Language Skills Support Career Success
What is the common connection between an engineer, a doctor, a police officer, a school guidance counselor, and a corporate account manager? At the recent World Language Beyond the Classroom Day at Newtown High School in Sandy Hook, CT, it became clear that a skill in a second language was a common connecting point. Although not always recognized as a key skill, language knowledge is a critical component to success in a wide variety of careers and studies even suggest it boosts IQ scores.
For the students of Newtown High School—future employees within the U.S. labor market and potentially future international assignees—the reality is that one in five U.S. jobs are tied to international business, according to the U.S. Department of Labor1. The key is no longer only about specialization within a given field, but also the ability to communicate in additional languages which widens the useful scope of an employee’s skill set2. Those with second language fluency can expect increased salaries by 10-15%3.
With these facts in view, Newtown High School invited professionals from the area to speak in language classrooms with the goal of encouraging the continued study of foreign language by students. Amongst other local professionals, representatives from our Cartus Intercultural & Language Solutions team (based at Cartus’ global headquarters in neighboring Danbury, CT) actively participated sharing how the study of language led to significant intercultural life experiences and ultimately to a career in global mobility and global workforce development. A majority of us discovered our passion for language and culture while still in secondary school, which then shifted the direction of our future careers. Our team that day represented speakers of Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian, Mandarin, and Japanese, providing the ability to communicate with colleagues and customers around the globe.
Personally, I greatly enjoyed the opportunity to participate in the event as I found my love of culture and language through high school language classes and my interactions with exchange students in my high school. This led to continued study of the Japanese and Spanish languages and experiences living and traveling abroad to Japan and Mexico. I was very happy to share my enthusiasm with the Newtown High School language students, including my own two children, in the hopes that they also will carry this love of language and culture forward to the next generation.
1U.S. Department of Education, Mohamed Abdel-Kader, 11/19/15
2Atlantic magazine, Amelia Friedman, May 10, 2015
3US News and World Reports, Lisa Chau, January 29, 2014