Preparing Students for a Successful Walk into the World of Work

by Ginger Goudie

Ginger Goudie (left) and Erin Tenney (right) at SOLO Labs.

SOLO Labs is a manufacturer of custom orthotics – foot supports that help to alleviate pain when standing or walking. SOLO Labs has also been involved in helping educators to prepare their students for a less painful walk into their future.

Inside BERKS Business is a program of the Berks County Intermediate Unit, designed to connect education and business. Participating educators spend four days exploring positions that their students may be filling in a few years, and learning how to best prepare students for these jobs. 

During the four days spent at SOLO Labs, I was reminded of the importance of emphasizing soft skills with my eleventh and twelfth grade “Success Class” students during the next school year. 

  1. Details matter. Each SOLO product is designed to address the customer’s unique foot and support needs exactly. Prescribed criteria as well as quality are checked at every step of the production process and then rechecked before shipping. 
  2. Teamwork is essential. Regardless of what your specific job description may be, creating a quality product is a team effort, and the successful employee understands their role as part of the entire process. In addition, completing an order within 48 hours which is SOLO’s goal may mean that the craftsman at the third step of the process takes the initiative to help out the person completing a later process if needed.
  3. Your character off the job can get you hired – or not! Your presence on social media is a factor in how you are known to others. Pictures or comments that highlight your positive attitude towards divisive issues or your desire to support others may be seen as an indication that you would be an asset in a teamwork environment. In contrast, future employers may assume that negative posts or pictures of questionable behavior are indicative of a person who would not be an employee who works well with others. 
  4. Keep learning. Producing a high-quality product in little time, and at a competitive cost demands constant improvement and the incorporation of ever-changing new processes and technology. SOLO Labs is in the process of incorporating state of the art 3D print technology, and the developing of new product lines to meet the changing needs of the customer. Employees are regularly evaluating processes to improve, simplify or streamline.

These soft skills – and others – matter tremendously, and are evidence that the SOLO Labs mission of Serve others, Love others is more than just words. Kindness is evident in the atmosphere on the production line, in the office, in how customers are served, and in how each employee interacts with coworkers and management.  Because these soft skills are expectations, SOLO will continue to have a reputation for quality craftsmanship and excellent customer service, as well as being a great place to work.  

SOLO stands for Serve Others, Love Others. As a second-generation, family-owned business, we continue to live that mission by offering educational opportunities to create a better workplace for the future.


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