Guest Blogger: Tasha Hagberg, Industry Specialist – Transportation & Hospitality
How do we learn how to be good employees? I know that when I was younger, I felt completely prepared for my first job. I understood that I would be making minimum wage, and I was okay with it. I understood that I was low man on the pole and would get stuck doing the jobs that nobody else wanted to do, and I was okay with that. I understood that the harder I worked, the more hours I would likely get, and that my checks would be bigger, and I was definitely okay with that.
Why am I asking this? Over the past few months while meeting with dozens of employers I keep hearing the same message over and over… Today’s kids don’t know how to work! And by “kids”, they are referring to most employees under the age of 25. So I have to ask, what is so different between now and when I was a kid?
It turns out that I am not the only one asking this question. Youth and young professionals today really are lacking the “Soft Skills” needed to become good employees. Soft skills being the personal qualities that employers look for: attitude, punctuality, communication skills, work ethic, etc. Of course, this doesn’t apply to every student out there, but the number of these “kids” entering the workforce without a basic understanding of what it means to have a job is rising quickly and if we don’t do something about it we could have a generation of workers left behind.
Preparing our youth for the workforce is key in meeting the demands and expectations of regional, statewide, and national employers. So this Summer, CEP, Inc. will partner with Spooner Area Community Education and Washburn County UW-Extension, to implement a Ready to Work course that would offer a certificate to those students completing it. Ready to Work will be offered initially as part of the Summer School Program and will provide students ages 13 ½ to 15 a better understanding of what employers need, customer service training, money skills, teamwork activities, as well as application and interview training. We will also be partnering with the community businesses to present during these courses as well as how to find these students, and if hired, to hold these students to the level of excellence that we all know is possible. Through this effort we hope to increase the quality of workers across the board as these kids set the bar for what today’s youth truly is capable of.