The recent How Kids Learn V conference in Berkeley and LA focused on Preparing Youth for Work and Career Success. We featured the Employability Skills Framework (below) and were quite pleased with how well it overlapped with social emotional skills and character building. Beyond the Bell at the American Institutes for Research (AIR) granted us permission to share this excerpt from their larger paper, in which the link between employability skills and SEL is described in detail.
"Although some researchers argue that schools are not doing enough to support the development of the necessary skills for workforce readiness, evidence suggests that we already know a lot about how to develop some of the employability skills outlined in the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE - U.S. Department of Education) framework—we may just be calling them something else.
School-day and afterschool programs across the country have been implementing what are called social and emotional learning (SEL) programs for years. These programs support the development of social and emotional competencies such as problem solving, critical thinking, interpersonal and intrapersonal skills, and social awareness through both explicit SEL instruction (this is more common in school-day settings) and broader SEL strategies and practices (this is more common in afterschool settings). Although not termed as such, the social and emotional skills that these programs target are also key employability skills. In fact, the framework developed by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) bears a strong resemblance to OCTAE’s Employability Skills Framework.
As these two frameworks illustrate, there is a great deal of connection between social and emotional competencies and employability skills. Although not identical, when you dig deeper into the two frameworks, the alignment is clear. For example:
Given these similarities, it makes sense that SEL programs that explicitly target the development of social and emotional competencies could also be considered workforce readiness programs or programs targeting the development of employability skills."
Sam Piha is the founder and principal of Temescal Associates, a consulting group dedicated to building the capacity of leaders and organizations in education and youth development.