PHOTO COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA
By DANIELLA PIERRE
South Florida is one the fastest places for start-ups, entrepreneurship and lean management. We are also at a time when women in the workplace aren’t paid equally in comparison to men. To bridge the various gaps in our world of work today, and to find ways to work even smarter and to introduce new career paths, we should start by shifting the mindset of our youth.
One valuable, underused tool is Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day. Ms. Foundation for Women has outlined how to make children at work day a success, so we should use it and tailor it to our local economy.
But planning, promotion and stressing the day’s import and potential impact are key.
For the last 25 years, locally, we’ve celebrated Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work. The day, which is earmarked to be nationally recognized and observed the fourth Thursday in April, by the Ms. Foundation for Women, was originally created for girls, and transitioned in 2007 to include boys, too. Because of various school-wide and state-wide testing held during that week, Miami Dade County Public Schools decided to observe it district-wide on February 2, 2018.
Since its inception, the concept has been just about the same, but in my opinion, the way we work here in South Florida, has evolved. In the past, the highlights of taking your child to work was merely about workplace tours of the building, mannerisms and pleasantries, professional attire, speeches and photos.
This was yet again evidenced again this year by Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho when he tweeted:
“@miamisup: Observe how your parents or relatives act in the workplace. Notice how they dress, speak to others, and find out what tools they use to get work done.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions…we work for you @MDCPS. #TYCTWD.”
That’s it? That’s what we offer to our youth in the 21st century as a sneak peek into the workforce and the world of work? I wouldn’t be overly excited and by the look on the children’s faces based on the pictures posted, they didn’t look excited either. We ought to be making a much bigger impact and it all starts with better planning, preparation and promotion.
Sending out a memo and tweet on a Friday two-weeks before it’s scheduled to take place, does not provide enough meaningful planning or coordination.
Over the years, the way Miami-Dade County Public Schools has announced children at work day seems like an afterthought and something to just check off on the school of calendar. This is simply not right and not the way our fourthlargest school district should observe it.
We have a lot of local employers, retirees, professional athletes, fortune 500 companies, local filmmakers, pastors, policymakers, ex-offenders, community activists, non-profit organizations, our local PTA and entrepreneurs who, if involved in advance, can make this day more meaningful to our youth and not just another day-off from school.
Take our children to work day goes beyond a typical 9 to 5, suit, tie and office cubicle; it should take a deeper dive into ethics, ingenuity and answering a child’s question about why we work.
Our youth deserve to see what work really takes, not just how we “act” and “perform” in front of them on that day. To enliven daughter and sons to work day locally, it must be a serious multi-faceted approach and there should also be a local steering committee comprised of representatives who add to the success of our community. That’s what corporate social responsibility is all about and that’s how we create agents of positive.
Mr. Superintendent, let’s revisit how we adopt it in our school district in an effort to make it much more equitable, exciting, meaningful.
Have suggestions on how to improve children at work at day, locally? Let’s hear about it. Contact Daniella Pierre at firstname.lastname@example.org.