Posted by: fathersez | November 2, 2007

Preparing our 2 senior girls for employment.

Along and Aja should graduate next year, and then join the employment grind, very aptly named the rat race. 

My wife and I, have long decided that school and university grades are no longer a season ticket for a “good job” and a steady income. These grades are simply not enough. 

The Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (NWREL), has a mission to improve learning by building capacity in schools, families, and communities through applied research and development.  In one of their publications, they quote extensive research done on employer dissatisfaction with the “employability skills” (defined as skills other than technical skills that make the employee an asset to the employer), of the current entry level workforce.  

They further list the desired skills under three categories as follows  

Basic Skills Higher Order Thinking Skills Affective Skills and Traits
Oral Communications (speaking and listening) Problem Solving Dependability / Responsibility
Reading, especially understanding and following instructions Decision Making Positive Attitude towards work
Writing Learning Skills, strategies Conscientiousness, punctuality, efficiency
Basic Arithmetic Creative, innovative thinking Self confidence, positive self image
    Ability to work without supervision
    Honesty, integrity
    Self discipline, self management
    Adaptability, flexibility
    Enthusiasm, motivation

More tellingly, the research quotes that the employers agree to provide technical and job specific training, but are emphatic in their conviction that the schools should take most of the responsibility for equipping young people with general employability skills.

If the schools don’t and the employers won’t, then who will?

Sigh! The parents, of course.

Some of the above listed skills, my children already have. Over the years, our family values have instilled these in them. The others, like “formal decision making skills”, etc, will have to be taught.

No one taught my wife or me, “decision making skills”. We just picked them along the way and still make some wrong decisions.  Over the next year, my wife and I would have to come up with a strategy to equip our children well.

We would appreciate your sharing your experiences on this. 


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