This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Empathy---Critical
in Normal 2.0

 

  The Herman Trend Alert

December 3, 2014

Workforce Development Beginning in Elementary Schools

When Joyce Gioia spoke in Mexico last September, one of the people in her audience was the Human Resources Director for a company called KidZania. Headquartered in Monterrey, this company delivers on a brilliant concept: Begin teaching children (ages 4 to 14) about the World of Work as youngsters; teach them about earning and spending money, expect them to be responsible, and they will respond in kind.

At KidZania, children have the opportunity to try out different jobs. In fact at their Bangkok location, kids may "try out" an amazing 52 different occupations. From Magician to Mechanic, from Ice Cream Maker to Sushi Chef, from Flight Attendant to Fireman, from Secret Agent to Hairstylist, children begin to learn the skills needed to perform the jobs with a range of difficulty to meet the abilities and interests of every child. Plus, they get "paid" for it---in "KidZo", KidZania's special currency.

Children may spend their KidZos to "buy" goods and services in KidZania City. Each child begins by picking an occupation, learning about their job, putting on a uniform, and starting to earn and spend KidZos. Children learn the value of currency and the importance of spending it wisely. According to parents whose children love the concept, those "learnings" carry over into real-life, where the children become more concerned about how family finances are managed.

Safety is a major issue for this company. "'Zupervisors' are on hand to introduce and provide support for each activity. Zupervisors are trained adults who guide and help kids accomplish their tasks as they work and play." Through every job or activity, kids learn kids learn about how society functions, financial literacy, adult professions, teamwork, independence, self-esteem, and real-life skills.

But here's the most brilliant aspect of the concept, the occupations are sponsored by name brands that exist in the locations. At the Bangkok location, 24 brand partners sponsor experiences that begin to connect the youngsters with their brands.

Although there are facilities in Mexico City, Monterrey, Bangkok, and many other cities around the globe (60 in all), currently, there are no locations within the United States. Installations are planned for San Paulo (Eldorado), Singapore (Sentosa), and eventually, surely the US.

KidZania is just the first of many types of operations providing engagement and learning in an atmosphere of fun and involvement. However, it is difficult to conceive how any other concept could come close to this win-win-win innovation.


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