Schools aren’t preparing all students for real-life work situations, according to a job placement service, which says its agents must teach prospective workers “basic life skills.”
Express Employment Professionals said schools need to teach their students about common workplace etiquette or basic economic skills, according to a news release.
Rockford-based Express franchisee Terri Greeno said her hiring agents often have to counsel people looking for work on how to open a checking account or write a simple message in a professional tone.
“Grammar, punctuation, how to form a complete sentence, a paragraph, a thought,” she said. “These are things that we’re just not seeing.”
She said newly graduated students largely lack financial know-how that could keep them out of taking out loans they can’t afford. For its part, Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs’ office has partnered with Econ Illinois in 2017, a nonprofit affiliated with Northern Illinois University, to create the first-ever standards-based financial literacy curriculum for grades 1-8 in Illinois.
One of the biggest productivity issues with the newest participants in the workforce is getting them to put their phones down, Greeno said.
“It distracts them, allows them to not be as productive as they might be if they were focused on the task at hand,” she said, adding that Baby Boomers spend too much time on their phones at work as well.
James Fong, executive director of the Oregon-based Rogue Workforce Partnership, said technology shouldn’t take the place of traditional interaction.
“Smartphone and social media addiction issues are supplanting in-person human connection skills,” he said.
Nationally, there are more job openings than people looking to fill them, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
Express Employment released 10 suggestions for schools to better prepare students for employment:
1. Focus on oral and written communication “soft skills.”
2. Provide training for resume writing, interview etiquette and other workforce skills.
3. Set realistic expectations for first jobs after graduation.
4. Help students learn to “disconnect” from electronic devices.
5. Teach basic personal finance.
6. Develop proficiency in basic business economics.
7. Promote collaboration and problem solving through real-world applications.
8. Promote technical education offerings.
9. Forge partnerships with local businesses.
10. Make lifelong learning an expectation.
Source: Express Employment