New York is expected to begin issuing a “work readiness” certificate to high school students who pass a voluntary test. The New York Times reports:

The test would cover so-called soft skills in 10 broad areas, including the ability to communicate, follow directions, negotiate and make basic decisions . . . The test, given by computer, would include one section on speaking skills, with oral answers to be recorded and then analyzed by examiners.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is working on a national credential to certify work readiness.

Employers should pay for their own screening tests, writes Kevin Drum.

Well, they already do. But by the time young people take and fail employment exams, they’ve used up all their years of free education. It would be nice if teen-agers learned early on what skills are required to be successful in school and in life. Like showing up every day on time. You’d think years of schooling would teach that, but employers have told me it’s the great failing of young workers: They don’t think they have to show up every day.

Many young people are fired from their first job because of bad work habits; most learn from the experience and do better at the next job. Some take years to unlearn sloppy habits they’ve developed while drifting through school.

About Joanne