This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

January 6, 1999

Helping Young People Transition from "School to Career"

There are many bright kids who, because of accidents of birth, don't see college in their futures. They grew up thinking that because of family finances, college was simply out of their reach. The Kansas City community is successfully addressing the challenge of helping these bright kids see that they do have attractive possibilitiesùif they stay in school. This new program is not called "school to work," but rather "School to Career."

The program works with students who are already in various educational environmentsùvocational-technical high schools and colleges or trade schools, kids who may not be college bound yet, but want to prepare themselves to be gainfully employed. The students begin earning minimum wage and move up to $12-15/hour.

Cisco Systems, the company that owns 80% of the hardware side of the networking market has established "learning academies" in the schools. Here's how it works: schools have access to Cisco's equipment, so kids learn. Students learn about routers, bridges and hubs. These learnings qualify them for networking jobs virtually right out of high school.

Another firm, the Marley Company uses students in town to configure new systems and teaches them troubleshooting. They pay the students minimum wage to begin. As the students become more adept at putting together the systems and making them work, the students receive increases in their wages. As a company, which would you rather payùminimum wage or $20/hour? Configuring computer systems is not rocket science and it is a first step for some of these bright kids who did not previously perceive their bright futures.

Kansas City Power & Light also supports a "journeyman program" in the information technology to give these students the opportunity to learn tech support and troubleshooting. The students start out as computer operators, become network administrators, and work towards learning programming.

We congratulate Kansas City for helping these capable young people move from school to real careers. Could your company be supporting the growth of young people who don't understand their positive options?

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