What are you doing today to ensure your company has the technical workforce it will need tomorrow? Hoping for the best is probably the worst strategy. As more companies embrace the technologies of tomorrow, the competition for technically savvy human resources will become fierce. Our philosophy on cultivating the local workforce: middle school is not too soon.
Local districts have programs beginning in middle school to engage students to think about potential careers. Investing a day at a local middle school talking about careers that may be available tomorrow, as well as in five years, is time well spent. Having done this now for a few years I’ve discovered a few things: middle-schoolers are already thinking about their future, they are really excited about technical jobs (those that require college degrees and those that don’t), and they remember you (and your company) as they prepare for careers over the next several years.
Don’t know where to start? Several organizations, like Junior Achievement, are there to help you get engaged in the development of the future workforce. JA’s STEM program engages students in 9th grade and encourages them to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics…high demand skills you will likely someday need. Working with JA to cultivate a relationship with local high-schoolers will give your company name/brand recognition when these same students enter the workforce after college or immediately after high school. It’s thrilling to have students come up to you after a STEM session and ask for contact information, want to know how to apply for an internship, or exclaim how surprised they are that cool technology jobs are out there in their own community.
*Images courtesy of Junior Achievement: (https://www.juniorachievement.org/s3/apps/STEM/index.html)