Soft Skills

Soft skills are the skills, traits, work habits, and attitudes that all workers across all occupations need in order to obtain, maintain, and progress in employment. These include being dependable, punctual, adaptable, positive toward work, and appropriately dressed/groomed. Soft skills also refer to such attributes as the ability to get along with others, work in teams, attend to tasks, work independently, and take initiative. Soft skills help youth succeed not only in employment but also in postsecondary education/training and social situations. The following information describes soft skills in more detail and provides guidance on how to develop these important skills.

Ayudando a los jóvenes a Desarrollar Habilidades Sociales para tener Éxito en el Trabajo: Consejos para los Padres y las Familias

Este breve informativo trata la importancia de las habilidades sociales y ofrece estrategias que los padres pueden usar para ayudar a sus hijos a desarrollar habilidades para el éxito en el trabajo.

Developing Financial Capability Among Youth: How Families Can Help

Developing financial capability is an important part of preparing youth for the transition to adulthood. Families are one of the most significant influences on young people’s financial knowledge and attitudes. This brief for families provides suggestions and resources on how to talk with youth about money and assist them to learn and practice financial management skills through their interactions at home. 

Engaging Youth in Work Experiences: An Innovative Strategies Practice Brief

This Innovative Strategies Practice Brief provides practical examples and resources used by promising and exemplary youth programs to engage youth in work experiences. Work experiences are both paid and unpaid opportunities to work and practice career readiness skills. The work experiences described in this brief include internships, summer jobs, youth-run businesses/entrepreneurship, service projects and volunteer work, and part-time jobs. The youth programs featured in this brief have been recognized by NCWD/Youth as Innovative Strategies.

Helping Youth Build Work Skills for Job Success: Tips for Parents and Families

This InfoBrief addresses the need for youth to acquire work skills and offers strategies parents and families can use to work with their youth to develop skills that lead to success on the job. This InfoBrief also includes information on how to incorporate work skill development into school documents, such as the Individualized Education Program and the Summary of Performance.

Helping Youth Develop Soft Skills for Job Success (Podcast)

This podcast series provides ideas for parents and families on activities they can do at home and include in their child's Individualized Education Program (IEP) to ensure he or she develops skills needed for job success by the time he or she completes high school.

Helping Youth Develop Soft Skills for Job Success: Tips for Parents and Families

This InfoBrief discusses the importance of soft skills and offers strategies parents and families can use to help their child develop skills for employment success.

Helping Youth with Learning Disabilities Chart the Course: A Guide for Youth Service Professionals

This InfoBrief describes challenges faced by youth and young adults with learning disabilities as they reach adulthood, while highlighting strategies youth service professionals can implement to help youth to transition successfully into the workplace.

Skills to Pay the Bills: Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success

This curriculum developed by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) focuses on teaching “soft” or workforce readiness skills to youth, including youth with disabilities. The curriculum was created for youth development professionals to use with youth ages 14 to 21 in both in‐school and out‐of‐school environments as an introduction to workplace interpersonal and professional skills.

Taking Charge of Your Money: An Introduction to Financial Capability

Developing financial capability, the capacity, based on knowledge, skills, and access, to manage financial resources effectively, is an important part of becoming an adult. This brief provides a starting point for youth to learn about and develop financial capability so that they can make smart decisions about managing money now and in the future. 

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