Did you ever think that an employee or a co-worker looked good on paper, but fell short in the workplace?
Hatboro-Horsham High School, in conjunction with the Greater Horsham Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Hatboro Chamber of Commerce, is working to offer some assurances along with prospective student employees’ paper.
Dubbed “School Counts,” a new pilot program rolled out last month offers a screening process of sorts which takes into account eligible students’ grades, character, responsibility, attendance and basic workplace skills, according to Sue Fox, the high school’s community-based learning coordinator.
“For the employer it’s a win-win,” Fox said. “It helps them with the employment process. They have a kid who’s vetted through the school district.”
Fox said 200 students have been invited to participate in the program so far and 50 have submitted applications.
In the spring, the students who meet the guidelines will receive a certificate that’s good for one year, Fox said. The certificate – which serves as a recommendation from the school district - guarantees that students will “definitely be interviewed” for openings at participating businesses, Fox said.
Greater Horsham Chamber of Commerce President Jo-Anne Zapata said about a dozen businesses have signed on to date and both chambers are seeking additional employers to participate.
“I’m sure we’ll have tons more once we get it underway,” Zapata said. “Everybody was very receptive to it.”
Zapata, the general manager of the Days Inn in Horsham, said that, as an employer, showing up on time and taking responsibility for one’s job are the two most important traits. With the School Counts program, Zapata said employers can have confidence that these characteristics are met.
“The reliability, dependability factor is huge,” Zapata said. “You have a comfort zone in interviewing them and knowing that it’s a quality applicant to start with.”
For Fox, who spearheaded the initiative, the end goal is to help students make business world connections and have “more people who mentor them” earlier on.
“When high school kids have summer jobs and after school jobs they actually make more money over the course of their lifetime,” Fox said, adding that this is so because students learn important skills sooner than their non-working peers. “It helps kids learn those intangible skills that we try to teach them in school that they’ll need when they’re out of school.”
For more information on the School Counts program, see the attached PDFs.