The common refrain is that education is important to being successful. One South Dakota official believes young people need help to develop their skill set.

Workforce development has been a key phrase utilized by the state’s leadership in keeping talented people at home. South Dakota Secretary of Labor Marcia Hultman sees teenagers lacking soft skills that are usually learned by doing entry level jobs.

“(Soft skills are) showing up on time, getting along with co-workers, calling in if they are sick that day and communicating with individuals.”

Hultman believes those shortcomings become more apparent when the college graduate enters the workforce lacking those soft skills.

“If our youth aren’t getting those experiences and their first job is when they are 21 (years old), an employer looks at them and thinks, ‘There are some deficiencies here. They should know these things.’ (Soft skills) are hard to quantify or qualify sometimes, but we all know if someone doesn’t have them.”

According to Hultman, an already full schedule for youth and their parents are among the reasons into why teenagers fall short in work experience.

Hultman also draws a contrast to the work experience of generations prior who gained experience on the farm or at the café in their early teens.

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