties and overcome them in unique ways. Studying cultures and languages encourages more empathy for those who have a different perspective on situations or tasks, as well.

The arts can further enhance a student’s ability to come up with innovative solutions through the practice of thinking creatively.

“Students can learn to make themselves more marketable in the workforce, more hirable,” Wunderlich said. “By learning these soft skills and critical thinking, you can shine among the competition.”

Employers are savvy to rapidly evolving technology and are looking to hire people that can grow with the technology and their companies.

“There is great importance on contentiousness and integrity to stand out as a potential employee,” he said.
Wunderlich tests potential employees in personality strengths, IQ, motivation and integrity. The results have risen above expectations.

“It’s a proven, tested model,” he said. “Bristlecone Holding’s employee engagement ranks among the highest in the world.”

For more information about studying Humanities at TMCC, please call 775-674-7945.

About Bristlecone Holdings

Bristlecone Holdings is a financial technology startup, and a new term that can be used in this industry is “fintech.”

The firm develops financial software products for businesses to help them measure with data the creditworthiness of customers. The algorithms enable companies to make better decisions about consumer credit.

Bristlecone Holdings also designs lease payment financing products for consumers. Lease programs allow consumers to finance large items, pay a fixed monthly amount, and then have the option to buy the item during the course of the loan or at the end of the term.