There are plenty of talking points when it comes to discussing what should and should not be in public education curriculums, but most of these discussions surround subjects like math and science, and how and what should be learned in the classroom. Though there are certainly waves of people who do use mathematics and science regularly in their adult lives, there are plenty of folks who don’t, as well.   One thing everyone has in common, outside of royalty, is the need to get a first job at some point. Anyone in this position would benefit from an employment training guide.  Learning the ins and outs of how to go about getting this job, how to perform as an employee, and how to respectfully vocalize your worth are all things that do not find themselves into school curriculums very often. Sooner than later, it should be public policy to include these things, but for now, here are a few tips for at-risk youth who need an employment training guide for the world of employment. 

Core Work Skills

Though not generally taught directly, there is structure inherent to a school day that allows for implicit growth of many of the core skills needed to succeed in any workplace.


Teamwork is polished every single day in the classroom, especially during instances of group activities or classroom participation events. Encouraging the young people you get involved with to take these class times especially seriously because of their relevance to the “real world” is an easy and effective way to encourage teamwork growth. For kids in sports, band, theatre productions, and other things that involve many “cooks in the kitchen” to achieve a common goal, these skills are being polished even more than in the regular classroom. Outside of school, students looking to prepare themselves for the job market should not shy away from team activities, even if teen anxiety is pushing them to do otherwise… most of the other teens there are nervous too.

Problem Solving

This is another life skill that is built through osmosis every day, but there are plenty of ways to make problem-solving talents more relative to the workplace, and just better in general. Generally speaking, at-risk youth tend to face more relevant problems than their upper-class counterparts growing up, and youngsters should be encouraged that overcoming income and racial disparities, which they have already done, is far more difficult than any job will ever be. Using the parts of kids’ lives that many consider the “bad” in a positive and growth-related way can encourage them and empower them to achieve great things.


Though not all jobs utilize tech, the application processes almost certainly do. Educating students on how to use technology for more life-related instances than social media is also a great way to put them a step ahead as they enter the job market. Setting up a professional Gmail account is a good example to get the ball rolling. JoeSmith25@gmail is a bit more enticing to employers than StarQuarterback555@gmail would be!


A life skill in itself, good communication is as paramount as anything when it comes to being a good, reliable employee. Relative to the email addresses mentioned previously, a good employee training guide will include teaching students how to make solid resumes, good cover letters, and how to mimic the confident tones displayed in those documents should be taught and retaught to students who are looking to enter the workforce. Communication in the workplace falls somewhere between that students have with teachers and that which they have with their peers and helping them learn to navigate the different ins and outs of whom to talk to in what manner will get them rolling high into their first interviews.

Unemployment rates for youth are higher than they have been in this millennium, and many kids truly feel that they are just not ever going to be able to land a job, just as the millennial and Gen Z’ers feel like they may never be able to own a house without fame or lucky fortune. All of these generalizations can be overcome, but it starts with encouraging and educating the youth, especially those who have tougher hills to climb. Having a helpful employment training guide will undoubtedly assist. 

Andrew Deen has been a consultant for startups in almost every industry from retail to medical devices and everything in between. He is currently writing a book about scaling up business and his experience implementing lean methodology.