Soft skills refer to a broad set of skills, competencies, behaviors, attitudes, and personal qualities that enable people to effectively navigate their environment, work well with others, and achieve goals. While soft skills is an important ingredient for success for everyone in the labor force, the list below primarily highlights specialized research and resources focused on the disability population.
1. Soft Skills to Pay the Bills: Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success: This curriculum, developed by ODEP focuses on teaching “soft” or workforce readiness skills to youth, including youth with disabilities. The curriculum focuses on six key skill areas: communication, enthusiasm/attitude, teamwork, networking, problem solving/critical thinking, and professionalism.
2. Helping Youth Develop Soft Skills for Job Success - Tips for Parents and Families: Publication by National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability discussing the importance of soft skills and offers strategies parents can use to help their child develop skills for employment services. This concise and well-written publication from 2011 was archived by National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials (NCRTM).
3. Key “Soft Skills” that Foster Youth Workforce Success: This more in-depth 56-page report published in June 2015 by Child Trends, Inc., highlights five critical skills most likely to increase success across all outcomes and which employers expect employees to have to be successful in the workforce.
4. Engaging Employers: A Guide for Disability and Workforce Development Service Providers: This March 2016 report (69 pages) authored by SRI Education is written for leaders in education, industry, and workforce development interested in empowering working age adults to build sustainable careers through strengthened personal success skills.