learning a good work ethic

crisis

Crisis At Work: Students Lack A Good Work Ethic

May 15 @ 10:49 pm CDT

There is a crisis in the workforce today: youth are not learning a good work ethic during their school years. This especially applies to inner-city schools where funding is limited. Here’s an example: The Urban Poverty and Family Life Study did a survey of 179 Chicago employers in 1988 and found that they shied away from hiring inner-city kids because of a poor work ethic, low job dependability, a bad attitude, lack of basic skills, and low interpersonal skills. A 2004 study by “Entrepreneur” trade journal confirmed that this is still the case with inner-city kids. Clearly, this is very damaging to the workforce and places the foundations of our economic system in peril. But how can we remedy it? I think that in order for any solution to be viable, there must be two things in place: high expectations, and practical lessons. It is an unwritten rule that kids will achieve—in general—what you expect them to achieve. When I was in high school, my parents set the expectation that I wouldn’t get involved in drugs or underage drinking—and I never did. However, if they had ever doubted that I could resist those pressures, I’m certain I would have given in. Of course, high expectations aren’t enough. You also need a program in place that will teach and reinforce behavior. After all, we don’t learn by osmosis, but by practice. One program that can be a good model is “Voyager: Direction for Learning and Careers” at Thomas Edison High School in Minneapolis. It was started in 1994 by the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce and is currently only offered at Edison. Of the approximately 900 students at Thomas Edison, about 85% participate in the free and reduced lunch program, and many come from single-parent, working families. The students represent about 30 cultures and speak 30 to 40 languages. Many are second-generation Americans. The Voyager program is a two-year leadership program that prepares students for the working world by…

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