The Central Chamber Report: Senior Interviews – Tremendous Workforce Future

By  | 

    So many times we hear how awful educational systems are, how unprepared the millennials are to enter the workforce and how the future of workforce development is in dire straits!   Granted, from a “30,000 foot elevation” viewpoint this is all probably true, however, locally I have reasonably higher expectations!  
    Over the last several years I have had the privilege of judging Senior Projects at Central High.  I have always completed the judging of these projects with a subtle sense that our community’s youth were learning some great skills and accomplishing some great projects.  However, this year the process was changed from the judging of projects to doing Senior Exit Interviews.  I have to admit, I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy this change in format.  After all, in previous years some of the projects were impressive, interesting, informative, and at times entertaining.  How exciting could doing 20 interviews be? I have to tell you that it was a fantastic experience!
    The Senior Exit Interview process allowed us to ask the seniors a series of predetermined questions such as: describe a community outreach program in which they participated, how Central High prepared them for the future, what their short and long range goals were, and other random questions we as interviewers presented to them.  This process gave these seniors the opportunity to have practical experience going before complete strangers, handling themselves in a professional manner, and dealing with random questions.  By going through this process, I was able to help these young people utilize skills they had been developing in order to prepare them for future such experiences.  Additionally, I was treated to a new and enjoyable experience in dealing with our local seniors and gained two wonderful insights.
    First, Central has always rallied behind the phrase, “A Community that Cares!”  Our community’s ability to reach out to others in need has been our unifying and defining trait that makes Central a tremendous place to live.  These seniors had to take part in an outreach project.  Many of them described the impact that this had on them as they reached out to those less fortunate!  By placing our seniors in such projects we are providing an opportunity for our community to continue to be a “Community that Cares” for years to come. 
    Secondly, by doing this interview process we had an opportunity to not only gain insight into the achievements, plans and goals of these seniors but also into their character!   I am here to tell you there is hope!  Hopefully we can keep some of these talented, insightful, and quality young people in our area for years to come.  Whether they are entering college, trade school, or the workforce, these seniors will do the Central community proud.  Parents, teachers, community school system, and churches congratulations on a job well done and congratulations to the Seniors of 2016!  
Ron Erickson
President – Central Chamber of Commerce