Readiness Seals Ensure Graduates Have Necessary Skills for the Workforce

On Tuesday, the state officially announced the OhioMeansJobs-Readiness Seal for Ohio high school graduates.  This seal will be printed on the diplomas of high school graduates that have successfully demonstrated 15 professional or “soft skills”.  The 15 skills (listed below) were compiled from the results of a survey of business leaders from around the state.  It seemed instinctive to ask employers what they are looking for in their new hires since many business leaders have expressed concerns with finding candidates with the necessary skills.

The Ohio Chamber supported the OhioMeansJobs-Readiness Seal concept when it was simply a recommendation from the Governor’s Executive Workforce Board that was rolled out late last year.  In fact, the Ohio Chamber testified in support of the provision in both the House and the Senate.  Ultimately, the provision passed as part of the FY ’18 – FY ’19 operating budget (H.B. 49) along with a handful of other workforce development recommendations of the Executive Workforce Board.

The process of receiving one’s OhioMeansJobs-Readiness Seal begins when a student merely tells their school that they wish to participate.  Next, the student obtains an OhioMeansJobs Readiness Seal form which will be completed by at least three mentors.  These mentors must validate that they have observed the students successfully demonstrating each of the professional skills required.  The student may also obtain letters of recommendation from the mentors.  Finally, examples of mentors may include, but are not limited to, those within the school, work or community.

The professional skills included are:

  • Commitment to being drug-free
  • Reliability
  • Strong work ethic
  • Punctuality
  • Discipline
  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Professionalism
  • Learning agility
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving
  • Leadership
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • Understanding of digital technology
  • Global and intercultural fluency
  • Career management

It may take time, potentially several school years, to gain significant awareness of the seal, but the hope is that aggressively marketing it will lead to many students striving to obtain it.  Fortunately, since this statute is codified in law it will proceed under the next gubernatorial administration.

Let me know what you think.  Do the 15 skills that were chosen effectively demonstrate what you as employers need from prospective employees?  Please contact me at bogden@ohiochamber.com and provide me with any feedback that you may have.

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