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Teens and Adults Learn Interviewing for Jobs and Professional Behaviors for the Workplace

Indiana’s Department of Workforce Development estimates there will be 1 million jobs to fill by 2025. Workforce development is needed to produce more qualified job applicants. Employers are looking for employees who have skills and knowledge to support current and future businesses and industries. PayScale and Future Workplace surveyed managers who reported that new graduates lack critical thinking/ problem solving skills, communication, and teamwork. The Conference Board reported high school graduates were deficient in professionalism, communications, and critical thinking.

Purdue Extension implemented the Work Ready program to prepare teens and adults for work. The curriculum provides instruction on goal setting, responsibility, accountability, interviewing skills, money management, time management, dressing for success, developing cover letters and resumes, marketable skills, potential career opportunities, and responsible social media usage. Work Ready is provided for high school students in schools and for adults via community programs/ organizations (learning centers, Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), and shelters for the homeless, for victims of violence and abuse, etc.) Across Indiana, there were 91 Work Ready sessions delivered to 927 youth and 70 adults. Youth reported their demographics as White (83.5%), Hispanic (4.5%), and male (47.2%), and adults reported they were White (76.5%), more than one race (23.5%), Hispanic (11.8%), and male (52.9%).

Students reported they had learned it is important to arrive on time for work, to be trusted by their employer, to do their job well, and to show respect for others. Students reported Work Ready helped them learn how to act professionally in the workforce. As a result of participating, students had thought about the amount of education they may need in the future, have a better idea of what they might do after high school, identified careers that might be a good fit for them, increased knowledge about future job or career opportunities, and learned which certification or training they need for their future career.

Adults reported an increase in soft skills. Adults now have a resume to use when they apply for positions and are more confident during job interviews. Adults understand the skills it takes to obtain a job/career, feel more confident they can be successful, and intend to use the life skills they learned. Adult comments included: helped me get more life goals, gets me ready to prepare for an interview in the near future and feel more confident. Hearing back from one center manager, all adults who had participated in the class have since received jobs. Purdue Extension’s Work Ready contributes to the development of skills for applying and interviewing for jobs, and understanding of behaviors for success in the workplace.


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