Have We Equipped High School Students for Success?

I recently attended a workshop for female entrepreneurs and we were asked a series of questions about the plight of small business owners. The resonating theme was resources and health care. Attendees in my group felt resources needed to be streamlined and that health benefits should be affordable. As I listened to the 9 women at the table passionately discuss the good and bad of business ownership, I thought about options. I thought about what my own experience has been as a business owner and I shared with the group that we have done our children a disservice by not providing them with options. I don’t know about you, but I would have LOVED to take a class about owning my own business-PRIOR to college. This is where I feel we’ve missed the mark with many of our high school students: we haven’t provided them with options and haven’t fully equipped them for success.

So much has changed since I was in high school, but I am finding that some things are still the same. I can remember having options such as home economics, DECA, etc. and being told to make good grades so that I would possibly be accepted into the college of my choice. After college, I would land a job in my career field, where my hard work would be rewarded with promotion and I might even be able to retire early! This story is still being shared in high schools across the country with a couple of finance classes and the reality is that some students never make it to college. The reality is that some students attend college later in life because they need to find employment sooner than later. How awesome would it be to teach students in high school about owning their own businesses? This doesn’t mean that they can’t attend college; it means that students have options. How awesome would it be if students participated in mock interviews and were given feedback about their responses? We consistently coach people to success in the workplace as leaders, but I can’t help but question whether or not this happens in the classroom.

I say instead of waiting until our students get to college to take advantage of career counseling that we equip our children by starting in high school. Skills such as effective communication and relationship building are necessary regardless of what a person’s career interests are, but I’m not sure these skills are being cultivated in our schools. In my dream world, high school students will know that they can own their own businesses, graduate from college, and take the world by storm. The reality is that they can only do this when they are equipped and when they are given options.

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