I was in a meeting last week with several business owners and local schools. We were discussing the skills that business’ expect and need from the workforce. The overwhelming conclusion is that soft skills are critical to the success of an employee, yet may not be taught much at school. There was a very big concern about attendance and work ethic. The term “unemployable” came up. There seems to be a big group of people that just don’t “show up” to work consistently. It seemed foreign to us in the room, yet prolific in that it was the number one concern about hiring.
The local schools are doing their best to add soft skills to their curriculum. Yet, it is not supported by how success is measured by our government. Many of us felt that much of this skill training is something parents should bring to the table. The schools have started evaluating on these skill sets. The criteria looked like an employee review to us businesses. It included the following skills:
Attendance – which demonstrates self-management
Time Management – punctual and timely
Professionalism – behavior, attitude, personal presentation
Communication – listening, oral & written, creator versus victim language
Quality of Work – class academic performance, best effort
Participation/Teamwork – working with others, class discussion, interdependence
Effort – exhibits strong work ethic, preparedness
Critical Thinking – strong problem solving, skills, adaptation to change
To help our community we may implement a program called Exploring. Businesses can cooperate with schools and offer mentoring to students. The students can explore what career paths may interest them and help with their development in many other areas: character, self-confidence, leadership, social and teamwork.
How can museums, nature centers, zoos and the like help teach these skills? Do you teach these skills at home? Do you think it is something that schools should teach or parents? Do you think some of these skills are lacking today versus the past?