Skip To Main Content

Essential Skills

Now, more than ever, strong essential skills are required to engage in an ever changing workplace. Employers are looking for resourceful and dependable people who can communicate, collaborate, think creatively and critically, and act with emotional intelligence. When our students enter the workforce having developed these skills, they will have many more opportunities in high wage, high growth jobs.

Essential Skills Poster, Rubrics, and Implementation

Through a partnership between the San Diego County Office of Education and the San Diego Workforce Partnership, the top essential skills appearing in local job postings were identified, and the following tools were developed to support educators in developing these skills through their courses. 

While we see many of these skills developed in the classroom, appearing in the disciplinary practices or being implemented in social and emotional learning programs, we encourage you to use tools like the ones below to model, evaluate and set goals around these skills.  

Creative and critical thinking, emotional intelligence, resourcefulness, communication, dependability, collaboration

Essential Skills Rubrics

Each of these one point rubrics can be used to build an understanding of the skill, and lead to self evaluation or mentorship evaluation that can be used to promote growth. 

Essential Skills Rubrics- PDF Version

Essential Skills Rubrics - Word Version

Essential Skills Rubrics - Google Docs Version

Essential Skills Posters

These posters are available in multiple formats and are a great resource to keep on the walls of your classroom or counseling center. 

Essential Skills Poster or Printout In English

Essential Skills and Priority Sector Posters In Arabic

Essential Skills and Priority Sector Posters In Farsi

Essential Skills and Priority Sector Posters In Spanish

Implementation Tools

Implementation Guide

Find ideas for implementation and alignment to the Standards for Career Ready Practice, CCSS and NGSS standards. 

Essential Skills Student Reflection

Use the student reflection tool to give students an opportunity to evaluate their skills, growth and goals associated with a project, product or portfolio piece. 


Engage your elementary students in understanding essential skills though these videos developed in collaboration between Chula Vista Elementary District and the San Diego Workforce Partnership!

Join our teacher training to learn more about how to incorporate these skills into your classroom.

Learn more about each Essential Skill

While technical skills are what you do at work, essential skills are how you do it. Employers value these skills in their employees— often as much as technical skills. Developing them and making sure employers understand your expertise will help you to get a job and advance your career

Essential Skills Teacher Training

This course is a train-the-trainer model which builds the capacity of district and site educators to develop essential skills in students. Using an asynchronous format, you can complete it at your own pace on your own schedule. We also provide you all of the resources referred to in the training, including slides, activities, worksheets, supplemental videos, and more. Sign up now! Its free.

  • Know what essential skills are and why they're important to employers and student career readiness.

  • Be able to implement a variety of activities and strategies with your students to help them develop essential skills.

  • Have access to SDCOE's Essential Skills Training materials and resources to use with your students.

Essential Skills Training graphic