The unemployment rate for the 16-to-24 age group reached a record 19.6 percent in April, double the national average. For those job seekers, said Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, “This is the worst year, definitely since the early ’80s recession and very likely since the Great Depression.”
Wow. This got me thinking about the value student-athletes bring to an employer. As an undergraduate at Western Michigan University, I was fortunate to have a job/internship every summer. After my freshman year I worked long 2nd shifts at a factory; after my sophomore year I interned with Kraft Foods; and after my junior year I had an amazing experience as an intern with the Walt Disney World College Program. Call it ignorance, but my teammates and I just assumed we would get great jobs. And we did. But unknown to us at the time, as student-athletes we really stood out in the crowd.
As addressed in my book Student Athlete 101, below are 5 REASONS why employers should hire student-athletes:
1. LEADERSHIP: Student-Athletes are natural and confident leaders who bring added value to a workplace.
2. SELF-STARTERS: Student-Athletes know how to execute a coaches game plan but every now and then they have to go at it alone on the field or court. One thing student-athletes do exceptionally well is problem solve.
3. MULTI-TASKERS: Student-Athlete’s balance a crazy schedule and know how to use it to their advantage. This means they know how to organize and prioritize like nobody’s business.
4. PRESSURE (LACK OF): For student-athletes, pressure is fourth and inches; 5 seconds to go in the game and you’re down by 1 point; it’s penalty time and you have to score. Long story short, student-athletes can handle any situation or perceived “pressure” in the workplace.
5. TEAMWORK: Student-Athletes know how to work on a team and make their teammates better.
So if you’re in the position of hiring some young adults and notice that they’re a student-athlete, snatch them up before someone else does.