Workforce Readiness

Research References

Guiding the Path: Identified Skills for Educating the Next Generation of Workers

Research shows that adolescents transitioning to adulthood are eager to enter the workforce and begin their careers, but many will be underprepared for the types of responsibilities that their new positions will entail. Subjectively identifying the skills that current workers believe will be necessary for future job success provides insight into how school curriculum may adapt to the changing economy and better support their students. This study explores the viewpoints of workers and the skills that they will need to take the next steps in their careers.

Brown, W. (2019). Guiding the Path: Identified Skills for Educating the Next Generation of Workers. Journal of Education for Business, 94(6), 400–407.

Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/08832323.2018.1541854

The Importance of Behavioral Skills and Navigation Factors for Education and Work Success

Over the past decade, there has been greater recognition by educators, employers, and policymakers of the importance of behavioral skills and navigation factors (e.g., dependability, cooperation, interests, and goals) for education and career success. A growing body of research shows that these factors contribute to diverse positive outcomes in both education and workforce settings. This report focuses on behavioral skills and navigation factors (drawn from the ACT Holistic Framework) that elementary, middle, and high school teachers, college instructors, and workforce supervisors consider important for success.

Eichert, D. M., Latino, C. A., Bobek, B. L., Way, J., & Casillas, A. (2017). The Importance of Behavioral Skills and Navigation Factors for Education and Work Success. Iowa City, IA: ACT, Inc.

Retrieved from https://https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED583586.pdf/doi/full/10.1086/702731

Beyond the Skills Gap: Preparing College Students for Life and Work

How can educators ensure that young people who attain a postsecondary credential are adequately prepared for the future? Matthew T. Hora and his colleagues explain that the answer is not simply that students need more specialized technical training to meet narrowly defined employment opportunities. Drawing on interviews with educators in two- and four-year institutions and employers in the manufacturing and biotechnology sectors, the authors demonstrate the critical importance of habits of mind such as problem solving, teamwork, and communication. They go on to show how faculty and program administrators can create active learning experiences that develop students skills across a range of domains.

Hora, M. T. (2016). Beyond the Skills Gap: Preparing College Students for Life and Work. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

Retrieved from https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Skills-Gap-Preparing-Students/dp/1612509878

Key "Soft Skills" that Foster Workforce Success: Toward a Consensus Across Fields

This report helps bring clarity to the field by recommending a research-based set of key soft skills that increase the chance that youth ages 15–29 will be successful in the workforce. These recommendations emerge from a multi-faceted study that includes an extensive review of research as well as broad stakeholder input. The authors of this report reviewed more than 380 resources from around the world, including rigorous empirical studies, employer studies, and findings of international consensus projects. These resources examined the relationship between soft skills and key workforce outcomes, including employment, performance on the job, wages, and entrepreneurial success.

Lippman, L. H., Ryberg, R., Carney, R., & Moore, K. A. (2015). Key “Soft Skills” that Foster Workforce Success: Toward a Consensus Across Fields. Child Trends.

Retrieved from https://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/2015-24WFCSoftSkills1.pdf

Relationships Come First: How Four Career Development and Workforce Readiness Programs Prepare Young People for Work and Life

The Center for Promise researchers visited four programs across the country to find out what role relationships play in fostering workforce development and career readiness among “risk-immersed” youth. The Center researched how these programs meet the wide-ranging needs of young people they serve while preparing them for careers. This report provides a summary of several bodies of literature that have shaped career development interventions for young people, describes each career development and workforce readiness program in more detail, and shares findings and common themes that emerged across program sites. 

Jones, E. P., Flanagan, S., Zaff, J. F., McClay, C., Hynes, M., & Cole, M. (2016). Relationships Come First: How Four Career Development and Workforce Readiness Programs Prepare Young People for Work and Life. Washington, D.C.: America’s Promise Alliance.

Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED572714.pdf

Odyssey of the Mind: Using a Creative Problem-Solving Competition to Promote Career Readiness in Elementary School

The career landscape has changed dramatically over the past two decades with the adoption of technology and an increasingly global and virtual workforce. As a result, schools and academic institutions must go beyond current curriculum to teach and develop the new skills and competencies that are required to keep pace with the demands of careers in the 21st century. This article examines the adoption of the Odyssey of the Mind program–a competitive creative problem-solving model–as a way to teach, develop, and demonstrate social emotional intelligence and other related soft skills that are necessary to master for current and future career success.

Wasik, S. Z., & Barrow, J. (2017). Odyssey of the Mind: Using a Creative Problem-Solving Competition to Promote Career Readiness in Elementary School. Journal of Education, 197(3), 46–50.

Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0022057418782335

Additional Research References:

  • Bausmith, J. M., & Barry, C. (2011). Revisiting Professional Learning Communities to Increase College Readiness The Importance of Pedagogical Content Knowledge. Educational Researcher, 40(4), 175–178. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X11409927
  • O’Neil, H. F. (2014). Workforce Readiness: Competencies and Assessment. Psychology Press.
  • Solberg, V. S., Phelps, L. A., Haakenson, K. A., Durham, J. F., & Timmons, J. (2012). The Nature and Use of Individualized Learning Plans as a Promising Career Intervention Strategy. Journal of Career Development, 39(6), 500–514.

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