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Four Skills to a Successful Career

Updated: Oct 14, 2021

For today’s high school students, much of what they do both in and out of school should be focused on preparing for life after high school: getting a job; finding a career; and earning a living. The question, of course, is what does success really look like? The American workforce has changed a lot recently. Occupations in every industry now require a combination of both academic knowledge and technical skills. One without the other is no longer enough; having both makes you more employable.

Today, parents and educators want all high school students to graduate ready for both college and careers. A team of passionate educators developed a short animated video for high school students, to help them understand how to match who they are with who they want to be and ultimately how to get there. As students prepare for their future, they will need to develop skills in these four specific areas to achieve their dreams.

Every day in school, today’s youth are gaining academic skills and knowledge. The classes they are taking do matter in the world of work. But it’s not just about getting good grades. Students must challenge themselves to learn how to apply the knowledge they are taught; applying theories and concepts to real-world problems. This contextualized application of academic knowledge will help them be more competitive upon graduation and they will have additional options compared to those that “just” got good grades. Today’s students can also earn college credit now while still in high school through articulation, dual enrollment, or concurrent enrollment. So, encourage them to take classes seriously and become the strongest reader, writer and thinker they can be.

Adults are expected to know other things, like life skills. These are about every-day real world survival. They include things like how to bounce back after a bad experience, how to manage money and create a family budget, and how to remain healthy through good nutrition. Life skills will give students a strong foundation for their future…these are not always taught in the classroom, but should be discussed and taught at home.

Local employers also expect certain things of people they hire; these are called employability skills. In fact, people who get the best jobs and keep them have this nailed. Employers expect recent graduates to have these skills from the very first day on the job. Things teachers often ask students to do, like meeting deadlines, working in teams, and organizing projects; these are employability skills. Learning how to manage one’s time, creatively solve problems, and communicate appropriately while in high school will help prepare them for the world of work.

Finally, but perhaps most importantly, are technical skills. These can be very industry-specific or occupationally focused. They include the ability to apply what they have learned to working a computer, running a machine, or monitoring a patient’s heart rate. High school students that are savvy with skills in areas of interest to them will find jobs, keep them, and get promoted more quickly. As a concerned parent and educator, find ways now to help students earn certificates and industry credentials in technical fields on their way to graduation.

Each of these four areas matter to adults, including college professors and employers. Local employers will want to know what one can do, and what they can do well; not just what diploma hangs on their wall. All four are vitally important, but students need to realize that technical skills are part of the new currency in today’s world. We need to help them be ready.

This is how we position today’s youth for a successful career. Help them focus on acquiring academic skills & knowledge, life skills, employability skills, and technical skills. Teach them to always be true to who they are, to strive to fulfill their full potential, and to bring passion to whatever they do.

Watch the short animated video 4 Skills & 4 Steps to a Successful Career at:

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