Driving Students Towards Work Readiness

The job market is changing and employers are demanding different sets of skills. How do you make sure your students are ready for it?

Greetings! My name is Bill and I’m the director of adult education and workforce development solutions here at Wonderlic. Today we’re going to talk about what it means to be work ready, and I’ll share with you some resources you can use to implement a work-readiness curriculum.

Did you know an estimated 40% of America’s skilled manufacturing workforce will retire in the next 5 years? However, we cannot look exclusively to high schools to replace all of these retiring craftspeople--the largest number of trained and qualified replacement workers is expected to come from the adult population.

The term “college- and career-ready” is center stage in adult education and workforce development discussions today. College readiness is defined as having the knowledge, skills, and abilities—the KSAs-- to succeed in entry-level, credit bearing academic courses without benefit of developmental education coursework.

But what do we mean when we define a person as “work ready?”

Simply stated, work readiness is the mastery of a set of skills including world-of-work awareness, labor market knowledge, occupational information, ethics and values, clarification and personal understanding, career planning and decision making, and job search techniques. It encompasses

  • survival and daily living skills, such as time and resource management
  • positive work habits, attitudes, and behaviors to include punctuality and regular attendance, getting along with others, following instructions and completing tasks, and accepting constructive criticism; and
  • motivation and adaptability in coping and applying problem-solving skills while acquiring an improved self image.

How can you begin moving your students toward work readiness? Several frameworks exist to guide you in implementing a work-readiness curriculum.

The first one to check out is O*NET, the nation’s primary source of information on prerequisite occupational skills. O*NET Online has detailed descriptions of worker skill requirements and characteristics, experience and occupational requirements, and occupation characteristics.

Another reference tool to guide you in developing and refining a work-ready curriculum is the Equipped for the Future model. Equipped for the Future outlines the KSAs new workers in entry level jobs need in regards to communication skills, interpersonal skills, decision-making skills, and lifelong learning skills.

Still another, the SCANS Commission report titled What Work Requires of Schools, defines basic workplace competencies: resources management, information management, social interaction, system behavior and performance, human and technology interaction, and affective skills, all built on a three part foundation of basic skills, thinking skills, and personal qualities.

I encourage you to dig into these resources and start putting a curriculum together that will help your students become work ready. The jobs will be waiting for them!

Thank you for spending a few minutes with me today. It is my hope that you’ve found this video helpful. Be sure to visit our blog for more videos and helpful articles, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for news and information on workplace and human resource issues, student achievement, and more!

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