September 25, 2016
LaPorte High School offers students (grades 9-12) the opportunity to earn a Work Ethic Certificate and to be recognized by the School Board and the entire school community.
This certificate, awarded to any student who meets or exceeds the established criteria, validates for employers that the student has successfully displayed strong work habits that lead to success in the workplace and in college. Savvy students use the certificate to their advantage on resumes, college applications, and job interviews. Students in the program also develop a sense of awareness of the importance of being prepared for the demands of the 21st century workforce and higher education.
Any LaPorte High students in grades 9-12 must first declare an intention to participate by signing a Student Intent to Participate form by early December. Students are provided with a packet of information that explains the criteria and the process of evaluation leading to receipt of the award.
The certificate at LaPorte began in 2006 for juniors and seniors and was a joint partnership with the high school, the Department of Workforce Development and the Center of Workforce Innovations. After the statewide program ended in 2008, La Porte Community Schools not only continued the program but also expanded it to include freshmen and sophomores.
The certificate was developed to respond directly to the needs expressed by employers in multiple business sectors in the region. Local employers were surveyed by the Greater LaPorte Chamber of Commerce and asked to identify necessary work skills they look for in their employees. In response to the survey input, LaPorte expanded the opportunity by incorporating the Work Ethic Certificate process into the Career & Technical Education curriculum, which has served to increase the number of students earning the award. This is very positive for students, employers, and higher education, as many CTE students move on to success in college and other educational programs.
Award of the certificate is tied to a rigorous evaluation process. Ten criteria have been established by employers and educators to determine eligibility for the Work Ethic Certificate. These criteria are based upon attendance, unexcused absence, tardiness, discipline, community service, organization, punctuality, respectfulness, career readiness and teamwork. Four of the criteria require an evaluator’s signature to serve as evidence that the student displays those qualities on a consistent basis. Data for the evaluation are collected in the second trimester, between November and February, leading to recognition at the end of the school year.
There are many advantages to participating in this program. The Work Ethic Certificate is a demonstration of character and dependability. Students who qualify for the certificate have excellent attendance, are punctual, and earn good grades. Additionally, these students express their compassion for others and concern for the community by performing community service.
Colleges and employers alike are constantly seeking students/employees who display these qualities. Successful completion of the Work Ethic Certificate is also documented on the student’s transcript.
When Work Ethic Certificates are presented to LaPorte students, each student also receives a $40 gift card to Barnes & Noble, thanks to the sponsorship by the American Licorice Co., a local employer and active member of the Northwest Indiana Workforce Board. The Workforce Board’s Youth Employment Council has championed the use of the Work Ethic Certificate with schools and employers throughout the region.
For more information, the coordinators of the LaPorte High School Work Ethic Certificate program are Assistant Principal Candace Schafer and College and Career Counselor Tami Maxey.
Candace Schafer, assistant principal, and Tami Maxey, college and career counselor, are the coordinators of the LaPorte High School Work Ethic Certificate program. The opinions are the writers’.
The READY NWI partnership supports the unique aspects of community, school, and student, and embraces a commitment to regional thinking and acting in order to ensure prosperity by meeting the skill and education needs of employers throughout Northwest Indiana.