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In-Demand Jobs Week provides critical networking, etiquette and communication skills

Dick Blake teaches students


June 10, 2019



Do you know how to make an impactful first impression in seven seconds? What about the proper etiquette at a business dinner?


These important skills and other career topics were discussed at the In Demand Skills for In Demand Jobs session held at each high school this May.


Each session was presented by Gear Up, CBS (Community, Business, School) Connects and Parma City School District Career and Technical Education in collaboration with Effective Leadership Academy (ELA). The program was open to any student in grades 8 – 12 at Normandy, Parma Senior and Valley Forge high schools. Only the first 40 students to sign up per building could attend the afterschool event.


“In Demand Jobs Week is May 6 through 10, and really it’s just to help promote in-demand jobs,” shared Chuck Caldwell, CBS Connects Coordinator. “We already do a lot to expose students to a number of opportunities, like field trips, mentor luncheons and career speakers, so we decided to do something a little different and promote the in-demand skills that they would need to be successful in their career.”


Each building held the same presentation, which broken into two parts. The first part from ELA discussed collaboration, critical thinking and communication skills. The second part focused on dinner etiquette, with a lesson from Dick Blake School of Etiquette and a catered meal from Stancato’s.


“ELA taught the students about networking, selling yourself and preparing an elevator speech to make a first impression,” Caldwell explained. “The etiquette coach talked more about business dinners and how to properly present yourself to be successful at important dinners.”


The program was funded through the Community Connectors grant as well as funding from Gear Up Parma.


Caldwell said they have been doing a lot in CBS Connects to get students thinking about careers and college after high school, but not so much on the interpersonal skills needed to be successful. He saw a need to have students learn this new skill set.


“We had several activities and opportunities throughout the year to show students business and career ideas, so we wanted to have more training on soft skills that they really don’t get to experience,” he expressed. “These sessions provided the chance to learn something new and hopefully students will start thinking about these skills. I don’t think kids understand the importance of being able to promote themselves and express themselves professionally. I think it's beneficial to get this perspective from new voices and different people.”


Students intently watched the etiquette presentation at the sessions, Caldwell added, which provided different and interesting information they have not experienced. The ELA portion of the event was very interactive, which students enjoyed as well.


“Hopefully we can continue to offer this moving forward into next school year,” he said. “As with everything we do, we like to start small and try to grow it as much as possible. I’d love to see it built into the school day, so more kids can be exposed to it.”



PHOTO CAPTION:  Renowned etiquette expert Dick Blake teaches students how to properly introduce themselves and make a positive impression as part of In-Demand Jobs Weeks.