The 3R's alone are not enough for success in today's rapidly changing, highly competitive global economy according to a 2007 report put out by the Conference Board, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, Corporate Voices for Working Families, and the Society for Human Resource Management. The report, Are They Really Ready To Work?, found a disturbing trend developing in the United States: Many of today's entry level workers, even those with a four-year college degree, lack the critical workplace skills needed to succeed on the job. (The full report is at www.conference-board.org. )
Will your child be part of this trend? Sadly, the answer is probably yes, if he or she fails to develop the skills needed to meet the requirements and expectations of the competitive workplace. Some of the most important skills needed by entrants into today's workplace are:
- Communications (Written & Oral)
- Teamwork / Collaboration
- Critical Thinking / Problem Solving
- Professionalism / Work Ethic
Lack of career planning by high school and college students is a large part of the reason so many entrants into the workplace are unprepared. Career planning is a powerful process that should start in high school and continue through college and one's work life. It provides the tools to develop a career path and to acquire all the skills needed to achieve success.
I believe a good career planning program for teens should include the following elements:
- Tools to identify occupational interests and to understand their skill requirements.
- Explanation of the role competition plays in the workplace and how to build skill advantages.
- A process to follow which will enable one to select a career path.
- Instruction on how to build soft skills through extra curricular activities and part-time jobs.
- Instruction on the basic principles of how to market oneself to prospective employers.