Our educational systems are not producing qualified applicants for available jobs in our workforce. Although current levels of employment average 9% nationwide (US Bureau of Labor Statistics, November 2011), several million jobs go unfilled, across all industries, because individuals applying for these jobs simply lack the skills required for the available positions. Among those most egregiously absent qualifications employers mention are “soft skills,” which define how employees perform in their jobs.
What are these soft skills that employers find lacking in job applicants? Whether referred to as attitudinal and behavioral skills, social skills, job search skills, or 21st Century skills, one thing is clear: Our high-school, college, and workforce program graduates generally lack mastery of these skills. It is up to us, as educators, program administrators, and communities, to work together and assure all student and adult learners have a strong awareness of the soft skills they need to succeed in any endeavor.
The Georgia Department of Labor has begun this process through its commitment to work with private partners such as WIN Learning, Inc. to build a world-class, prepared workforce which contributes to the economic prosperity of the State. WIN Learning’s Career-Driven Education model comprises a series of coordinated Web-based interventions that align education with the realities of the workplace. Included among its signature interventions is the exciting WIN Soft Skills Series®, which builds skills mastery around the behavioral, attitudinal, social, and readiness skills employers and post-secondary programs demand.