Bowling Green, Ky. As thousands of college graduates enter the workforce, employers look for students equipped with more than just the traditional knowledge and skills for their chosen profession. Want a nursing job? You should know anatomy, disease management and patient care. Hoping to be a robotics technician? You need to be versed in computer programming and advanced manufacturing skills. But it is often not sufficient to simply know how to the do the job, students are also expected to exhibit proper workplace behavior.
After area employers voiced concern that new hires, particularly younger employees, lacked soft skills like professionalism, workplace etiquette and teamwork; Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College (SKYCTC) applied a new approach to career readiness. The Faculty Senate implemented a workplace ethics agreement in all classrooms to strengthen student mastery of punctuality and work ethic, classroom participation and teamwork, appropriate dress, proper technology use, and treating each team member with professional courtesy.That means in addition to completing class assignments students must demonstrate they can be on time, act professionally, put the cell phones away, and put forth a full day s work in order to make the grade. Since the workplace ethics agreement implementation in 2011, student GPAs and retention rates have improved and employers are pleased with students work ethic. The success of the program earned national honors for SKYCTC. The college s Faculty Senate was the 2015 recipient of the Faculty Innovation Award of Excellence from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) in April and was chosen from more than 1100 of AACC s member colleges. The program has also been recognized by the League for Innovation in the Community College.
We have set the bar higher for our students, so they will stand out to employers, said SKYCTC president Phillip Neal. They will be the preferred hires not only because they have the necessary skills, knowledge and training to do the job, but also because they are dependable, hard-working, and understand the expectation of today s industries.
Only students who meet both the academic and work ethic behavioral expectations successfully complete their courses. Faculty report increased productivity in the classrooms and students say they feel more motivated to succeed. This is a team effort, and while it immediately benefits our college community, it is directly focused on better serving our industry partners who are the basis of Kentucky s economy, said Neal. We are honored to be recognized for helping our students and their future employers succeed.