Landing That Life-changing Job… at Age 10

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For a few hundred years in the United States, the quality of life has improved from one generation to the next.  Not until recently did we begin to see data showing subsequent generations forecast as being “worse off” than their progenitors.

Perhaps, an indicator (or at least a symptom) of this prognostication is that many of my fellow baby boomers have adult children or grandchildren living at home with them.  Among these younger ones are digital natives with much more sophisticated lifestyles than I led in my youth, yet even with this technological sophistication, they seem to be staying children longer.

No matter how much “worse off” the next generation ultimately proves to be, no one can argue that they have it as bad as 10 year old children just after the Civil War.  At that time, children that age and younger worked in shops, factories and other business concerns. But if they lived through that first work experience, as adults they were likely to be better off than their parents, having developed a work ethic and employability skills.

So maybe the solution is putting kids back to work at age 10.  I am trying to imagine my 10 year old, 5th grade daughter looking through the “Want Ads,” for a job that suits her.  Will she even comprehend some of the words that make up many Job Titles? Maybe not, but that’s what a dictionary (or Google) is for.  As she reads on she will learn the types of skills and experience needed for each job. Most jobs will also list a minimum educational requirement or specific certifications.

Then there’s the resume’, the application, and the job interview.  Hmm. Maybe it’s too much to expect from a 5th grader.  Or is it? At JA BizTown®, each academic year, over 5,000 local 5th grade students take on jobs for the day that they previously found in the JA BizTown ‘Want Ads.’  They completed applications and if they had sufficient class time and a really industrious teacher, they may have even gone through job interviews to land their JA BizTown Dream Job.

And this year, my daughter’s class will be among the first to experience the new Delaware Pathways Career Exploration Center and the DNREC Career Café in JA BizTown.  Both of these new experiences are designed to connect students to Delaware Pathways careers and to the Pathways offered in their school districts.  


Rob Eppes
Junior Achievement of Delaware


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