CTE Programs Make Sense!

April 11, 2015

The recent decision to offer alternate diplomas for CTE [Careers & Technical Education]programs makes so much sense! Why? Because CTE programs give students an opportunity to learn skills about jobs they are interested in at this time in their life. There is a direct correlation between what students are interested in and their ability to learn about it.

This doesn’t mean that at some point in the future a student might change their mind…maybe they will. However, while their interest in something is high, it makes sense to take advantage of that and offer educational programs that fully engage students in the process of learning. Some students learn best in a classroom; others from ‘hands on’ experiential learning and doing things repetitively, while others learn by observing people doing the things they are interested in. The simple fact is; students learn and become educated in many ways, especially when they have an interest in something at a young age.
No one disputes the importance of a Regents diploma and a college education. Some students may not be ready for college when they’re 18 or 19 years old. However, if they have an interest and passion in something, they will learn about it. As they become older, more mature and gain work experience, they may become ready for college and even graduate school. We must remember that people can go to college at any time in their life.

CTE is a much needed and welcomed educational component that not only keeps students in school, but also inspires them to learn practical skills they can use now and build on during their career. A CTE diploma also benefits businesses looking for employees with specific skills to fill job vacancies. CTE is an important alternate pathway to a diploma and certainly as valuable to some students as a Regent diploma is to others.

CTE could also mean Careers Through Experience. The definition of career is: “ones progress through life or a particular vocation.” and according to the US Bureau of Labor, today’s students will have 12-15 jobs during their career. A career which will be an accumulation of experiences that help them grow, learn and become an educated and contributing member of society.


March 2, 2015

optimismHOPE® OBO™

What is HOPE® OBO™ and why is it important? It is OPTIMISM BELIEF OPPORTUNITY; three things that will help you confidently navigate every phase of your career path.

Developing an OPTIMISTIC attitude and outlook is very important. Seeing, understanding and accepting what ‘can and will be’ rather than what can’t or won’t be.  Having BELIEF in yourself and your abilities will allow you to handle whatever comes your way during your career. Being able to seek out, find and create OPPORTUNITIES in life and then be able to take advantage of them helps you grow professionally and personally.

HOPE® OBO™ helps you accomplish AMAZING things during your career. HOPE® Skills help develop your OBO™.

The Power of People

February 17, 2015

The Power of PeopleThe HOPE® acronym for people; Present Exciting Opportunities Plus Learning Experience™ says it all! The foundation of any business is people. The Power Of People™ is the POP in business.

The more people you know the better, especially people who will share their knowledge and experience with you all through your life. The fact is; “people choose to support and do business with people they know, like, trust and have confidence in”. These 4 things require skills and time to earn.

Remember: “it’s never too early to start learning skills you’ll need for the competition you’ll be facing!” HOPE® Skills are your competitive edge when dealing with people.

Graduate Student Remarks About Bob Wolf

December 11, 2014

Today we met the most interesting person I have ever met in my life to this day. Bob Wolf is the founder of H.O.P.E. H.O.P.E. is an organization that teaches students how to learn and acquire business skills that will help them excel in life. A little background about Mr. Wolf is that he held two sales positions, one with Johnson and Johnson and one earlier in his career at Lipton. He later continued to work for two start-ups before starting H.O.P.E.

Mr. Wolf was different from the other lecturers, just on the mere fact that prior to speaking to us; he went around the classroom and introduced himself to each student individually. Mr. Wolf’s lecture reminded me of a lecture from TedTalk. He provided us with an array of valuable knowledge. Personally, the most important thing he told us was the five skills you need in life.

Thank YouThe five skills were first impression, presentation, communication, interpersonal, and selling. A first impression skill consists of setting the tone with a proper handshake. Giving the individual eye contact and portraying a confident aura is also the product of a first impression. Mr. Wolf stated when you first meet someone it is important to ask questions, only then can you find out information about the individual. First impressions are crucial and it helps set the tone for the remainder of the relationship. Presentation skills are the ability to put on a performance. In order to have a successful performance one must always practice. Communication skills are greatly needed in life. People listen in different ways such as eye contact, hearing, and body language. Interpersonal skills consist of manners, common courtesy, the” thank you” and “please” that so many people forget to say. Finally, selling is highly needed. The ability to market oneself is crucial to one’s success.
Please_Say_Please_Logo As the class continued, we noticed that Mr. Wolf had an acronym for almost every word. The most impressive part was that he remembers what they stood for. Examples of words were FAIL or First Approach in Learning, JOB or Just Opportunity Beginning. I believe those are great ways to explain those words. He tried to explain to us that every job has value and that we just have to find it. Some others were ARC that stood for Adaptable, Resilient, Confident or BUD that meant Better Unique Different. The one I like the most was SMILE or Simply Makes Individuals Less Edgy. I think this explains what a smile does for people and if more people smiled, the world will be a better place.

