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Empowering Adults to Thrive at Work

Posted on 11/01/2016

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A recent report from SRI Education and The Joyce Foundation, Empowering Adults to Thrive at Work: Personal Success Skills for 21st Century Jobs External link opens in new window or tab, discusses how evidence-based research provides guidance for promoting personal success skills for adults who are striving to build sustainable 21st-century careers.

As research shows, there are millions of unemployed and underemployed individuals in the United States. Empowering Adults maintains that to build a sustainable career in the 21st-century workforce, no matter the job or occupation, adults need not only academic, technical, and professional knowledge but also a broad set of personal success skills. It is these skills that will enable workers to deal with the challenges, relationships, transitions, and social systems that make up working life. Among these capacities, as identified by the report, are basic job readiness, self-directed learning, self-management, personal responsibility, effective communication, career management, and everyday problem solving. Through a coordinated, multifaceted system of education, workforce development, and social services, strengthening the personal success skills of individuals can provide them with “powerful levers for succeeding in the working world.”

This report (1) offers knowledge about the importance of personal work skills based on the conviction that adults can develop them; (2) charts a path through the research and practical knowledge regarding these skills; and (3) provides actionable steps for research, policy, and practice. It stresses the importance of a “growth mindset” that understands human ability as malleable and changeable while acknowledging that learning can be “challenging – requiring strong effort, by the learner, effective learning strategies, and support from others.”

Empowering Adults describes a framework that integrates “two holistic conceptualizations” of skills that promote personal success: foundational components and applied competencies. The report concludes with recommendations to “address barriers to providing effective and affordable support for the development of the personal success skills necessary to build sustainable careers.”

Source: OCTAE Connection, Issue 252 External link opens in new window or tab, September 22, 2016