Rockwood School District
111 East North Street, Eureka, MO 63025
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PIE Business Experts Discuss 'Soft Skills of Emotional Intelligence' Students Need to Join Workforce
9/13/2017

​​​A panel of Rockwood PIE (Partners in Education) business experts spoke to Eureka 
High teachers about what traits young people need in order to join the workforce.​

Eureka High School teachers heard from business professionals about what business managers would like to see in job candidates, these days. 

The Sept. 11 event, titled "Cultivating Problem Solving and Critical Thinking in Our Students" was sponsored by Rockwood Partners in Education (PIE). 

Mercy VP of Virtual Healthcare Gayle Reneer said students need to possess the soft skills of emotional intelligence. 

"Communication is key to success in the workforce, because you have to be able to communicate your ideas to a team of individuals," said Reneer. "When it comes to emotional intelligence, it's about team membership, not just about individual contributions. It's about how to develop relationship with individuals on a team so you can work together and move a project forward." 

Aaron Jackson, World Wide Technology Cloud Consultant, told educators projects fail or succeed based on communication. 

Jackson said, "Nobody likes to talk on the phone or email anymore. Many people want that short and sweet instant gratification through text messaging and chat services." 

Jackson said students need to be adaptable and thrive in ambiguity; they need to go with the flow. 

"One of the things that is consistent is change," he said. "There are so many different change innovators and disruptors. Students who are entering the workforce need to be able to adapt to the ambiguity of knowing in six months that we might have to change paths." 

Jackson said today's job candidates need resourcefulness, grit and hustle. 

"We get a lot of people who are very smart, they know their craft very well," said Jackson. "But they fail to communicate across different teams. They can speak to their abilities, but they have a hard time communicating things like status, progress and goals." 

Eureka High Associate Principal Jennifer Strauser said, "We're trying to allow teachers to hear from people in the business world about how students need to be able to collaborate, critically think and problem-solve. It's not just about the content anymore." 

PIE Coordinator Kim Litzau said she knew their business partners would be able to convey what they're looking for when they hire. 

"I hope Rockwood teachers are able to incorporate this into their classrooms," said Litzau. "I know they're looking for ways to not just give students the answers, but to allow students to struggle, building grit and communication skills in the process."