Employers see much value in high school students building soft skills; Have you been virtual job shadowing lately?

Soft skills are important for young people planning to attend college after graduating high school.

Posted on Jan. 31, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Feb. 1, 2013 at 4:11 p.m.

Upon graduation time at high schools throughout Elkhart County, most young people about to earn diplomas have come to realize that their success in school happened, in part, by following standards such as being on-time for class and participating in academic discussions as well as team projects. Many of them, however, likely haven’t yet perceived with clarity that future employers find value in efforts by young people to build their soft skills – which, importantly, include aspects such as being on-time as well as fostering good communication and working well with other. Some of the Elkhart County’s young people are planning to attend college after graduating high school, while others intend to move directly into the workforce. Yet soft skills are important for all of them regardless of their post-high school endeavors.

Here’s why: Employers in North Central Indiana and elsewhere, regardless of their type of business, need all employees to practice good soft skills so that the entire company can operate efficiently and productively. Employers feel so strongly about the importance of good soft skills that they will gear much of their pre-hiring evaluation process toward measuring the soft skills of candidates.

Furthermore, many high school graduates face another dilemma: how to discover what career would be a good fit for their individual personality, interests and skills. WorkOne in Elkhart County has numerous resources available to help Hoosiers answer such questions, including career counselors who are eager to chat and help find comfortable employment options for individuals (WorkOne’s services, including computer and Internet resources, are supported by public funds and free of charge to individuals).

Virtual job-shadowing is another avenue open to Hoosiers seeking career direction. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development offers a website delving into the top 50 careers statewide that are expected to need qualified workers through the year 2020. The site includes video profiles of Hoosiers currently working in these careers, thus providing a window to job-shadow any or all of the following: licensed practical nurse; cost estimator; graphic designer; management analyst; occupational therapist; cement mason; and boilermaker, among others.

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