Preparing Rhode Island Youth to be Successful Professionals



Do you think that Rhode Island’s sons and daughters are well prepared to become successful professionals? While listening to a local radio station earlier this month, I heard a disturbing discussion indicating that many youth were not prepared with even basic knowledge about the world of work. Thinking back about my experiences interviewing job candidates, I have observed that even college graduates, sometimes those with advanced degrees, are not prepared to present themselves optimally as job candidates and really are not aware of employer’s expectations.

Let us take a few moments to do a self-assessment for our children and encourage our employees to do one, too.  You may use this information to develop a meaningful company program for the 22nd Annual Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work®2 (TODASTW) Day on Thursday, April 23, 2015 (or another date if April 23rd does not work for you). In addition to being meaningful, please be sure that your program is fun! If your business is too small to have a meaningful program, perhaps you could work with your local business association, Chamber of Commerce, networking group or other professional organization to sponsor a TODASTW event. Additionally, you may wish to use the results of your assessment to plan future family activities.

The assessment:

Have your sons and daughters in a developmentally and age-appropriate manner:

  1. Contributed in a meaningful way to one or more important projects?  Have they:
    1. Articulated what the project was and why it was important?
    2. Explained their role in the project, what they contributed, and why their contribution was valuable?
    3. Documented the project so that they will be able to reference it as they prepare college or job applications?
  2. Successfully participated in a team project? Have they analyzed:
    1. Their own involvement and what made them successful and how they could have been even more successful?
    2. The team dynamics and what could have made the initiative even more successful?
  3. Learned what business and capitalism are all about? Do they know:
    1. What profit and loss are?
    2. How to maintain a budget?
  4. Communicated effectively with people from diverse backgrounds and different ages in a business setting?
  5. Demonstrated, beyond reciting a job title, they know what you and other adult family members and friends do at work?
  6. Managed their time (and perhaps the time of others) successfully?
  7. Successfully negotiated solutions to problems without parental involvement?
  8. Demonstrated care and compassion for others?
  9. Articulated clearly, and convincingly, a point of view which is completely the opposite from theirs?
  10. Explored potential careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), which may be of interest to them as well as benefit to our nation?
  11. Observed (and perhaps helped) you or other professionals in a business setting?
  12. Prepared a Results Oriented And Relevant (ROARing) resume for themselves and participated in a real or a series of model interviews?

While affirmative answers to most or all of the above questions do not guarantee success in the workforce, they, combined with successful school performance and a career choice which is aligned with the child’s strengths and interests, should go a long way to strengthening the chances of a successful career.

1. I would like to thank Dr. Margarita Posada Cossuto for helpful comments.

2. Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work® is a trademark of the Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Foundation.


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