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Key “Soft Skills” that Foster Youth Workforce Success: Toward a Consensus across Fields.

Publication Year: 
Personal Author: 
Lippman, Laura.
Ryberg, Renee.
Carney, Rachel.
Moore, Kristin Anderson.
Corporate Author: 
Child Trends.
Technical Report
Page Count: 

This report discusses findings from a study that reviewed 172 resources from around the world to examine the relationship between soft skills and key workforce outcomes, including employment, performance on the job, wages, and entrepreneurial success. In addition to the literature review, stakeholders, including researchers, youth workforce program implementers, employers, and youth provided input on the importance of these skills based on their unique experiences. Results indicate there are five critical skills most likely to increase odds of success across all outcomes and which employers expect employees to have: social skills; communication; and higher-order thinking skills (including problem solving, critical thinking, and decision-making); supported by the intrapersonal skills of self-control and positive self-concept. Hard work and dependability, responsibility, and self-motivation are also highly valued by employers and supported by a strong base of research evidence, placing them in the top ten supported skills. Implications for youth workforce development and training programs, secondary and tertiary education, nonformal education and civic engagement, youth policy, and positive youth development are discussed, as well as recommended future areas of research. Numerous references.

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