By David Yockey
I recently attended the Ohio Association for Career and Technical Education Conference in Columbus, Ohio. The featured speaker at this conference was Josh Davies of the Colorado Workforce Development Coalition. As always, the keynote speaker delivered a thought-provoking message. His message was that we need to do more in today’s society to make sure that our students learn basic traditional life skills. The State of Ohio gives us very little choice in the need to make certain that our students do well on the State achievement tests with the publishing of a State report card and grading of school systems based on these State tests. However, we must be cautious that we do not ignore other life skills that are important to students in the workplace. Mr. Davies pointed out that in one study only 11% of those fired from jobs were fired because of a lack of skills after they had originally shown that they met the qualifications for the job. He said that most of the reasons people had been fired were attitudinal in nature. Some of these were (1) dishonesty, (2) lying on a resume, (3) refusing to follow directions, (4) conducting personal business at work, (5) inconsistency in their work, (6) an inability to get along with others, (7) tardiness, (8) absenteeism, and (9) drug and alcohol abuse. He says we need to continue to help students understand that businesses expect employees to meet these personal expectations. I am very pleased that we have recently hired a person whose job it will be to coordinate shadowing and mentoring experiences for students in the workplace where students will reinforce these concepts. I am currently serving on a task force through the Clermont County Chamber of Commerce which is trying to find ways that we can cooperate between businesses and the schools to better prepare students for the workplace and to better understand what businesses expect of them. It is important that we not forget these characteristics and that they not get lost in our need to prepare students to perform well on State academic achievement tests. Mr. Davies says in the past these were attitudes that were shaped in the home but that in today’s world many students do not develop these skills and that we must do more in schools to help students develop them.
David Yockey is a candidate in the November 5, 2013 school board election. Visit his website at www.davidyockey.com.