Vocational Education

What skills do employers value most in the work place? In a national survey (Conference Board, 2006), hundreds of employers from a range of industries were given the list below and asked: ”“what are the ‘top 5’ skills for high school graduates?”

What ‘top 5’ skills would you choose?

Basic Knowledge/Skills
  1. English Language (spoken)
  2. Reading Comprehension(in English)
  3. Writing in English (grammar, spelling, etc.)
  4. Mathematics
  5. Science
  6. Government/Economics
  7. Humanities/Arts
  8. Foreign Languages
  9. History/Geography
Applied Skills
  1. Critical Thinking/Problem Solving
  2. Oral Communications
  3. Written Communications
  4. Teamwork Collaboration
  5. Diversity
  6. Information Technology Application
  7. Leadership
  8. Creativity/Innovation
  9. Lifelong Learning/Self Direction
  10. Professionalism/Work Ethic
  11. Ethics/Social Responsibility

Resoundingly, employers chose applied skills over basic knowledge/skills. The top 5 skills for high school graduates were: 1) professionalism/work ethic, 2) teamwork collaboration, 3) oral communications, 4) ethics/social responsibility, and 5) reading comprehension in English.

To reinforce these skills and workforce readiness, many schools and out-of-school programs use School-Connect to help students develop and practice effective communication, self-management, and collaborative problem solving. Students can also research careers of interest and design the educational path necessary for reaching their long-term goals.

From: Are They Really Ready to Work? Employers' Perspectives on the Basic Knowledge and Applied Skills for New Entrants to the 21st Century U.S. Workforce. (2006) Available at www.conference-board.org

What Teachers are Saying...

“School-Connect has been great! We have incorporated the curriculum in to our Jobs for America's Graduates course. The students are responding very well! I think we all enjoy the hands on videos and the opportunity to spend time together. 90% of our course work is an online curriculum so I think the student truly enjoy engaging with each other.”

Tips for a Successful Learning to Work Seminar:

  • Provide School-Connect training for seminar teachers.
  • At a minimum, have seminar meet twice a week if session is 20-30 minutes long and once a week if session is 45-50 minutes long.
  • Keep classes small: 10-20 students.
  • Adjust role plays and activities to workplace applications.
  • Keep internship employers informed about School-Connect skills.
  • Have students present a culminating project and/or write an essay about SEL skills they applied in their internship.