Regardless of your age we can all keep learning.  Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation Talent Director Gail Cruikshank joined me on WJON.  She outlines why lifelong learning can benefit everyone including those in the workforce.

Benefits of Lifelong Learning:

What is Life Long Learning:
● By definition -Lifelong Learning is an approach to learning—whether in personal or professional contexts—that is continuous and self-motivated. Lifelong Learning can be formal or informal, and takes place throughout an individual's life, 'from cradle to end of life. I am working with 2 educators this summer on externships to help them more effectively prepare their students for success. Why is lifelong learning important in the workforce?
● It Can Help You Succeed at Your Job. Only 25% of hiring managers say job seekers have the skills their company needs. Lifelong learning can result in better work performance and company culture leading to higher retention.
● It Can Help Your Brain Stay Healthy. Learning new things keeps your brain active and growing at any age.
● It Can Help You Stay Connected. Learning from others can help you be aware of things outside of your immediate environment. It builds your network.
● It Can Help You Stay Fulfilled. Lifelong learning and learning new things can provide you a sense of accomplishment as well as strengthen your skill set - leading to job advancement should you seek, making yourself essential in an ever changing world.
● It's Easier Than Ever to Engage in Lifelong Learning. There are so many people in our community that are willing to share their knowledge, time and ideas.

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Gail Cruikshank (Photo - Jay Caldwell)
Gail Cruikshank (Photo - Jay Caldwell)

Top lifelong skills to have:
● Critical Thinking. The ability to think critically is a must for future success in a changing world deepening your problem solving skills.
● Leadership. Understanding leadership is one of those beneficial lifelong learning skills that can change people's lives. Knowing when to lead, be led or just observe are critical skills in every industry.
● Communication. Whatever medium is being used in our complex world, communication is key to success. We work in groups to identify an opportunity and work together to resolve a challenge and identify/implement a solution. No one person does it all. It is through effective communication through collaboration that we experience success.
● Creativity. Creative thinking and application grab consumers' attention and secures their loyalty. Ultimately, creativity is a common language we can all learn to communicate our passions and ideas with.
● Adaptability. We deal with trends of every kind constantly. Business, technology, entertainment, communication, and lifestyle trends to name a few. What makes it more challenging is that each major trend can often have several sub-trends of its own. Keeping abreast of these means staying informed and knowing when to take advantage of opportunities. Being able to adapt to change in all its forms keeps us constantly prepared to survive and succeed no matter what.
● Curiosity. Lifelong learning is driven by curiosity. Outside the rigors of school, there is no educator or peer to motivate us to learn and expand our minds. Developing curiosity is undoubtedly one of the most beneficial lifelong learning skills you can have. Simply put, without curiosity, there is no learning.

Ways to experience lifelong learning:
● Internships, job shadowing, externships, reverse mentorship
● Learn a new role or skill within your organization or a new career outside of your current role. Perhaps a colleague at work knows someone that is experienced in your desired skill you wish to learn.
● Network with your customers, clients, colleagues, friends or family to broaden your knowledge and experiences Bottom Line: Lifelong learning presents opportunities to continue to challenge ourselves and explore new opportunities or skills expanding your talents and networks to feel fulfilled. How does this help our economy/region? Our region has so much talent right here – all with different passions and skill sets and experiences; many eager to help teach you a new skill or share their experiences. Maximizing this great knowledge and passion will yield the best performance of your teams.

The St. Cloud area which includes a 3-county region has 5,500 jobs in our community.  Find information on these jobs here.  GreaterStCloudJobSpot

If you'd like to listen to my conversation with Gail Cruikshank, it is available below.



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