Career Readiness: First Step For Success

High school  students sitting at tables in a dimly lit room with a screen at front that says "Find Your Passion."
Above: High school students attending a JA Job Shadow event at ttec in 2019.

Two students who graduate with a degree in the same exact field from the same university successfully land job interviews. One of them, who demonstrates competencies like critical thinking and problem solving skills, is hired, while the other individual, who does not demonstrate these kinds of skills, is not.

In today’s job market, applied skills or “soft skills” are in high demand, and this is expected to be even more necessary for the jobs of tomorrow. 

Career Readiness Characteristics and Skills 

Career readiness is important for students of all ages so they possess the essential skills and knowledge to succeed on their educational and career paths. These include skills such as::

  • Communication skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Financial literacy
  • Time management
  • Stress management

“Career readiness goes beyond the classroom, it gives job candidates a competitive edge and can differentiate a good employee from a great one,” says Joe Verrengia, Global Director, Corporate Social Responsibility at Arrow Electronics and member of the JA Board of Directors. “Employees who know how to work are immediately useful. They arrive knowing how to join a team in progress and contribute. They understand their role. They handle deadlines. They are more agile and more resilient.”

4 Things You Should Do Today to Make Tomorrow Great 

Preparing students for life after school includes efforts that start at home, continue at school and go beyond the classroom.

  1. Career readiness starts at home. An easy step parents and guardians can take  is to make their children aware of what they do for a living, and talk about different career paths and opportunities
  2. During playtime, adults can encourage children to play make-believe, and pretend to be what they want to be when they grow up. Playing veterinarian, or chef, or artist allows them to explore and learn about what interests them, while discovering skills they enjoy
  3. In the classroom, students should be given guidance and tools to see the value of work and understand the importance of exploring careers that match their interests, skills, and personality.
  4. Apprenticeships, internships, externships, summer programs, and co-ops offer opportunities for students to put their career-readiness skills into practice, and acquire job-specific skills they can’t necessarily acquire from inside a classroom. 

Career Readiness: The Key to Tomorrow’s Success 

At Junior Achievement, we know that a career is more than just a job. We prepare young people for successful lives as adults, including helping them learn how to be self-sufficient, optimistic, have an enterprising spirit, and how to identify satisfying and fulfilling careers.

We believe that the alignment of passion, talents, skills, lifestyle, and fair pay is the key to a satisfying career and a rewarding life. Success and job satisfaction come from the purpose and meaning derived from that work. 

Data shows that thanks to our programs, JA students and alumni are driven, and have financial education and career-readiness skills that help them thrive at the workplace and in life. 

Building a Brighter Future 

As part of our commitment to provide students with the knowledge, skills, resources, and motivation they need to fulfill their professional and personal potential, JA Rocky Mountain is building the JA Free Enterprise Center

This state-of-the-art learning facility will house the JA Dream Accelerator® and JA Finance Park.® Together, they will deliver innovative, real-world, and inspirational learning experiences in financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and career readiness.

“We’re building a modern way to help teens jumpstart their future, discover their potential to become successful and self-sufficient adults, and feel pride for this country and the opportunities free enterprise offers,” says JA-Rocky Mountain President & CEO Robin Wise.

The JA Dream Accelerator is first-of-its-kind and will bring careers to life for students by sharing stories of emerging entrepreneurs and Colorado Business Hall of Fame inductees tailored to each student’s interests and aptitudes, motivating them to develop a plan that will empower them and help them launch a meaningful career.

“It is a uniquely interactive center to help kids with this very important step: figuring out your path, how to get there, and what you need,” Verrengia adds. “It is a maker space for youth where they can experiment and invent and build their adult selves.”

Let’s build a brighter future for the youth in our community. Learn more about our purpose, our programs and how to get involved