El Segundo High School Recognizes Importance of Workforce Readiness
Acknowledging importance of “real world skills,” ESHS springs into action
El Segundo, CA – May 4, 2012 – As the chilly days of winter dwindle into sporadic spring showers, El Segundo High School seniors’ thoughts obsessively focus on the next step awaiting them – a launch into the “real world,” whatever that means for each individual student. For many students it’s the beginning of a four year college adventure ending in the dream career of a lifetime. For some it’s a period of searching and experimenting with potential majors and careers in an effort to tap into an inner passion that will sustain them professionally into adulthood.
For other students, it’s a time of reflection on the latest elective class addition to the high school curriculum: “Career Pathways and Workforce Readiness.” This past school year, in response to the outcry from private industry to better prepare our students for the “real world” skills necessary to thrive in the workplace, ESHS created an elective class to meet that need, under the direction of Mrs. Linal Miller.
Students spent the year building resumes, listening to and interviewing guest speakers, researching careers and colleges, setting career goals, learning time management, employment preparation, building portfolios, serving in internships, and otherwise trying to absorb as many job-related skills as possible to better prepare them to hit the ground running when the time comes to leave the nest. Sporting professional business cards and “Linked In” accounts, these students already have a leg up on what it takes to network successfully.
On March 9, this inaugural group of students mounted a self-produced assembly for the ESHS student body, highlighting what they had learned in their classes about careers, colleges, and most of all – themselves.
To an audience including district administrators, El Segundo Education Foundation members, School Board members, PTA Presidents, professionals from the community, as well as their fellow students, these young professionals, dressed to represent the careers of their choice, spoke from the heart about what they’d learned over the course of the past year. One student claimed she had always hated team work because she felt people didn’t hold up their end of the responsibilities and she always did all the work. “Not anymore. We learned in this class that in true teams the work is distributed according to each person’s strengths, and we are all dependent upon each other to succeed as a unit.”
One student went so far as to avow “this class saved my life. Not knowing where I’d be in ten years, trying to please everyone around me instead of pleasing myself would have been a disaster.” Other students admitted they’d come to understand the importance of building and maintaining professional relationships, that the old adage “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” really does hold true.
Two El Segundo High School graduates lent their considerable talents to the enterprise as well via “Toy Box” productions. Morgan Rojas, Class of 2006, and her younger brother Ryan, Class of 2008, were responsible for putting together a video capturing the spirit of the “Inaugural Class of 2012” for the Career Pathway & Workforce Readiness Class.
The adults in the audience walked away completely impressed with the students’ dedication, skill and professionalism. ESUSD Superintendent Dr. Geoff Yantz noted, “These students are well on their way to making a success of themselves, and it’s really gratifying to see students understand the importance of this class to their future success.”
Mrs. Linal Miller, whose sweat and inspiration fueled the class, allowed the students’ own words to underline the importance of the knowledge she tries to imbue in all her students. Mauricio Gonzalez shared, “This class has given me a certain initiative to choose and STICK to my career path.” Budding engineer Timothy Liu agreed. “This class has formed the foundation on which my engineering self can stand and take steps forward.”
But perhaps the biggest kudos were uttered by Taylor Maruya. “Had everyone known how much this class would have benefitted them, they would have been fighting over the sign-up sheet.”
Luckily for students at ESHS, they all get that chance again next year.