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I just finished launching my youngest child. She has a degree, a job, and now her own apartment. Whatever comes next, I know she’s got the basic life skills to succeed, thanks in large part to job experience she gained in high school and college.

Academic skills are essential, but that alone is not enough to launch successfully into adult life. A job introduces you to a whole new realm of experience. You learn how to juggle and prioritize your time, solve problems, manage details, adapt, and be a team player. You also learn the independence that comes with a  paycheck, and the responsibility of paying bills. In my view there’s no substitute for job experience and all the real-life variables that go with it, especially during high school and college years.

Job experience

Experience Beyond What Parents and Academia Can Teach

Part-time job experience in high school and college years helped both of my kids learn real life responsibility and real life consequences. You have to be on time or it impacts someone else who has to pick up the slack. You have opportunities to make decisions and receive constructive feedback on them.  You learn how to give constructive feedback. Work experience with co-workers, supervisors, customers, and clients gives you perspective, empathy, self-confidence, and professional communication skills beyond what parents and academia can teach.  You have opportunities to make mistakes and maybe even fail, and that leads to further opportunities to figure out what to do about it. You learn and grow from those work experiences. They help you mature in wisdom and resilience.

Job Experience at ACR Makes Stand-Out Applicants

From my position as an HR director at ACR Homes I see lots of high school and college students using part-time work experience at ACR to better prepare for graduate school and jobs. They are going beyond being just “book-smart”– they’re developing critical job skills and life skills, and it shows.  ACR’s high professional standards coupled with great training and support give ACR employees unique development opportunities. Not only do they end up with job experience and references from ACR to put on their resumes, but their professional work experience at ACR makes them stand-out applicants for grad school and future jobs.

ACR employees tell us all the time that their work experience at ACR sets them apart. Here are a couple of typical comments:

At ACR I had opportunities to learn about individual clients and their conditions, and I had responsibility for day to day care as well as identifying new health concerns. I learned to solve novel problems and develop ideas and systems to support them. This gave me great material for my grad school interview.

My job at ACR helped me grow a lot as a care taker and as a person. In my application and interview process for med school I had concrete and compelling illustrations from my work experience.  I got accepted at the medical school of my choice.

My advice to parents of college students: don’t make the mistake of protecting your child from work.  Encourage them to seek out challenging job experiences.  ACR Homes is a great place to start!

Kristin Pitchford, HR Director at ACR Homes