21st Century Skills Vital for Future Workforce
A trio of recent reports has concluded that such skills as communication, conflict resolution, critical thinking, goal setting, listening, and teamwork—all of which are central to the new SECOND STEP middle school program—are essential for young people entering the job market.
The Gates Foundation, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and the National Association of Colleges and Employers all identified social and emotional skills as critical to success in college and the workplace.
The SECOND STEP Program Can Help
With its emphasis on empathy, teamwork, emotion management, problem solving, and goal setting, the SECOND STEP program can help students gain the skills described in these reports before they enter high school, and subsequently the workforce.
“Social competence emerges as the most visible quality needed for success across all fields,” the Gates Foundation-funded report by Child Trends said. It identified social competence and avoiding risky behaviors, two of the pillars of the new middle school program, as criteria that colleges and employers use to define young applicants’ competence.
Teaching students a wide range of 21st century skills—including critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and self-direction—is important to our country’s future economic success, according to a results of a survey of 800 voters conducted for the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, a consortium of business, nonprofit, and government organizations.
And the respondents to a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers agreed that students need a “strong work ethic” and communication skills if they are to be successful in the workplace. In addition, interpersonal and problem solving skills—both emphasized in the SECOND STEP program—received high ratings from employers.
Reprinted with the permission of the Committee for Children. © 2007 Committee for Children.
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