In today’s competitive workforce, “soft skills” are becoming increasingly important in determining an applicant’s performance within a company. Many job seekers have the technical skills required by a position, but lack the soft skills – such as clear communication and adaptability – necessary to transition successfully into a new company culture (St. Louis Community College’s fourth annual ‘State of St. Louis Workforce’). Developed years before an individual begins their first job, soft skills are crucial to securing future employment.
One way that community leaders and organizations can contribute to a young person’s job readiness is by providing them with internships that explore different career interests. Internships provide teens with the “work-ready” experience employers look for and allow young people to hone their problem solving and interpersonal or communication skills. Through hands-on learning and feedback, internships play an important role in helping teens acquire the soft skills they need to live successful lives.
Sense Corp, a Wyman supporter, understands the value of an internship and created an internship program for Wyman teens working towards their college degrees. The internship program at Sense Corp is nine weeks during the summer, and exposes teens to an array of business capabilities and skills. Kenneth Harding, a former Wyman teen and senior at Missouri State University, was the first intern in the program this summer. Harding appreciated learning a new range of skills as he contributed to Sense Corp’s progress:
My time with Sense Corp was an exciting adventure into the professional world of a successful and growing organization. During my two-month internship, I gained valuable experience within my field of Human Resources. Projects I worked on included sourcing candidates for open requirements, planning and facilitating a teambuilding activity for new hires, and designing a 360 degree feedback program for all employees. Sense Corp also helped prepare me for my future by helping me improve my resume and LinkedIn account, giving me advice on interviewing, and even taking me suit shopping! In addition to professional development, I enjoyed the brilliant, fun, creative, and human culture at Sense Corp by participating in the company’s Bowling Night, BBQ, and cycling events. In fact, after being invited to an office bike ride, I decided to purchase my own road bike and adopt cycling as a new personal hobby. My favorite part of this summer experience was the people I got to share it with. Sense Corp provided me with meaningful relationships at all levels of the organization from the CEO, to Consultants, and everywhere in between. I look forward to a follow-up meeting with the HR director this December, and I hope to stay involved with Sense Corp to the fullest extent as I prepare to graduate from Missouri State University and begin my professional career.