High school seniors in Columbus, Indiana aim to gain an advantage with prospective employers by attaining a work-ethic certificate

The Columbus school district was awarded $35,000 in December 2016 to implement the Governor’s Work Ethic certificate program, one of 18 Indiana districts to receive funding for similar programs.

The program is open to any senior high school student as well as 6th and 8th graders, aiming to give students an advantage with future employers by learning skills and traits desired by employers.

To join the program, students must have a GPA of 2.0 or above, an attendance rate of 98 percent, complete at least six hours of community service during the school year, and have less than one discipline referral to their name.

In order to earn the certificate, students must demonstrate critical thinking skills; the ability to self-manage and be punctual; a positive, open attitude; problem-solving skills; and acceptance of others.

Students who successfully meet the five required competencies will receive a certificate signed by the DWD commissioner and Governor Eric Holcomb, as well as scholarship opportunities and job interviews.

Work ethic program aims to benefit students and employers alike

Students such as Kendra Pastrick, a high school senior at Columbus East, hopes that attaining the work ethic certificate will distinguish her from other job applicants.

Ivy Tech Community College chancellor Steven Combs said of the program: “In the short term, students will develop a strong sense of what is expected in college and their careers, such as the importance of being a present and positive performer.”

Local employers also look forward to job candidates who understand the importance of the five competencies the program aims to teach.

One of the biggest complaint among local employers is employee absences – the work ethic program insists upon an attendance rate above 98 percent.

Barry Parkhurst, Vice President at NTN Driveshaft, said of the program: “It gives us another [screening] tool when we’re interviewing somebody.”