Preparing work force for the future

Harry Snyder Guest columnist

Harry Snyder Guest columnist

We’ve all seen the “help wanted” signs or experienced the effects of understaffing in a business. The number of job openings right now outpaces the number of people ready to fill those jobs. And while reasons given for this unique phenomenon vary, it’s becoming apparent that the nature of work could be changing. What seemed to be a temporary economic situation may evolve into a future in which the choices about how, when and where we work are very different.

Jobs have always changed with technology and changing demand. Yesterday’s blacksmith becomes today’s automotive technician, who now must be prepared to keep tomorrow’s electric vehicles running. These days, though, work seems to be affected by factors that we hadn’t considered in the past. “Supply chain issues” is a phrase many of us hadn’t read or thought about just a few years ago. Online meetings, fast food deliveries, and ordering toilet paper on the internet are becoming common practice.

The short-term discussion about work is how employers can fill current job openings. Longer-term conversations must be about what young adults now will encounter in the workplace. We can be reasonably certain that core values and professional skills — working well with others, providing good customer service, punctuality, the ability to communicate clearly — will remain essential for success. Beyond that, students must become prepared for careers that didn’t exist in the past and to be flexible in the way that they work.

That’s why career exploration is so critical, both in school and within families. Students will be better prepared for their future as they learn about emerging career fields, what employers and communities need and how they can be ready to reach their goals as they move into adulthood.

Lots of career exploration tools are available for families. Ohio Means Jobs ( offers resources for every age level, and the Great Oaks Career Campuses website ( includes links to career information, quizzes and interest surveys, and training options.

As we make our way through these current interesting times, one important role is to help upcoming generations to be ready for their future.

Harry Snyder, is thge president/CEO of Great Oaks Career Campuses.

Harry Snyder Guest columnist Snyder Guest columnist