With globalization in full swing and our economy still in recovery, an emphasis on competitive positioning and sustainable growth has never been more intense for companies of any size.

As a result, over the years small and large businesses alike have found themselves with a growing need for “new to workforce” (NTWF) employees, as well as those with some work experience, that possess competencies far beyond the academic and technical, which were once considered, well…satisfactory. And more than ever, employers are at a greater disadvantage and take a risk when hiring NTWF graduate-employees on the basis of GPA and a limited resume alone. Often, even a summer internship does not reveal the true level of a student’s capabilities without a track record. To this end, employers require more information from secondary and post-secondary schools responsible for conferring certificates, diplomas and degrees, about the achievement levels of a graduate’s competencies.

Personal effectiveness competencies wanted!

Increasingly, companies now look to recent graduates to start day #1 with higher levels of interpersonal, teaming, critical thinking and problem solving competencies, along with a myriad of others. Jackie Linton, Deputy Managing Director–Center of Excellence, City of Philadelphia conveys a similar requirement, whereas talent with or without work experience is recruited with an eye toward the candidate possessing a host of personal effectiveness and workplace competencies, in addition to the expected academic and technical knowledge. But it’s not easy to find talent with these traits,” Linton said. Her comment reflects a sentiment shared by other HR professionals working for companies in the Greater Philadelphia area, the majority of which, when asked if they; “are satisfied with their ability to identify applicants with the necessary competencies“, indicate a significant gap between business needs and what these new employees possess!

“Admittedly while there is a growing awareness of this gap, what still appears to be lacking, is a coordinated initiative where HR professionals throughout the business community and education systems collaborate fully on a solution,” said Charity Hughes, president of Philadelphia’s Regional Chapter of the Society of Human Resources Management (Philly SHRM). Hughes recently established a new platform from which Philly SHRM will leverage its strong member base of business leadership, to foster a stronger relationship with secondary and post-secondary schools in Philadelphia. Hughes underscores the importance of asking the following questions before addressing a solution, such as;

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