As the lecture came to a close Mr. Wolf just spoke to us about general life lessons. The one that resonated with me is the concept of the more you stir the pot, things will happen. I believe the more one is active within their own life and pursuing their goals great things will happen.

The power of people or P.O.P. has left a mark on me as well. In life you need people and Mr. Wolf expressed that. Nobody becomes effective or successful without the help of others and vice versa.

Before the class ended, Mr. Wolf held up a poster and it read, “Help, hinder, hurt you but it depends on your behavior.” In life, we only control how we react to things. Similar to the quote, depending on our attitude, our behavior, either great things or bad things could happen.

Learning a Skill

December 4, 2014

Skills must be learned by doing …mental, emotional or physical skills. The process of learning a skill is the same, regardless of the specific skill.

Learning a skill is a step by step process …doing the small (easier) parts of the skill first  …becoming good at them…and then doing the more complex, difficult  parts of the next. Always be aware of the feedback we get from what we do.
Learning a skill is a process of self-discovery …until we’re actually doing the skill naturally, instinctively and easily. The process of learning any skill should be a slow, deliberate process – training, practice and repetition are keys to learning any skill .. physical, mental or emotional.


First …understand the various parts of the skill and how they work together. Make an attempt to do-perform the skill and then watch, observe the feedback/results of what we did ..paying attention to ‘outcome’ – success or failure – from what we did. Then , after observing and understanding the feedback, repeat what we did again ..making adjustments in the ‘doing” and then seeing what the reactions/feedback/results from others are the next time.

Some people learn certain skills more easily than others. Be patient with yourself as you begin learning any skill. Pay attention to the feedback you get from people as you practice the skill. Be sure you are getting the results you’re looking for from using the skill…if not, figure out why and work on the part(s) of the skill which are not working the way you want them to.

People Skills – What are they?

August 18, 2014

People SkillsOne of the questions I ask students and graduates is; “what skills do you need to be successful”? A majority of them say people skills. When I ask them to define people skills, they have a difficult time telling me what they are.

Very simply, people skills are the skills required to meet, interact and get along with, earn support from and work with other people. Very often these skills are referred to as ‘interpersonal skills’, ‘life skills’ and even ‘soft skills’. It’s true these skills are needed to interact with other people and they are used all through life. However, they are certainly not soft! In fact, people skills should be learned and applyed…sooner, rather than later. Students with these skills have a competitive edge. Why? Because the skills are required in school, every job, type of work and all careers.

The increased application of technology and social media skills in school and business has resulted in people skills being de-emphasized. The fact is; many schools simply do not have the time to teach them.  Coincidently, businesses look for these skills in applicants, interns and employees. (blog.hbr.org/2013/10/keep-your-name-off-that-layoff-list/) (www.edutopia.org/blog/college-career-ready-soft-skills-crucial-ben-johnson)

The question is; where can you learn people skills? You learn them at home or from family and friends. You can also learn them once you get into the real world … and you find out how important they are in social and business settings.

Or, you learn them in the HOPE® Skills Program. HOPE® Skills (i.e. ‘people skills) are 5 clearly defined, easily understood, building block skills. These ‘knowledge applied’ skills enhance academic, technology and STEM skills that are being taught in schools today. Any student can learn and apply them. And, as you grow, the skills grow with you, becoming more refined over time.

REMEMBER: It’s never too early to start learning skills you need for the competition you’ll be facing!   


Common Core & Common Sense

November 21, 2013

I presume that teachers, students and parents would agree on the following;

The importance of evaluating how effective our educational system is and our schools are doing to prepare all students for the real world is common sense.

A curriculum that includes subjects like Math, History, English, Science, Language, Business and the Arts has support of principals, teachers, parents and students is also common sense.

Students have to be graded to determine their proficiency in what they are taught. Teachers are graded on how well they teach the subjects in addition to establishing a positive learning environment which inspires students to learn. Principals are evaluated on their ability to hire, motivate, lead and encourage high levels of performance from teachers and students. These are all common sense.

The ‘food for thought’ question I pose is this; why are we not teaching students skills often called “people skills”, “interpersonal skills”, “relationship building skills”, “soft skills” and “networking skills”? These are the skills that most, if not all businesses want in applicants and employees. To me, this is common sense. In support of this, I offer the following:

Ben Johnson wrote an article (July 3, 2013) in Edutopia titled ‘College and Career Ready: Soft Skills Are Critical’.  Several years ago, MIT began offering a tutorial in Social Graces for their students. Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman wrote a blog on October 2, 2013 in the HBR titled: ‘Keep Your Name Off That List’.  In it they listed 6 reasons why people are being laid off from jobs. #4 on that list was “They had (very) poor interpersonal skills”. A March 2013 Wall Street Journal article in At Work was titled “Recent College Grads Lack Professionalism”.  Jamie Hezlich wrote an article in Newsday titled ‘Costly price of rudeness’ in which she pointed out the lack of ‘regard and respect’ by people at work.  There are numerous articles from business owners and managers which support the need to teach what I call “knowledge applied” skills. These are the skills which allow students to use the knowledge they have in any job, type of work and every industry and business.

