Most of you who work with the less advantaged know that your clients usually did not become less advantaged overnight. Most of your clients come from families who have been less advantaged for generations. Your clients probably live in communities of less advantaged families.
Many of you have stories of a less advantaged youth who has been able to break the cycle and create a different kind of life. We have amazing stories of young people who have moved beyond their roots to get great jobs or go to college and become contributing citizens. One young woman we worked with a number of years ago observed how the middle class lived and asked many questions about ethics, values and character. She began to emulate middle class behavior and dress. She was able to break the cycle. In our experience these folks are the exception not the norm.
How did our young woman break the cycle? We believe that there are a couple of ingredients. First she believed that she could have a different life – that she could break the cycle. She had people who believed in her and her ability to have a better life. Then she worked to learn the life skills needed to enter a better life. These life skills were her passport to the middle class.
What are these life skills? These skills include work ethics, social skills, values and character. In addition to these skills our youth need to embrace the shared belief systems of the middle class. Some of these include a belief that hard work will pay off, education is important for having a better future, and that each of us is responsible for taking care of ourselves and our families.
The first step in breaking the cycle is getting the foundation information that enables them to keep a job or to complete job skills training or to finish college. The basic foundation is work ethics and appropriate social skills for the workplace. Work ethics provides the basic foundation for all other life skills.
When you break the cycle for one youth you are changing future generations. We believe that many of our youth can break this cycle if they are given the chance. And that chance is learning a work ethic from someone who believes in them and their ability to have a better life. Each person who moves from less advantaged to contributing citizen today has the opportunity to become a role model and mentor for his or her children, other relatives and the broader community.
We at Smart Work Ethics can help break the cycle. Our programs include work ethics, social skills, values and character.
We offer a Train the Trainer series to enable your trainer to deliver soft skills/work ethics to your target audience.