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Professional skills training in Bergen and LeRoy Schools
When members of the Class of 2018 graduate from Byron-Bergen and LeRoy Central School Districts next June, their high school transcripts will include a certificate, endorsed by the Genesee County Economic Development Center, indicating completion of a training program in professional skills.
With support from the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation and the America’s Best Communities grant, a timely program is being developed in the two districts to provide graduating seniors with a repertoire of skills that employers perceive as lacking in first-time job applicants.
“We are constantly looking for strategies to develop our local workforce in preparation for emerging career opportunities,” said John Jakubowski, GCEDC Workforce Development Consultant. “Honing professional skills gives our students the edge in a competitive market.”
Professional skills, sometimes referred to as “soft” skills, include effective communication, teamwork and collaboration, problem solving, critical observation, and conflict resolution. While they may be difficult to quantify, their absence is obvious and problematic for conducting business efficiently and professionally.
“Our students are developing a growth mindset as early as elementary school,” said Byron-Bergen Superintendent Mickey Edwards. “We reinforce the belief throughout all grades that intelligence and character can be developed and that human potential really is without limits. With this new program for seniors on their way out our doors to higher education, the service or employment, we are equipping them with a refinement of skills to position them for success in whatever route they take.”
The professional skills training will rely on the expertise of school counseling staff, the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership Business Education coordinator, and local employers as guest presenters.
“When our students can interact with a company president or a human resources manager from our geographical area, they not only learn the importance of professional skills, they also get a feel for the wide variety of opportunities that exist close to home. With the exciting initiatives
transpiring in projects like the LeRoy Food & Tech Park, we want our graduates to be ready to take advantage of any career path that presents itself. But professional skills are universally in demand and will serve our children well for a lifetime,” said incoming LeRoy Superintendent Merritt Holly.
While the professional skills training program is being designed specifically for Byron-Bergen and LeRoy high school seniors, the model is highly replicable and can be adapted easily in other districts.