For America’s young people, education has become a year-round affair.
As noted elsewhere, fewer and fewer of America’s youth, both at the high school and college levels, are choosing to work summer or holiday jobs. This trend has led some writers to proclaim (and even lament) the “Death of the Summer Job.”
But this only tells us half the story, because America’s youth haven’t been filling their time with more leisure, they are filling it with more education. American students have learned that in today’s competitive, high-cost educational environment that summer classes as well as specialized training and certification programs are a better investment than the income and experience gained from short-term seasonal employment.
In fact, this is beginning to become a year-round phenomenon as students opt for more specialized and highly skilled technical fields that require more extensive education and training.
Employers, especially small to medium-sized ones, don’t have the luxury to ignore these trends as they compete for the same talent against large employers with multi-million dollar training and development budgets and the allure of continued education.
To adapt to this trend employers should begin to think about how they can offer educational or learning experiences to new employees. Employers should offer opportunities and support for workers looking to expand their skills – one close personal friend who works in manufacturing is receiving paid time off and a small stipend from his employer to obtain a certain OSHA certification. And employers must be prepared for when their workers elect to return to school to further their education, because with the right policies in place, business owners and HR professionals can incentivize the return of a highly skilled and newly trained employee.