Soft Skills to Pay the Bills

The US Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy released a comprehensive curriculum this year for youth workers, titled Soft Skills to Pay the Bills — Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success.

The course of study was designed for youth development professionals as a guide for teaching youth ages 14 to 21 interpersonal and professional skills in the workplace, as well as youth with disabilities. It can be utilized in both in-school and out-of-school youth programs, with absorbing, hands-on activities that cover six main professional skill areas: communication, enthusiasm and attitude, teamwork, networking, problem solving and critical thinking, and professionalism.

Each section contains several activities for youth to explore the concept at hand through games and group discussion before applying the skill to workplace scenarios with role play. Consistent journaling time also allows for individuals to reflect on their progress in each activity, and “Extension Activities” expand upon the skill by placing it in a larger social context.

Additional materials include social networking guidelines, further resources for youth with disabilities, and positive feedback from youth participants and facilitators around the country!

The free curriculum is available in PDF format or hard copy by order at: http://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/youth/softskills/.

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