Documentation and Participation
While schools have experience in assessing academic components, there are challenges in assessing career prep components. Employers could use assessments to determine an individual’s desirable and undesirable characteristics, however these might not be appropriate for schools to administer.
Given these challenges, there are ways to determine and document past experience as it relates to individual work readiness behaviors and characteristics. Ideally, desirable behaviors and characteristics displayed in the school setting should carry over to the workplace. Below are a few examples in which individual behavior and performance can be documented.
Attendance and punctuality are reflections of the student’s perception and experience of school. Schools have well-documented attendance records typically coded with absences (authorized or unauthorized). If asked, school administrators, counselors, and teachers will have a greater record and understanding of the students who maintain good records of attendance and completion of assignments.
Awards and recognition provide a reflection of an individual’s abilities, talents, and leadership. Even lesser-known citizenship or community based accomplishments provide insight into an individual’s potential.
Volunteer and community service refer to service that a person performs for the benefit of his or her local community. Individuals are often involved in volunteer activities and community service for unselfish reasons.
Job shadowing and internship experiences provide an opportunity for a person to gain insights into specific occupations in the workplace. This helps the individual learn more about specific careers and prepare for the required education/training. Job shadowing and internships are a great business and education partnership opportunity.
Mentoring/tutoring is the process of matching younger students with older students. The mentoring process can be a developmental relationship providing motivation, guidance, and support to everyday challenges. Tutoring can be similar in nature although more focus is directed toward improving academic knowledge and understanding.
Pre-employment skills such as mock interviews, résumés and letters of application are a great way to practice individual skills and get feedback from a career development professional on ways to improve. With appropriate training and preparation, individuals will be able to identify and search for jobs, apply for positions appropriately, be more comfortable with the interview process, and have the skills to help maintain employment.