Thursday, August 05, 1999

Special diploma shows work ethic

Certificate to help students get jobs

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Northern Kentucky high school graduates could earn an edge over their employment competition if they prove they know the meaning of hard work.

        Students who get three teachers to endorse their good attendance, punctuality and teamwork skills could earn a Work Ethic Diploma that would merit extra employment incentives from area businesses.

        Discipline records, grade-point averages and community service also would be taken into account.

        “It's really no different than asking a teacher to be a reference,” said Walton Verona Schools Superintendent Bob Storer, whose district is coordinating the pilot program. “And this communicates to the students that this is important to their being able to get a job after graduation, so maybe they should show good work ethic during the year.”

        The Work Ethic Diploma is based on a program started in Williamstown, Ky. Mr. Storer said businesses that participate in the program give its graduates special consideration during hiring or offer extra incentives such as signing bonuses or waived probationary periods.

        Any student at a participating school, regardless of college plans, can earn a Work Ethic Diploma. But Walton Verona High School Principal Gene Kirchner said it provides an opportunity for students

        who may not be academic stars to convey other strengths.

        “We're not all Einsteins,” Mr. Kirchner said. “But with this program all students would have the opportunity to display the abilities and attitudes that would make them good employees, and businesses and industry should have an interest in that.”

        One company interested in Work Ethic graduates is Procter & Gamble. P&G spokeswoman Paula Long said the project will succeed as long as students, parents, schools and employers work together to make sure the most qualified students are being put into the work force.

        “Students must understand that showing up prepared, on time, every day for school translates into a good work ethic,” she said. “ Local businesses must include questions in their applications which seek information (from school administrators or teachers) about school attendance, tardiness, behavior, and check references.”

        Mr. Kirchner said businesses and students alike will be attracted to the program because of the mutual benefits.

        “In a full-employment market like this one there's a lot of competition for the best employees,” he said.

        The program received the blessing of the Northern Kentucky Association of School Superintendents at its meeting in Erlanger on Wednesday. It will be presened to the Northern Kentucky Principals Association at its monthly meeting Monday. Schools that wish to participate only need to apply.

        Mr. Kirchner said the program will be instituted this fall.


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