You graduated… so what?
Employers are identifying a trend in their newly graduated employees— lack of soft skills. In particular, personal attributes that allow an individual to interact effectively with other people (i.e. transitional, transferable and foundational skills). Experts have also found that individuals change careers five to seven times in their lifetime. Regardless of what degree, career, field, job, or industry you go into, employers value soft skills.
Throughout my research, I have circled and come back to the soft skills employers, professional business bloggers, and labor analysts say are valued the most:
- Team work skills
- Critical thinking
- Social skills
- Interpersonal communication/ cultural sensitivity
- Problem solving
- Conflict resolution
- Work ethic
We all know that one person who committed to a college and a major before the start of senior year of high school. However, for the larger percentage of high school students considering a college or a four-year university, visiting a college campus can be a crucial step in making a decision.
Typically, students who are interested in post-secondary institutions fall into four different categories. First, there are those who know what post-secondary institution they will attend, but are undecided on a major. Then, there are students who know what they want to study, but not at what institution. There are those students who do not know what or where they want to study. Finally, there is that small, lucky percentage of students who know what they want to study and where.
Going to a post-secondary school is a personal and family decision based on a few factors including, location, living options, programs of study, college culture, cost, etc. Combined, all of these factors could be overwhelming to any student and her parents. Here are a few helpful tips to consider before making a cross-country trip or committing to a miss-fit for the next four years.
As the school year and graduation festivities end, many graduates may find themselves without a job or direction on how to find one. Whether looking for a summer job or your first professional entry-level position, there are many things to consider when creating your resume. A resume highlights skills, accomplishments, knowledge and experiences.
Before creating a resume, collect all information on previous job history, educational background and skills, as well as other accomplishments that will relate to the position for which you are applying. Make sure you tailor your resume to fit each position.
This year has seen an increase in attendance by families at the YourFIT expos.
The Your Future in Technology (YourFIT) program has expanded this year and now provides students with the option of learning about the Diesel / On-Site Power Generation Technology program available through the College of Technology at Idaho State University.
“This particular program has a lot of interest and will help local employers who are needing to hire diesel mechanics. This is especially true of Western States Caterpillar who recently built a new facility here,” said Kandi Rudd, regional manager of the Pocatello office of the Idaho Department of Labor.
The other career focuses of the YourFit program include welding, machinist, instrumentation (controls), maintenance engineers (mechanics), nuclear operation tech, information technology (geographic information systems, computer information systems, cybersecurity), outdoor electrical and unmanned aerial systems (drones).
“The reason why we focused on these jobs is because they are high growth jobs, they are in demand and they are high paying jobs,” Rudd said.
This Idaho Forest Group log processor grabs, strips and cuts logs as a student is shown the equipment controls.
A total of 400 students, more than 50 businesses and many volunteers participated in the 9th Annual Hard Hats, Hammers & Hot Dogs event in Kootenai County in early October. The career day is designed to give students exposure to manufacturing, construction, logging, truck driving, and a variety of other skilled trades.
Students toured the new North Idaho College Career and Technical Education (CTE) facility, located next to the Kootenai Technical Education Campus (KTEC) where the event was held. CTE has CAD technology, Welding, Automotive, Machine and CNC classes along with other technical programs.
After the tour, students were able to get hands-on experience operating dozers, skid steers, log processors and much more. The students also engaged in activities indoors with the idea of exposing them to the many occupational opportunities in North Idaho.
How much will the lifestyle you desire cost you every month? How big a bite will routine bills take out of your paycheck? Which occupations provide the kind of salary that will let you buy what you want? Reality Check, an Idaho Career Information System tool, can help you, your students or your children understand the relationship between earnings, purchases and paying the bills.
Reality Check is helpful for students trying to understand the connection between income and expenses. A 12-item survey includes options for large monthly expenses like housing, utilities, transportation and health care. It also includes budget choices for entertainment, personal care, savings, student loan repayment and a “miscellaneous” category. The budget figures in Reality Check are updated throughout the year and accurately indicate the current cost of living in Idaho’s six metropolitan areas: Boise, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Falls, Lewiston, Pocatello and Twin Falls.
The Minidoka County School District will use a $25,000 micro-grant from the Idaho Department of Labor to provide skilled workers for manufacturing companies in Minidoka and Cassia counties.
Training will be offered as a two-year program to high school juniors and seniors at Minico High School and will include basic knowledge of welding, electrical wiring, centrifugal and positive displacement pumps, using basic hand and power tools, reading blueprints, safety procedures and soft skills. The classroom setting will be supplemented by lab and worksite training at partner companies.
Read more details in the full news release.
Jim Cox of JC Contractors met the students at the Broadway Bridge project in Boise, explaining the details about the job.
Twelve individuals are one step closer to beginning their career in the construction industry after an intensive training program.
Over two weeks earlier this summer, these 12 students participated in a youth construction training project using Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act program funds.
The project blends the employment needs of youth with in-demand local construction industry jobs and consists of prescreened, low income and/or at-risk youth 18- to 24-years-old who have obtained their high school diploma or GED.
“I signed up for the program because it’s very beneficial for me or anyone else who wants to be successful and have a career,” said Stratton Nzansabandi, 19. “Once you get out of high school most of us don’t know what we’re doing, so it’s better to do this program; it’s free training, you get paid during your internship training and you get to start a career.”
An internship is a great way for college students to get hands-on experience in their chosen field before they graduate.
“Internships serve a lot of different purposes for both the participant and the employer,” said Ricia Lasso, regional business specialist for the Idaho Department of Labor. “It gives them real-life, on-the-job experience so they can see if they’re interested in that type of work. It gives them an introduction to that particular company, and it introduces the company to potential people they can hire in the future.”
It’s also good for the student’s resume.
According to a 2012 Forbes article, those who participate in an internship had a seven out of 10 chance of being hired by the company where they interned.
Over the past few months, eastern Idaho high schools have held career and technology expos to showcase many of the high-tech careers offered throughout the state.
A student watches an instructor during a recent technology expo.
Seven expos were scheduled to take place by the end of spring, allowing students the chance to gain hands-on experience, talk to employers and discover a path to the careers highlighted at each expo.
“This event was beneficial to students and parents because it introduced them to high paying technology jobs they could get with very few years of training,” said Jane Ward, superintendent of the Aberdeen School District. “Many jobs offered to pay for training while they were employed. Jobs were also introduced to students that would allow them to stay in the communities they currently live in.”
The technology expos are a product of a collaboration called YourFit. It was formed by the Idaho National Laboratories, local schools, Idaho State University’s College of Technology, Idaho Department of Labor, local governments and economic development agencies to familiarize high school students and their parents with the technical education available and prepare them for careers in high tech, high wage and high demand careers.