By Phil Klutts
April 11, 2023

Teach to Work

Patty Alper outlines how to successfully guide younger generations to be successful and why it's important.
(Photo: Brent Fuchs)

By Patty Alper

You might not be drawn to “Teach to Work” unless you’re in the teaching or mentoring arena. If that’s not you, stay with me anyway. This book has good things to say about how we train and teach the next generation.

(Photo: Brent Fuchs)

This will be important for us as business people and families. Most of us are facing worker shortages. Unemployment continues to hover around 3%, and businesses everywhere need to get the most out of their employees. Mentoring can provide effective training, empowerment, and satisfaction.

Written by Patty Alper in 2017, “Teach to Work” outlines what she has learned and how to successfully guide younger generations to be successful in the world. The importance and results of mentoring are evident early in the book. Brandon H. Busteed of Gallup, Inc. writes this in the forward: “College graduates who had mentors encouraging their goals and dreams, internships, or long-term projects where they applied what they are learning, double their odds of achieving a great job and a great life compared with their peers who did not.”

Alper hits the ground running in the introduction and first chapter by outlining why mentorship is so important and how it benefits students, mentors, and the companies that sponsor mentors. Her insights aren’t just her own subjective results. She cites research and publications like the Harvard Business Review. She also includes company testimonials from the likes of Starbucks, Pfizer, Ernst & Young, 3M, and more. Chances are that if these folks are seeing benefits, it’s probably good for your business as well.

The book goes beyond advocating for mentorship. “Teach to Work” is about project-based mentorship that provides students with the skills, social interaction, and emotional support to do big things and prepare for the working world after school. Alper goes into the how-to after outlining why mentorship is important. Part Two of the book is chock-full of tips, examples, and knowledge to get you started or help you become better at mentoring students in a project-based environment.

Mentoring isn’t just about teaching new skills to students or young employees. Mentoring opens opportunities and instills confidence in mentees. Alper says that sometimes they just need support, “Youth are geniuses at improvisation and imagining what isn’t obvious. Their powers of reinvention often far surpass even their own expectations if they’re given an invitation to succeed and the support and guidance of an interested adult.”

You may not be involved in mentoring students, but this book is still a great bank of knowledge. If you’re in business or have children, then I recommend picking up a copy or at least exploring the ideas and resources available. Closing the skills gap helps us all ensure the future will be bright!

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About Phil Klutts

Phil is an Edmond native and has managed to keep his wife here instead of traveling the world, which they both enjoy. They have two boys who love the outdoors, adventures, and learning new things. Phil is a problem-solver at heart and enjoys connecting people to the resources they need.

In addition to being the co-owner of Edmond Business, Phil founded the CK Group LLC after working for large and small businesses in the Energy, Construction, and Fitness industries. He focuses on helping small businesses and entrepreneurs improve their systems and processes. CK Group LLC's mission is to eliminate chaos and create clarity for small business by connecting vision, strategy, and implementation.