The skills individuals and companies need to succeed in business typically are divided into two categories: “hard skills” – the technical expertise required to do the job – and “soft skills” – the ability to work with others, communicate well, arrive on time, pitch an idea, dress appropriately. Historically, hard skills largely ruled, although there are plenty of instances when a person with brilliant hard skills was fired for lack of soft skills, including Steve Jobs, who co-founded Apple.
Today there is a cartwheel of change concerning job skills. Not only are soft skills now increasingly valued, their importance rivals or exceeds those of hard skills in many surveys and reports of business executives. This constellation of skills even has name upgrade – now often called “employability skills” or “essential skills.”
This new thinking is reflected in the first update to the nation’s core workforce training program since passage of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) in 1998. The new law – the 2014 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) – seeks to improve connections between employment, training, adult education and vocational rehabilitation programs.
It requires states to strategically align workforce development programs and submit a four-year strategy for preparing an educated and skilled workforce and meeting the workforce needs of employers. The legislation attempts to remove lines between counties and programs by encouraging states to form regions that make sense economically.
This is good news for business, and it comes none too soon.
Back in 1998 a report, “Ready for Work: Essential Skills for Kentucky Jobs,” addressed the importance of essential skills.
“Basic academic skills were assigned a high value in studies or surveys (of employers). … Ranked on an equal or near-equal level were those attributes that have come to be known as employability skills – teamwork, communication, problem solving, and the like. Indeed, knowing how to learn, being willing to learn, and showing evidence of having a desire to work emerge repeatedly as fundamental requirements of the modern workplace.”
Read the full article on the Lane Report.com