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Educators preparing next generation of workers for flexible career outlook

A long-term outlook of the changing employment market and the challenge to identify the future of the work force was the topic of a roundtable discussion at The Daily Transcript Thursday.

As the baby boomers retire, leaving with them are the loyalties to long-time employers and the defined parameters of job portfolios. This leaves the door open to the millennial generation with vague career paths and resumes reflecting a number of skills.

Preparing the next generation for a flexible career outlook has been a challenge to educators and an adjustment to employers.

“I think you still need to have some of those basic fundamentals of what is loyalty, what is a good worker, what does it mean to put in the time and effort to be successful,” said Dennis Snyder, executive director of the Escondido Charter High School. “And I think we can’t forget those things in public education.”

Judy Enns, executive vice president of HR Solutions/Eastridge Administrative Services, said small- and medium-size businesses need “people who can flex in and out with a variety of skills and competencies.”

Businesses are looking for people who can be the “jack-of-all-trades,” according to Dennis Guseman, dean of the College of Business Administration at the California State University, San Marcos.

“We train students to be flexible, to be able to accept change, to be able to work in different types of environments,” Guseman said. “Basically I am preparing students for jobs today that don’t exist (and) to address problems we’re not aware of.”

He added: “So that’s a real challenge, how do you do that?”

Along with training people for potential jobs comes continuing long-term education, such as work force development opportunities.

At a municipal level, the city of Escondido offers a program for its workers to become further skilled and move up through the wage scale. The city also has the tough task of providing employment opportunities for residents.

Escondido City Council Member Dick Daniels said, “being able to provide for what we think the work force will be tomorrow and as much as what we can identify what it is, is a major challenge.”

“Cities also have the problem of being able to attract and provide facilities for workers in the community,” Daniels added.

Another dilemma in the work force is tapping labor south of the border, which has effects on wages, the education system and the city’s quality of life.

“We really need to go back and take a look at the work force, how it’s going to impact us and how can we issue those work permits,” Snyder said with regard to illegal workers coming over with families.

Roundtable participates ended the discussion with their desires of how employment will be handled in the future.

Daniels said he wants people “to come out of high school better prepared with better core knowledge.” This improved knowledge would result in being more equipped to explore career options.

On the same page as education, Snyder said he hopes there is an alternative way of obtaining teaching credentials to allow for people with real-life experience in leading the classroom.

He said there are many people “who can make great teachers, but we don’t have a system that allows them to get into the classroom.”

Enns transfers Snyder’s thought into the public sector through “designing work so that it accommodates the workforce that everybody needs.”

She said this would examine what needs to be done and how it’s going to get done instead of just filling jobs.

Guseman said if he could give advice to employers, it would be “you get the employees you deserve.”

“The opportunities you create and the way you treat people whether that be with the salaries, the working conditions, the interpersonal relationships – you would probably get what you deserve,” he said.

Guseman’s advice to employees is to manage and take responsibility for their own career.

“You have to have more investment in yourself than your employer ever will,” he said. “Be concerned about learning and constantly growing.”

He added that in a changing market, a job in seven years is going to be completely different than what it is today.

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