Skip to main content

 Partnership Aims to Build Essential Skills in Students

The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) and the Workforce Partnership have teamed up to create a new set of rubrics aligned with the six essential skills that employers are looking for in new hires, giving students an opportunity to develop these skills early.

Employers across the county often point to these skills as more important than technical abilities when they're considering who to hire.

"Come in with a positive attitude. I tend to overlook technical skills," one employer said. "I can teach those. More non-technical [skills] are required,"

The new rubrics focus on six essential skills: emotional intelligence, communication, creative and critical thinking, collaboration, dependability, and resourcefulness.

Educators in K-12 schools, colleges, and professional training programs can use these rubrics at any grade level, and career counselors can use them to promote self-awareness in job seekers. 

"While we often see these essential skills in practice in education, these rubrics ensure we model the criteria that make up the essential skills and give students a chance to evaluate and set goals for growth," said Jewyl Clarke, integrated curriculum coordinator with SDCOE. "Developing these skills early sets students up for success in the workplace."

For K-12 students, the Workforce Partnership and SDCOE are launching the Essential Skills Showcase, a digital event in January to showcase student work aligned to the essential skills. Educators are encouraged to engage their students in building meaningful products, projects, or portfolios. Students who are interested can then submit their work to be included in this regional showcase through Dec. 18.

You can also join the essential skills session at the Go Virtual! Career Pathways Conference, which will be hosted by SDCOE Oct. 14 and 15. The Essential Skills for Career Success breakout session is open to the general public at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

These skills are gained through practice over time, something a business often cannot wait for. They also apply across all sectors and impact students at every phase of their learning and career. 

Access the rubrics and implementation guide and read more about the Essential Skills Showcase at