Businesses show support for work ethic certification

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By Kelly Cantrall


Hardin County Schools has received support for its proposed Work Ethic Certification program, with local businesses agreeing to interview graduates to give them experience with a job interview.

The certification’s intent is to instill so-called “soft skills” such as accountability and preparedness in students and then show businesses that they’ve been evaluated in those areas.

Wright said many business representatives have been passionate about the program.

“It has exceeded our expectations at this point in the game,” Wright said.

Many have said this is something they have felt has been lacking for a while, he said. For all students, whether they begin looking for a job after high school graduation or go to college before starting their careers, these are necessary skills.

“These soft skills, these are what will carry these students through life,” he said.

High school seniors can receive the certification beginning next school year. Participants also receive Junior Achievement Success Skills instruction from members of the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce’s 2013 leadership class.

The certification will measure students on eight criteria such as attendance, academic performance, punctuality and teamwork. The district is asking for businesses’ help by offering to hold interviews for the experience, even if they aren’t hiring at the moment.

Officials at Metalsa, a company focused on creating automotive structures, had discussed with HCS officials the difficulties they had with interviews, said Trinity Searcy, who works in program management. When scheduling interviews, about 20 percent of applicants don’t make appointments. Those who do vary widely in how prepared they are for an interview, he said. Plant Manager Ken Brune said they felt very favorably toward the idea.

“Quite honestly, we really encouraged them to adopt it,” Brune said.

Even if the plant isn’t hiring, the interviews give graduates experience which eventually will be beneficial for their company and others.

“I think it’s a good investment in the youth and a good investment in the community,” he said.

Beth Cox, vice president of human resources at The Cecilian Bank, said they saw this as an opportunity to give back to the community.

“We’re excited about it,” Cox said.

Interviewing skills is a large part of getting a job, and this is another way to prepare young people for the workforce.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.