Getting equipped for the workplace and launching a career have never been easy. But for today’s young people, the climb is tougher than ever. they can be ambitious, work hard, earn a college or university degree, and still find themselves stuck in a dead-end, minimum-wage job—if they can find a job at all.
And what about the millions who can’t afford college? Or those who drop out without even finishing high school? shockingly, an estimated 30% of american students who enter ninth grade fail to graduate from high school, and among minority and lower-income students, the percentages are even higher. what chance do these young people have in today’s über-competitive job market?
For decades now, students have been taught that success is a function of intelligence, academic credentials and strong basic skills. Important as these elements may still be, it seems they are no longer sufficient. some hold that family connections are the sine qua non for building a career. But how many young people are socially linked to captains of industry? and while personal networking belongs in every job seeker’s tool kit, LinkedIn is no panacea.
The question is, what does it take to succeed in America today? and is this recipe something that can be taught…not just to a handful of students at a time, but at scale?
I’ve got an answer to the first question, and it’s one that every entrepreneur will understand. I’m convinced that success today depends even more on qualities of character—like grit, guts and heart—than on I.Q., credentials or connections. what’s more, there is a growing body of research to support the view that character trumps cognitive skills when it comes to career and life success.
I believe the critical ingredient in success is the constellation of character traits that cowboys call “Try.” Through my foundation and its community partners, we’re showing that these qualities can be taught. If you’d like to learn more, and perhaps even become part of the solution, please download the white paper, and read on.
– Jim Owen