Is Workforce 2020 Really Worth It?

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*The following is an op-ed by members of the Warrior Ink student leadership.*

Workforce 2020 has seemed like nothing more than a pain for seniors rather than the “great” career opportunity it is claimed to be, so we are just going to come out and say it.

What is Workforce 2020?  In our view, it’s taking time out of our very busy and stressful days to go talk to employers we have no interest in meeting and have no time for. All this appears to be is a lame attempt for the school to actually do something to help us outside of school, other than knowing important things like the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. Forbid they took that time to teach us what taxes are and how to do them, or how to apply for loans, or maybe how to manage an income . But to require us to job shadow and go to Workforce 2020 in order to graduate seems like they realize its such a ineffective idea that the only way they could get us to do it is to blackmail us into it. In a time where many of us are taking multiple college and  challenging classes, where missing one day is equivalent to what missing a week of school used to be, we don’t have time to come out of class, work on fake resumes, and practice meeting people we actually don’t really care to meet.

Many of us don’t know what we want to do yet, some of us don’t even have career plans that will be represented at Workforce 2020. But those people still have to go. It’s become more of an inconvenience that I’m actually taking the time to write about how little this will benefit me. If you’re interested and excited to go then fine, that’s very good for you. That’s why it should be optional. Emphasis on “optional.”

Next on my hit-list, job shadowing. We have to job shadow? No, that’s not a joke. You have to go meet a stranger and watch them do a job before you even have a chance to go and study and decided what you want to do in order to receive a diploma. Because four years of busting your hump and staying up until 2 am to write papers is all pointless if you don’t spend two days pretending to pay attention to someone go to work while you in reality just sit on your phone every moment you get.

Ever hear seniors complaining about how they have to do their job shadow?  It’s because they don’t want to do it. Which means its not the “learning experiences” the school thinks it is. Who is the school to say I have to shadow my potential future career. Shouldn’t that be my responsibility, or something done by the college I attend?

It’s not a graduation requirement to take the SAT right? Or brush my teeth every night? No, while both may be good ideas, they are both still OPTIONAL.

Graduation requirements for IR seniors overall feel just a little bit ridiculous. Workforce 2020 is coming up and most of us are anything but excited. I suppose in theory it is a good concept, but in reality, most of us don’t care. We are given the chance to talk first hand with professionals in their respective businesses–but most of us don’t even want to go. We are told it teaches us how to write job applications and handle interviews, however many of us have already learned how to do that on our own.

The school feels the need to make workforce 2020 and job shadowing a graduation requirement because few would participate in it if they didn’t. So doesn’t this go to show that it is simply a waste of time and money? Then why do we continue to do it? The answer is simple; the school merely wants to have a good facade. They want to look like they care about our lives and our future careers, but in actuality, the administrative staff really just wants us all to graduate so they can go on the next year.

Preparation for Workforce 2020 primarily takes up time out of one of our most important classes; English.  We have so much to do in there including our current senior papers, another graduation requirement. Yet we are taken out of class for multiple days to do something completely useless. We write resumes that everyone basically lies on, and fill out fake job applications that we will never use. The majority of seniors have no idea where they are going with their lives in the next two years, let alone what they are going to choose for a career.

In reality, most everyone will probably wander around, talk to the business owners for a few minutes, get their evaluations filled out, and then hang out with their friends for the rest of the time. There is so much stress that come along with senior year. Everyone likes to say its the best year of your life and that its the easiest thing you will ever have to do, but that isn’t entirely the case. Yes, it’s fun and exciting and we are all ready to get out and start our lives, but there is so much pressure with things like applying to college, taking the SAT and ACT, and generally preparing for adulthood.

Workforce 2020 just adds an extra bit of stress that none of us want or need.