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The Penn Foster Blog

Where Talent Meets Career Opportunity

Young people need career guidance, but too often, they struggle to find it. A CareerBuilder study found that twenty-four percent of high school seniors say they have no idea what they want to do for a career.1 Further, a YouthTruth survey discovered that only 45 percent of high school students feel positive about their college and career readiness.2 Without adequate preparation, many young people will take whatever job is available after graduation just to make ends meet, unaware they have other options. Here are four steps high school counselors can take to point their students in the right direction.
Last week I had the pleasure of attending and presenting at the 2016 NJCA Leadership Summit in Arlington, Virginia.  This annual conference brings together the Job Corps community comprised of workforce development experts, education practitioners, corporate partners, U.S. Department of Labor officials, Office of Job Corps leadership and staff, as well as members of Congress to discuss and develop strategies for enhancing Job Corps services.­
Next week the Penn Foster team will hit the road to participate in two of our favorite regional career college conferences: the California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools 32nd Annual Conference in Pasadena, CA from October 5th - 7th, and the Career Colleges and Schools of Texas 2016 Annual Conference in Austin, TX from October 10th - 12th. We're excited as always for the chance to connect with leaders in the private postsecondary education space as we explore opportunities for growth and innovation in the industry.
Your neighborhood Goodwill may offer more than meets the eye. Many Goodwill centers across the nation operate One Stop Career Centers alongside their retail stores/donation centers to assist youth, adults, and families to improve their skills and education. One such Career Center in Conemaugh Valley, Pennsylvania, is now offering locals the chance to earn their high school diploma in a supportive environment. This gives community members who are struggling to find work a second chance to earn the credentials and skills needed to increase their chances for employment.
"Teamwork makes the dream work." This past Thursday, this phrase echoed through the Mayor's Reception Room at Philadelphia's City Hall, where five participants of The Choice is Yours (TCY) program gathered to celebrate their high school graduation. Alberta Lloyd, Career Instructor for TCY at JEVS Human Services (JEVS), stood at the front of the room to present the five individuals, who were about to be presented with their Penn Foster High School diplomas. "This is more than a program " this is an opportunity," she noted.
A student exhibiting signs of chronic absenteeism misses 10 percent or more of the school year.1 They may miss a consecutive period or spread their absences throughout the year. This behavior has many root causes, such as major illness, fear of bullying and a lack of value placed on education. Most schools focus on average daily attendance, but this figure doesn't reveal the major problem of chronic absenteeism, which impacts 6.5 million students each year.2
Today's students may be more stressed than ever before. In fact, the 2015 American College Health Association National College Health Assessment found that 85.6 percent of students had felt overwhelmed in the past year.1 The pressures of getting top grades, balancing extracurricular activities with studying, and spending time with family all add up. In addition, students manage another identity in the digital world. Social media platforms are one more thing to keep up with and are often rife with stress-inducing comparisons, gossip and bullying.
This Thursday, the Penn Foster team will head down to Philadelphia for an exciting double-event in partnership with JEVS Human Services (JEVS), a non-profit, multi-service organization with over 20 programs providing skills development, job readiness and career services, to name a few. The day will bring together thought leaders from the local community and beyond to discuss workforce development trends and education solutions, and celebrate recent graduates of Penn Foster High School. So what is on tap for the day?
I sat down with John Shrader, GM and Executive Vice President at Penn Foster, to pick his brain about the intersections of education, workforce development, and talent management. We discussed implications for the future evolution of these industries alongside the growth of education technology, and why this will change the way we learn and work.
In parts one through three of this series, we have explored power skills and their role in the workplace, examining the impact that the Power Skills shortage has had on employers. By diving into both personal effectiveness skills and workplace competencies, we have also highlighted some of the most sought-after employee characteristics by employers. In a 2013 Harvard Business Review article, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, professor at Columbia University, emphasized that emotional intelligence (EI) - a key part of many Power Skills - can be developed and improved (unlike IQ, which is static.)1 This assertion is most significant when considering the fact that EI has been shown to be twice as important as cognitive abilities in predicting outstanding employee performance.2

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