MHI Solutions - Volume 6, Issue 2 - 44
Making a Successful Leap from the
Classroom to the Workplace."
DePiro now begins introducing the
soft skills concepts from that text in
the first year of her program's fouryear curriculum. That has made her
students' transition to the workforce
much smoother. "I have seen a marked
difference in the last few years. Not
all of the students go into material
handling, but that volume has knowledge that crosses all industries," she
added. No matter what industry they're
working in, students find those soft
Missing the basics
"Bridging the Soft Skills Gap," a
report published by the U.S. Chamber
of Commerce Foundation in November
2017, notes that "despite U.S. high school
graduation rates reaching all-time
highs, a growing number of employers
across industries are reporting that job
applicants lack the basic skills needed
to succeed in the workforce. Even when
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44 M H I 1S O L U T I O N S
16/02/18 5:12 pm
applicants make it past the interview
process, employers are coping with new
hires who are unsure of how to write a
professional email, struggle to organize
and prioritize tasks, or have a difficult
time collaborating with coworkers."
PJ Shelton, a deputy sector navigator with the California Community
Colleges' Chancellor's Office, works
with a variety of educational programs
that provide global trade and logistics
training in the San Francisco Bay area.
They include K-12 schools, community and four-year colleges, vocational
training at juvenile detention centers,
and community groups that assist
adults transitioning from one position
"What we have discovered in meeting with our industry advisory boards
is that we are preparing students for
the job but they have almost no common-sense skills-the soft skills," said
Shelton. The advisory board companies
say they don't have time to train their
new hires in these basics; they expect
people to have these skills before they
show up for their first day on the job.
Many new employees don't understand employers' expectations. "The
Millennial generation doesn't get the
fact that if you're punching a time clock
and you're supposed to be there at 8 a.m.,
you don't come in at 8; you come in at
quarter to or 10 minutes to 8 a.m.,"
Communication is a huge problem.
Older adults may not be able to use
email; while younger people may be
fine with emails, they don't understand
what's appropriate in written business
communications so end up using unprofessional acronyms and emojis in their
messages. Some Millennials haven't
learned cursive writing, so they can't
do something as basic as signing a job
There are many reasons for this lack
of job acquisition and retention skills.
For instance, since schools are facing
so much pressure to improve students'
academic performance, they may no
longer have time to introduce any soft
skills training. Shelton adds that some
young people may have had exposure
to soft skills through their parents, but