WSS completes another busy year! In 2017, we added a wide range of resources to our online resource library, covering topics such as career pathways, re-entry initiatives, self-employment training programs, and more. Highlighted in this announcement are the three resource profiles with the most online views on WSS in 2017. As you continue to visit the collection, look forward to seeing more focused announcements that highlight evidence-based research and emerging practices in 2018!

Key “Soft Skills” that Foster Youth Workforce Success: Toward a Consensus across Fields. 2015. This report reviews existing research and input from stakeholders, such as employers and workforce professionals, to identify the soft skills that are most critical for workforce success of youth ages 15 to 29. The authors identify social skills, communication skills, high-order thinking, self-control, and positive self-concept as the key skills that help youth succeed in the workforce. The report provides five priority areas for future research that may enhance stakeholders’ understanding of the role soft skills play in workforce success. One area suggests that future research examine “how soft skills, independently and together, relate to academic and technical skills, and how they might be integrated into general and technical education.”            


Portable, Stackable Credentials: A New Education Model for Industry-Specific Career Pathways. 2012. This paper examines career pathways – within the U.S. and in other countries – as a model for meeting the needs of the labor market, as well as the individual worker. The report suggests that “at the core of a [well-design career pathways] system are portable and stackable credentials that enable students of all ages to build careers with family-sustaining, middle class incomes.” The report describes career pathways strategies around the world, as well as several promising examples within the US. One such example is Pathways in Technology Early College High School in New York City, which “offers skills-based career preparation in the IT field to students in grades nine through a two-year post-secondary program, adding the powerful component of industry involvement.” The paper closes with recommendations for developing more coordinated career pathways systems.


Career Pathways Toolkit: Six Key Elements for Success. 2011. This toolkit “offers a clear and user-friendly road map for administrators, service providers, practitioners, and policy makers seeking to develop career pathway systems at local, regional, and/or state levels.” Specifically, the toolkit outlines the Six Key Elements of Career Pathways, which were developed by federal agency representatives, subject matter experts, and the eleven grantees involved in the Career Pathways Initiative (2009-2010). The toolkit includes promising practices to help guide local and state teams through the key steps necessary for developing a comprehensive career pathways system.