Thursday, July 19, 2012

Kids Need Job Mentors

Guest Post by Dr. T. William Hefferan
Author of
JOBS: How the United States Can Reach Long-Term Full Employment

Comparing the “Father Knows Best” television show days of the 1950s to a day in the life of contemporary working parents proves that the family dynamic is changing at lightning speed. Compounding this incredible transformation is our knowledge that the worker economy will continue adding jobs never before heard of or even remotely imagined.

Families need more help than ever before deciding how to prepare kids for the job market of tomorrow.

Many kids in troubled neighborhoods never have a clue what they are supposed to do to prepare for the time when they will need to earn a living. While many of us take it for granted, the concept of earning a living is foreign to many children, even high school students. As a result, they aimlessly gravitate away from a meaningful life direction.

In days gone by, young people learned a trade by working with a person who earned a living in that particular trade. Typically the apprentice stuck with that trade, and that was that. Today it’s a bit different. Mentoring is the contemporary form of working with an apprentice. People with experience teach those who need, want and desire their knowledge.

I have been helped immeasurably throughout my career as a result of mentoring. I still have a mentor. I was fortunate to have parents, relatives and teachers who expertly mentored me as I was growing up. At the time, I had no idea what this activity called mentoring was all about.

I sought help from anyone who knew a lot about what I wanted to know a lot about. The funny thing was that these people readily helped me because they liked helping people learn, and liked watching their mentee grow from the personal knowledge they could easily give.

Parents should mentor their children. Most do a wonderful job and obviously love the process. However, some parents don’t have the expertise or the time to teach their children a trade. Add to that the notion that this mentoring process should be connected with a craft or career path the child is excited about, ideally passionate about.

My experience proved mentoring is critical to every child’s development. In my book, JOBS, I devote an entire chapter to passion for work. I discuss how parents and their children can determine what their children are passionate about and how that can translate into some type of employment and career path later on.

If kids aren’t inclined to do this, parents can add to the educational experience of their children by enlisting the help of a professional mentor trained in helping students choose a career and the appropriate higher education choice. I recommend that this takes place before high school. This step should include helping young students start thinking about a career and what they want to do for a living.

Students receive information in school relating to careers, but parents need a more intense focus through an extra step earlier. Because budgets are tight for most families today, this extra step does not have to be a paid consultant. This could be a mentor connection as simple as a knowledgeable aunt or uncle, or a friend. This person should be eager to pitch in and ensure a positive future for a young person eager to learn about work and education. My personal example shows this can be easy to accomplish.

Many families engage a high school counselor or professional counselor when the family makes a decision about college. Most families are unaware of how helpful this step can be for them and their children. Starting this in the seventh grade would give the student time to make a decision before it is too late to set a foundation for their future interests in high school. They can consider college or career choices based on possible work passions or career interests that have yet to be discovered by the student.

Consider the improvement when we as a society focus on thinking earlier about our children’s development. This gives us the chance to help young adults learn about jobs and careers that are meaningful, rewarding and beneficial for them. With access to mentors like I had growing up, young adults will be assured of a rewarding and meaningful job that they love.

I was one of the lucky ones -- the one with the sign around my neck that said, “Help me!” Let’s make sure all of our children are prepared when they are old enough to secure their first job.

About Dr. William T. Hefferan
With over 23 years of experience as President/CEO of a 100-employee company, Dr. Hefferan decided to put his corporate work experience together with his academic background and solve one of our most significant societal problems. His unique approach to explore ways to end the persistent ups and downs of unemployment includes a peer-reviewed research study he designed specifically to discover ways to solve the problem.

Dr. Hefferan shares with readers his life-changing event that compelled him to dedicate over three years of his life to find these sound solutions, creating a blueprint for America to reach long-term full employment.

Jobs and unemployment concerns are definitely some of the biggest issues facing the United States at this time. If you would like more information about JOBS by Dr. Hefferan or about his organization, Wisdom in the Streets, please visit his website at http://drhefferan.com/. Order your copy of JOBS: How the United States Can Reach Long-Term Full Employment today on Amazon.

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