High School Sophomores Prepare for their Future in the Workplace

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sophmore career day GGP

You had me at “Hello” (or NOT!) – that’s just one lesson that 209 high school sophomore students from Berkshire, Ledgemont, Newbury and Cardinal learned during Career Readiness Training, offered through Geauga Growth Partnership and held Wednesday and Thursday, March 25 and 26 at Kent State University Geauga.

Geauga Growth Partnership (GGP) strives to Build Tomorrow’s Workforce Today through a series of incremental training experiences, beginning with day-long Career Readiness workshops for Sophomore, Junior and Senior high school students. Sophomore Career Readiness Days, sponsored by GGP, Great Lakes Cheese, Gold Key Processing – Hexpol and Burton Rubber Processing – Hexpol provided two full days of skills-sharpening, team-building and real-world workforce training.

In addition to a day of game-style trainings on “soft skills” like enthusiasm, punctuality, responsibility, leadership and more, students were treated to guest speakers and an introduction to Career Locker, a career development website designed to help youth and adults with career awareness and preparedness.
Donald Wayne McLeod gave a wildly interactive presentation on PERCEPTIONOLOGY(r) his trademarked training on managing the perceptions we leave on others at that first meeting. After an hour with Mr. McLeod, students knew first impressions do matter, as does a handshake, eye contact and the ability to remember a name.

Attorneys from Walter Haverfield, LLP, Eric Johnson (on the 25th) and Susan Anderson (on the 26th) spoke to students about the importance of how they use social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others. “Nothing you post ever goes away,” said Johnson. “Even if you think you’ve deleted something, it’s never really gone, so make sure what you post is something you would pass around the room, share with parents, at church, with a prospective college or employer.”

By the end of each day, there was a lot of interaction among the students and the many teachers and business leaders who led students through soft skills exercises that are so needed in today’s workforce. Students who completed the day provided feedback on its impact.
“I gained courage and confidence.”
“This day was one of the best times I’ve ever had. It made me think even more about perception and what I wanted to do.”
“The day was full of knowledge and very enjoyable. Thank you for a wonderful day!”
“I learned a lot today.”
“This whole day has prepared us for the future…”
“I really enjoyed the social media session. The presenter was really trying to connect with our generation, and I really appreciate that.”

Some feedback statistics from the students resulted in:
94% approval rating on Donald Wayne
91% like the soft skills training
73.8% approved Career Locker
98% agreed we should do it again! (100% of Cardinal students agreed we should do it again)

GGP’s Workforce Development Director Bonnie Troyer led a team of administrators and teachers from the four schools to develop an itinerary appropriate to the grade level. Businesses and organizations who donated time to ensure the successful days are Great Lakes Cheese, Gold Key Processing – Hexpol and Burton Rubber Processing – Hexpol, Huntington Bank, Geauga Credit Union, Geauga County Job & Family Services, Company 119, W.S. Tyler, Upward Solutions Coaching & Consulting, United Way, Arms Trucking, Troy Chemical, Mayfield Sand Ridge Country Club, Kraton Products, E.S.C., Kent State University-Geauga, Geauga Educational Services, Berkshire, Ledgemont, Cardinal and Newbury Schools.

“This is truly a partnership with the local educators and businesses,” says Bonnie Troyer. “These hands-on programs and tools help support our overall mission, which is to prepare our students for the workforce. Accomplishing that goal is a win, win, win – for students, their potential employers, and the community as we prepare the next generation of workers.”

Sophomore, Junior and Senior High School Career Readiness Days are scheduled throughout the school year and are available to other school districts in Geauga County. For more information about the Career Readiness Program contact btroyer@geaugagrowth.com. For other information contact GGP at 440-564-1060 or porvis@geaugagrowth.com. The office is located at 12373 Kinsman Road, Newbury, Ohio 44065. Learn more at www.geaugagrowthpartnership.com

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