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Soft/Essential Skills

Closing the soft skills gap for today's economy

A Florida Soft Skills Credential is a viable solution aligned to employer demands.

The consequences of unemployment and underemployment can be long lasting and include reduced wages, decreased productivity, and shortened career opportunities. Nearly 20.9 million young adults are out of school and out of work as of July 2017 We must look to develop a skilled workforce that has both the hard and soft skills necessary to succeed in today's global economy. 

The Florida Soft Skills Assessment is a proctored assessment composed of questions measuring communicating effectively, conveying professionalism, promoting teamwork and collaboration, and critical thinking and problem solving. 

The questions in this subject area present situations that the learner might encounter at work and possible actions that could be used to deal with the situation. The assessment items require the learner to choose two answers for each question: the "best" and "worst" answers for handling each situation. 

The Importance of A Florida Soft Skills Credential

Employers benefit from having employees earn a Florida Soft Skills Credential in important ways such as reducing turnover, improving productivity, and maximizing on-the-job training. With the Florida Soft Skills Credential, employees are more likely to work in teams to achieve mutual goals and objectives, demonstrate willingness to work, show initiative, and display responsible behaviors at work including avoiding absenteeism and demonstrating promptness. 

In the 2018 Florida Skills Gap and Job Vacancy Study, commissioned by CareerSource Florida, Florida employers reported gaps in foundational 'soft skills' - including communication, reliability and time management, leadership, and problem-solving - twice as often as technical skills. A 2017 report from the Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers of America's leading companies, describes the 'skills gap' - and more specifically, the "lack of individuals with fundamental employability skills, such as the ability to use basic math, communicate effectively, read technical manuals, work successfully in teams and participate in complex problem-solving - as a "national crisis threatening our economic future." In a recent Association for Talent Development study, 87 percent of company executives reported that the 'skills gap' was adversely impacting company performance, including growth, customer services and service delivery. An Accenture analysis of 'skills gap' impacts suggests that "without change, the shrinking workforce and unreliable productivity growth rate could lead to a 9 percent decline in the standard of living in the United States by 2030." 

Research-Based Skills Assessment 

The Florida Soft Skills Assessment was developed based on the national Equipped for the Future (EFF) applied learning standards and the U.S. Department of Labor's work on SCANS and O'NET. Managers, workers, and supervisors from across industries identified the skills from the EFF Standards as critical for entry-level workers to succeed in today's workplace and global economy. The skills assessed in the Florida Soft Skills assessment include: active listening, read with understanding, use mathematics to solve problems, solve problems and make decisions, cooperate with others, resolve conflict and negotiate, observe critically, and take responsibility for learning. 

About Florida Ready to Work

In study after study, employers cite the lack of basic foundational employability and essential soft skills as primary barriers to business and economic growth. Florida Ready to Work is providing this in-demand training in partnership with school district, workforce system, state college, technical center, adult education, juvenile justice, correction, employer and other community-based partners statewide. Those who successfully complete the program earn the Florida Ready to Work Credential and/or the Florida Soft Skills Credential. Both credentials are signed by Governor Ron Desantis and recognized as a common measure of foundational skill readiness for most jobs across industry sectors. 

Did You Know?

Florida Ready to Work also provides online, self-paced training courseware to help learners and job seekers prepare for the Florida Soft Skills Assessment. The Florida Soft Skills Training aligns to the Florida Soft Skills Assessment making it a great resource for preparation or remediation. Contact us today and ask about bundling the Florida Soft Skills Assessment and the Florida Soft Skills Training to give your learners and job seekers the right tools for the job. 

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