Common Core standards and STEM courses are important. Common Sense seems to dictate that students need to learn skills which prepare them to confidently apply what they have learned in school as they interact with the 1 constant in every business and the real world…people.

They said it! Would you say it?

August 2, 2013

“I have no idea what I want to do”

I heard this comment from a 22 year-old college graduate. He’s a bright, engaging, confident young man who played collegiate sports. Yet, he doesn’t know how to go about finding a job that he thinks he’d like.  Does this sound like you? If so, you’re not alone …lots of college grads have no idea of what they want to do “for the rest of their life” and you know what …that’s okay! You’re going to have 15-18 jobs, or more, in your lifetime so please don’t be worried if you don’t know what type of job you want when you’re in your early 20’s! What is important is to get any job and start learning a few things: 1) what you might like to do and 2) what you don’t like to do! 3) what type of people you want to work with. Remember, a JOB is Just Opportunity Beginning!

My school (a well known business college) didn’t teach me anything I could use that helped me get into business. Everything they taught was theory, nothing practical”.

This comment came from a 24 year old I met with who has his own franchise business. He’s a hard working young man who was surprised that his college didn’t prepare him for getting into his own business. The good news is, at least for him, he knew what to do because his family gave him knowledge and skills he needed …but his college didn’t!

Do you or your friends deal with these same issues? If so, how are you handling them? If you need help or advice, I will help you. Simply go to www.hopeskills.com and contact me.

And … remember: not knowing what you want to do for the rest of your life when you’re in your 20’s is not a crisis … you have to have basic skills in any type of job and career! What are they and Where do you get them? Contact me at bobwolf@hopeskills.com

Interviews: Opportunity or Rejection?

July 19, 2013

A radio commentator recently spoke about unemployment rates in certain states …overall, the employment landscape doesn’t look good! He said people are frustrated by sending their resumes out and having the resumes ‘scanned’ by computers, not people. Are you one of those frustrated people? If so, remember, computer resume scanning eliminates your personality, energy, enthusiasm and presentation skills. How do you solve that problem?

Flat paper doesn’t sell YOU very well …if at all! The solution: become an “in your face” –interviewer …which means getting out there and putting your “foot ‘n face’ in the door of employment opportunity by showcasing your personality, capabilities and confidence. Have you tried it? Tell me about it.

If you let a computer decide whether you are qualified to come ‘in’ for an interview, the deck is stacked against you. Many companies don’t want you coming in the front door and say ‘I want to work here’ …yet, individuals who do that can increase their chances of going to the front of the line for interviews. Have you ever tried walking into a company and saying; “I want to work here”?

Personal face-to-face introductions are the key to getting past the electronically scanned resume door of rejection. Use a computer, find out who you want to meet and talk with, then get up one morning, dress for success, take your resume, put a smile on” and go out and sell yourself … in person! Try it and let me know what happens!

It’s YOUR JOB to show & sell your personality, energy & enthusiasm ,  determination, strengths and capabilities … and your willingness to be “personally, pleasantly, professionally persistent” in your efforts to be interviewed and hired! If they say ‘no’ … keep trying until they say yes!

I’m listening To You!

July 5, 2013

Bob Wolf, Founder of HOPE®

For 15 years I’ve been speaking with, listening to and learning from high school and college students … you’ve told me a lot about what you want, need and are concerned about as you contemplate moving from school to business..

Your letters tell me that the following are some of the things that you need to learn as you think about going into any type of business: “people skills”, “networking skills”, “how to make people like me”, “relationship building skills”, “how to be comfortable around people I don’t know”, “interviewing skills”.

You understand that your success in any type of business depends at lot on other people. You realize that you have to be comfortable meeting, getting along with, earning support from and working cooperatively with all types of people. Do you have skills you need to do these things?  

What’s really interesting is that most, if not all companies want their applicants and employees to have the very skills that you tell me that you need to learn! The question is: Who’s teaching you these skills and how do you learn these skills?

If you knew there were 4 skills that were easy to learn through training and practice and these skills would help you meet, engage, converse with, earn support from and work effectively with people as you go from school to business, would you want to learn them? Of course you would!

Drop me a note at bobwolf@hopeskills.com and I’ll help you learn them!

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