Indiana readiness program

Sophomores Anna Margita, Kiara Wilson and Tullia Dietz signed up for the Indiana County Ready program in the IHS guidance office. (Jorie Meil/Indiana High School)

Seniors through sophomores learned about this new program at an assembly held by the president of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Mark Hilliard.

At the assembly, students learned about the new program known as Indiana County Ready. This is an optional program that prepares students for the future by emphasizing and rewarding the development of soft skills.

Soft skills are skills that enable an individual to work and communicate effectively with others.

To participate in the program, students have to apply through the guidance office. In the middle of the year, the students will get a form to give to three teachers that they have both semesters. The teachers will fill out the form that assesses the soft skills of the student. That same form is again given to the teachers at the end of the year to assess the final progress of the student’s skills.

Students who pass through the program are awarded a medallion and certificate at graduation. Additionally, the designation will be attached to permanent records and the student will receive a stamp of recognition that can go on college applications and r←sum←s.

“I think the career readiness program will be very beneficial throughout the school year,” said senior Taylor Lang. “Throughout the year, you can learn and develop the needed skills to continue on after high school. Since you have to get signatures from teachers you have for the whole year, I think it’ll be a very honest review on the skills that you’ve developed. Overall, I believe it’s a great way to grow and learn more about life after high school.”

Eventually, the county wants to evolve this program so it more directly aids students in finding employment.

“In the future there will also be an employment component where the Chamber of Commerce will help match job seekers who are certified in the program with companies who have an opening in an area that is of interest to the job seeker,” Hilliard said. 

The program is based upon six categories of soft skills and attributes that the county believes students need to succeed. These categories are reliability, work ethic, respect, communication, professionalism and attendance.

“I think soft skills are important because we interact with people so many times daily and having well-developed soft skills is so helpful in basic interactions, interviews, meetings, presentations, basically anything social. We’re all thrown into social situations so often and having soft skills is a huge help,” said sophomore Avery Olenchick.

The Indiana County Ready program provides students with an opportunity to get a step ahead on their futures and all are encouraged to consider the program.