Maybe it’s because the last Thursday in April is right around the corner. That’s the traditional date that Ms. Foundation created for recognizing Take Our Daughters to Work Day. Maybe it’s because there’s dialogue and LinkedIn status updates that talk about development of youth. Maybe it’s because as we sit and observe the future workforce and those who are entering it, the needs and the underpinnings of doing work evidence there’s a drastic need to expose that talent to the fundamentals of how the wheels of enterprise mesh and spit out the goods and services we demand.
You know, maybe it’s the fact that I recently read an article by a young woman who was trying desperately to talk about the concept of the glass ceiling but lacked the grounding to comprehend to what it refers. If we aren’t talking about the business world and the workplace at home, how do we expect our newcomers to understand what it is that they’re supposed to be equipped to do? Furthermore, it’s extremely important for these emerging candidates to see real world examples of what’s done and what’s available. They shouldn’t be forced to rely on the artificial (and superficial) images on the silver and small screens.
The agrarian life was good for development in many ways. But the Industrial Age eventually displaced the homespun lessons of being a responsible individual. Then other modern age dynamics essentially strangled most of former efforts to develop the new workforce.
I still hold out hope that we can have more than lip service development of youth in our inner cities. Where Ms. Foundation started a one-day exposure to the possibilities, there are ways to reach into those communities to nurture what we want and what we need. It would be so refreshing to see businesses that reside in communities do outreach to the Middle and High Schools to seek “interns.” These young people could spend about four hours per week being immersed in activities that teach them about the workplace and duties involved in a particular job. The interns could learn about being responsible in a palpable way, not in theory. Exposing them to the real world of costs to run a business or department, expenses of payroll and taxes that impact a business, the various components of creating and delivering the product, and one of the most important aspects, customer service all need to become part of the early exposures so that the workforce can present theirselves as better prepared and ready.
While this may sound like advocating for Regional Occupational Program (ROP), it is not. What I press you to consider is going beyond that program and perhaps folding into it the dynamics of nurturing a more aware workforce. My vision is an opportunity, an alternative, to being doomed to lack of opportunity and despised by society as a scourge. That can only lead to becoming at risk of turning to gangs for acceptance and shunning education because it is fruitless and difficult.
Is there a way that we can create more or better options for those who would have hope but for?
Resources and References:
- Ms. Magazine
- Ms. Foundation
- About Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Advisory Board
- Lessons they learned, SF Gate.com (April 26, 2007)
- After 20 years of Take Our Daughters to Work Day, time for a rethink, Christian Science Monitor (April 26, 2012)
- The evolving story of Ms. Foundation’s Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work® Day