EHS students attending the YEP program

EHS students participated in a Wildcat Work Certifications/Youth Employment Project (YEP) workshop on October 20 to learn more about social skills, resumes, interview skills, internships, and summer work opportunities.  

Led by Aliex Kofoed with Workforce Alliance, the three-part workshop allows students to learn more about workplace etiquette, financial literacy, and keys to employment. Students earn a badge for each of the three parts they complete and an Essential Skills Certificate after completing the series.  

These certificates are required by some Butler County employers or internship opportunities, allow applicants to skip some rounds of interviews, or can even provide opportunities to move up in pay scales.  

“The fact that we have the opportunity to do this is awesome,” EHS junior Pheydra Lynes said.  

Keys to Employment  

Students learned about resume-building, the application process, and interview success. An average applicant will go through ten interviews before being offered a job. Kofoed explained proper phone etiquette including having a professional voicemail message and keeping the inbox cleared out so people can leave a message.  

To prepare for interviews, Kofoed advised students to bring a copy of the job description and have questions specific to the position or culture of the workplace ready to ask the interviewers. It is important to know the mission and core values of a company to make sure they align with your own, otherwise it will likely not be a good fit.  

When it comes to the actual interview, it is important to dress professionally, have a firm handshake, arrive early, silence your cell phone, make eye contact and speak clearly. These convey confidence and professionalism.  

While talking about common interview questions, Kofoed focused on the reason for the types of questions. Interviewers are less concerned with a specific right or wrong answer as they are with determining why a candidate would be the best fit, whether or not they can problem-solve, whether they know how to provide great customer service, and whether the candidates personal values align with the company’s mission and values.  

Most companies do research before hiring an applicant that includes searching social media. If there are any inappropriate or unprofessional photos, it can prevent you from being offered employment.  

“This workshop is geared toward getting them to the next level and prepared for professional careers,” Kofoed said. “I want them to find the leadership inside themselves.”  

Financial Literacy  

In addition to discussing new hire forms and looking at the components of a typical paystub, Kofoed explained the major differences between a credit union and a bank. He debunked myths surrounding credit and students participated in a budgeting activity to determine what a livable wage might be for them.  

There are three actions that are considered money-smart: planning and budgeting, living within your means, and finding additional income sources. Characteristics of someone who is money-smart include being future-oriented, calculating to make sure you can afford what you are buying, patience, and being able to delay gratification.  

Workplace Etiquette  

Professionalism and taking pride in your work are key components to workplace success. Kofoed shared examples of grit and a hard work ethic paying off both personally and financially.  

Successful leadership takes pride in your work, strong ethics, problem-solving, conflict management and de-escalation skills, and effective communication skills, and perseverance.  

The daily repertoire of a leader are those stock skills that are habitually used: timeliness, work ethic, effort, body language, energy, positive attitude, passion, coachability, going the extra mile, and being prepared.  

The Wildcat Work Certification workshop also opens the opportunity for students to participate in a Work Experience course during second semester. This allows students to work at a job or volunteer in the community and receive elective credit for high school.  

“The opportunity to go off campus to work is great,” EHS junior Gibby Baker said. “Especially for those of us who don’t have a lot of time outside of school hours to work because we are involved in sports.”  

For more information about the Youth Employment Project, please visit their website: