Career and Vocational Skills

Definition: All students develop employment and occupational skills, including paid work experience, through direct instruction and/or added support as necessary.

Employability skills are general skills necessary for success in the workplace at all levels and in all types of jobs. These skills go by different names — soft skills, workforce readiness skills, career readiness skills — but they all refer to the same set of core skills employers want.

Career & technical education

Work-based learning

Employability and soft skills

  • Habits of Work: an Employment Soft Skills Curriculum was developed in New Hampshire. See especially the Keeping A Job units.
  • WorkReady NH is is a practical, tuition-free program to meet the needs of job seekers and career builders by providing training in specific skills that employers are looking for in their current and future employees. Available online to anyone age 16 and up through the Community College System of NH.
  • Skills to Pay the Bills — Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success is a curriculum developed by the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). It focuses on teaching workforce readiness skills to youth ages 14 to 21 in both in-school and out-of-school environments. The program is modular, with hands-on activities that focus on six skill areas: communication, enthusiasm and attitude, teamwork, networking, problem solving and critical thinking, and professionalism.
  • The Employability Skills Framework is an interactive site to explore and support teaching nine key skills, organized in three broad categories: applied knowledge, effective relationships, and workplace skills. It was developed as part of the Support for States Employability Standards in CTE and Adult Education project, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Education. There’s a professional learning module to introduce the framework and show how to integrate employability skills into lesson plans.
  • Executive Function & Self-Regulation is part of an online Guide to Executive Function from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. Lots of good resources including Executive Function Activities for Adolescents (PDF, 3 pages, 2015).
  • What Works for Work: Evidence Based Transition Practices and Predictors, developed by OCALI with support from the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council, teaches how to incorporate selected evidence-based practices into the academic, vocational and social education and preparation for transition youth. Each session includes a PowerPoint slideshow, handouts or links to resources, and notes and activities for greater understanding. You can do them in any order.
  • Soft skill articles, lists and graphics:
  • Examples of rubrics and and evaluation forms for evaluating soft skills. Level of detail varies a lot:
    • Employability and Soft Skills Manual (PDF, 29 pages, 2018) from the Pennsylvania Academic and Career/Technical Training Alliance (PACCT).  It identifies 27 key competencies under five domains as a minimum set of skills to be attained by every student in preparation for successful employment.
    • Soft Skills Assessment Rubric and Tools from Feather River College in California. Includes supervisor and student sections (PDF, 5 pages)

Job-seeking skills

New content 8-25-23