Students play “Dungeons & Dragons” at the Tomorrow Center as part of the Ready for Hire program.

Courtesy | Mid-Ohio Educational Service Center

The Morrow County Ready for Hire program at the Tomorrow Center in Cardington uses “Dungeons & Dragons” to teach high school students important job readiness skills. The Ready for Hire program is held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3-7 p.m. and is open to all Morrow County students in grades 9-12.

“Dungeons & Dragons” is a tabletop role-playing game where players create characters and work together as an adventuring party to overcome challenges in medieval fantasy worlds. Players use complex and specific rules and rely on each other to overcome various challenges — martial, environmental, and social. As their characters travel and grow, the players collaboratively weave stories together, fostering creativity and lifelong memories. Through playing “Dungeons & Dragons,” teens learn important social-emotional learning skills that are in high demand in the workforce. These skills include teamwork, communication, problem-solving, and creativity.

In addition, Josh Hunter, lead teacher for the Ready for Hire program at the Tomorrow Center, said students have told him that “the game has helped their social anxiety, their confidence, their ability to express themselves, and has helped them forge new friendships.” Hunter explains that “Dungeons & Dragons” requires students to work together, take turns, and consider others, which builds self-awareness, social awareness, and self-management skills. Moreover, the open-ended choices and high stakes of the game demand responsible decision-making.

“The need to respect each other and the kinds of bonds that can be built around a ‘D&D’ table meaningfully foster relationship skills,” Hunter added.

While learning losses caused by the COVID-19 epidemic have led to weakened basic social skills in teens, Hunter is confident that will not be the case for the Ready for Hire participants.

“After watching these six students learn and grow after months of playing this game, I know that they won’t end up fitting into any of those post-Covid stereotypes and that they’ll genuinely be better equipped for the world that waits for them after graduation,” he said.

Registration is open for the Ready for Hire program. Interested students should ask their school counselors for an application or contact Morrow County Site Coordinator Becky Nolen at [email protected].

Submitted by the Mid-Ohio Educational Service Center.