Local Businesses, School Officials Discuss “Success Skills” Businesses Look For From Graduates Entering the Workforce

By Kathy Tilque, President/CEO, Gilbert Chamber of Commerce

The recent Chamber Good Government breakfast with Gilbert Public Schools centered activities around the business community’s expectations from the school district and qualities businesses look for from graduates as they enter the work place. While six specific areas stood out as a foundation for future collaboration; I found two items of particular interest. The group discussed changing the dialog from “soft skills” to “success skills” and providing opportunities for students to fail successfully.

I have felt for some time that when we speak about “soft skills”, the word “soft” seems to conjure up an image of optional or less important skills sets. Changing the dialog to focus on “success skills” elevates these skill sets as essential and relevant. Some of the key success skills identified were problem-solving, communication, teamwork/collaboration, dependability, work ethic, conflict resolution, resiliency, critical thinking, perseverance, ability to read the room and the customer.

Our group of business leaders and educators also acknowledged a success skill that has been lacking is teaching students how to fail successfully. Think of our years of experience and I’d say we have all learned our greatest lessons when we have failed at something. Are we teaching students that it is okay to fail, how to overcome that failure to find a new way to learn or accomplish the goal? Providing opportunities throughout their K-20 experiences that have minimal consequences with time and room to find a solution will provide success skills such as resiliency, perseverance, initiative, and problem-solving to name a few.

We live in such an amazing community, where business, education, and government all collaborate to help each other. We provide each other critical feedback with the best of intentions and are eager to help. Click here if you’d like to view the executive summary of the meeting. Also, check out the Chamber’s website at www.gilbertaz.com if you’d like to attend our next Good Government event or Public Policy Speaker’s Series.

Kathy Tilque is the president/CEO of the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce.