They say it takes a village to raise a child. It makes sense. After all, under usual circumstances children are not raised in isolation and the people of their community influence them and help to mold their experience and future.

Many communities, including the one I live in, work hard to improve in the rankings of best cities to live in. These studies rank measurables like population, cost of living index, percentage of workforce in the creative class, median household income, salaryand employment growth, crime rate, air quality, cultural amenities, diversity, etc. If you happen to be fortunate enough to be able to pick wherever you want to live this data can come in handy.

Business Week, for the second year in a rowrecently published The Best Places to Raise Your Kids . It's nice andfocuses on affordability and quality of life. However, I'm not able to find any data relevant tocommunities with proactive programs to get kids from A to Z, from students to professionals. The term K to 20 refers to kindergarten through Master's Degree, and anywhere in between. All the formative years and then some, and then after perhaps a one-term internship -they are unleashed and just expected to be great.

With varying degrees of education throughout history there have always been worker bees, innovators and entrepreneurs so you might ask why I am blogging about this. InHR speak I'm talking about areas of opportunity for improvement. Though we do OK at, "a person for every job and a job for every person," professions are so often accidental unless you are the odd child that is born with a calling or cornered into a family business. Think of how many people you know thatdo not work in what they went to college for, were not happy in their first chosen professionor could never figure out what they want to be when they grow up.

Last week I went out to a local industrial park with an area college that has a program to transition high school students to college on job shadow day for 9th graders. Out of 140 9th graders only 20 expressed interest and only about 20% of the businesses in the park expressed interest in allowing students to job shadow for half a day.

Where did teachers, guidance counselors and parents fail in making this a compulsory rather than voluntary activity promoted with enthusiasm? Businesses cited lack of available staff, confidentiality and liability issues as the most common reasons they were not interested in having students at their facilities for 4 hours, yet the 20% of businesses that did agree found ways to make accommodations.

It's a dysfunctional village that doesn't take children gently by the elbow and guide them through the stages of life with a plan for success. Is your village functional or dysfunctional? Please share your story.

In the meantime, I'm gong to get the village chiefs together here to work on a plan for success.


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