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NWI TIMES GUEST COMMENTARY: Young workers making a splash when it comes to their work ethic

Date: 4/8/2019 through 4/7/2020

Doug Ross, April 7, 2019

At places like Deep River Waterpark, the Lake County Parks & Recreation are helping to train and mentor Indiana’s future workforce.

Ande Moore, Human Resources Manager for Lake County Parks & Recreation, is a believer in the benefits obtained by the Work Ethic Certificate program.

“We’re always excited when a job applicant has the program on their resume,” Moore says. “It’s not a requirement, per se, but it does tell us that this applicant understands the basic needs of an employer.”

The regional Work Ethic Certificate initiative is an effort by the Northwest Indiana Workforce Board and the Center of Workforce Innovations. It guides students in employer expectations and helps them to understand why those attributes are important.

At Lake County Parks & Rec, there is a need for youth hiring (ages 16-24) all year round. “The water park needs employees during the ice skating season, as well as during the summer,” Moore says. “At Bellaboo’s Play and Discovery Center, we need help year-round with the indoor activities.”

Located in Lake Station, Bellaboo’s Play and Discovery Center, where children use hands-on activities to learn about the world around them. “This year, we are going to open the Imagination Garden,” Moore says. “It’s another way to help youngsters learn about the world they live in.”

Bellaboo’s needs young workers even in the winter. “We have a lot of planned activities and parties for kids,” Moore says. “Many of our high school employees work a couple of afternoons and weekends.”

Deep River Waterpark is the main job generator. “We hire about 300 part-time employees during the summer,” Moore says. “We also have a small amount that stay for the ice-skating season.”

At both parks, it is critical that employees are serious and paying close attention. “This is a first job for many of our employees,” Moore says. “They need to understand that it’s a playground for others, but it’s serious business to keep them safe.”

The Work Ethic Certificate program is a welcome sight on a resume. The tenets surrounding the Work Ethic Certificate such as following directions, recognizing problems and finding solutions, and being on time and dependable, play well in these recreational areas.

“Our employees are the face of Lake County Parks & Rec, and we want them to be customer-oriented,” Moore says. “They learn important life skills about how to interact with others in various settings, some happy, some difficult.”

Moore says that they can tell a lot about the applicant when they first meet. “Number one, be on time for the interview,” she says. “Number two, dress appropriately. You don’t need a suit or dress but wear something that tells me you understand professionalism.”

Energy and enthusiasm are major soft skills needed. “You’ll deal with lost and crying youngsters,” Moore says. “You’ll deal with a lot of questions. You need to be calm and polite.”

Attendance is critical. “We need to have the right number of employees for the number of people in the water park,” Moore says. “It’s a big deal when an employee doesn’t show up.”

Moore has discussed the values of the Work Ethic Certificate program at local high schools. “I absolutely believe in the value of the program,” she says. “I always try to spread the word and encourage others to use it whenever possible.”

Whether it’s the Discovery Center or a tube ride, employees who have earned the Work Ethic Certificate program make it an awesome adventure.

HIRING FOR THE FUTURE is a series from the Northwest Indiana Workforce Board, featuring region employers who provide young people a work opportunity, while helping them gain skills and develop a good work ethic in order to succeed in today’s economy. The opinions are the writer's.

View article in the Northwest Indiana Times here.

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