Message from the Publisher: Leslie Lounsbury, Publisher, SAY Magazine

The Back2School publication focuses on the connections between education, employment and earnings.

One of the reasons our Native students drop out of high school is due to not understanding these connections.

Every day over 7,000 school-age US teenagers decide to become high school dropouts. Shockingly, in America, where public education is free, over three million struggling students annually fail to complete their high school education. Blame is placed on teachers, students, parents, community and economics, but solutions are few.

The competition for jobs has never been higher, with more than half (56 per cent) of employers saying they are concerned about the growing skills gap, and 46 per cent believe there is a significant gap between the skills their organization needs and the skills job candidates have, according to survey. Thirty-seven per cent say they currently have open positions for which they cannot find qualified candidates, up from 25 per cent last year.

The key word is ‘qualified’. According to the report, Career Development in the Canadian Workplace: National Business Survey, two out of three Canadian businesses say they have difficulty finding candidates with the ‘soft skills’ they are looking for – a positive attitude, good communication ability and a strong work ethic. Almost half say job seekers need to better prepare themselves for work.

Employers want employees ready to go to work with skills and realworld experience. They do not see their role as training although they are engaging in training more and more. Many employers have begun reaching out to young future job seekers to help prepare them for entry into the workforce. A third of employers say they’ve promoted careers at their organization to high school students, and some have reached out to younger school students.

There are more job seekers than jobs so job seekers need to focus on what sets him/her apart from the rest. In other words, why should an employer hire YOU.

Whether we agree or not, some of the screening devices used to determine if you are the best suited to the job include: education, life experiences, first impressions and attitude – even if not required for the actual job. The employer wants an employee who takes little work on the employer’s part and who will stay for a long time. The cost of a ‘bad hire’ is very high for the employer.

Graduation – from high school, college et cetera, shows ‘stick-to-it-ness’

Volunteering – shows understanding that money is not everything

Participation in sports, organizations – shows ability to work as a team, take direction

Appearance – says so much about an individual and what they understand

High school is not too early to emphasize the connections, what employers look for and why these attributes are important, especially when we are aware that most students decide in Grade Seven if they will continue to higher learning after high school.

Mission: HOPE

Mandate: Celebrating our Successes.