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American Graduate Town Hall | Anticipating Future Jobs

Flexibility, Soft Skills Are Crucial

American Graduate Town Hall
Kansas City area high school students, educators and employers recently gathered to discuss the future as a part of the “American Graduate: Getting to Work” initiative. (Cody Boston | Flatland)
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About one in four jobs that today’s high school students will apply for when they enter the workforce hasn’t been created yet.

That reality prompted William Chrisman High School senior Hannah Noel to ask during KCPT’s “American Graduate Town Hall”  how students like her can best prepare for those jobs.

The answer was not cut and dry. 

All of the feedback, though, fed into a common theme found throughout our “American Graduate: Getting to Work” coverage – the importance of soft skills. In an ever-changing workforce, a skill set that improves adaptability is highly coveted. 

Susan Wally, president and CEO of Prep-KC, underscored the importance of communication and collaboration in a team setting.

“We used to call them soft skills, but they’re really not soft – employers really value them,” Wally said.

But how do you teach such skills? Start early. Stick with it.

“We have second grade classes debating the value of video games and they stand up and actually have to form a constructive argument and then listen to the other side and actually go back and then re-evaluate their position to argue back,” said Grandview School District Superintendent Dr. Kenny Rodriguez.

“It starts to benefit students the longer they do that.”

See the attached video for the second of three installments of highlights from the “American Graduate: Getting to Work” town hall. An additional episode will appear Dec. 18 on Flatland.  

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