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Workplace Skills

Skills for Careers, Skills for Life

COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY

Deliver and receive a message with clarity to reach mutual understanding. 

THINK CRITICALLY

Use logical reasoning to achieve a conclusion or outcome. 

CONNECT INTENTIONALLY

Connect prior knowledge, skills, and experiences to current circumstances in order to build relationships and promote success in the workplace. 

Why the Change? Why Now?

SACS-COC has a standard that requires that all of our associate’s degree graduates acquire something called “general education outcomes” which are set of universal, transferable skills independent of a student’s particular major. These are skills that are infused throughout a student’s college experience beyond the 15 credits of general education courses they generally take from the Arts & Sciences Division, such as English and math. As a college we get to choose what those specific skills are and we measure how well our students achieve them and report that assessment data to SACS.   

Since 2016, we chose to call those outcomes “21st Century Skills” and they included the following six skills: written communication, oral communication, collaboration, digital literacy, problem-solving, and integrative learning. There was a 21st Century Skills committee that worked to help faculty embed these skills into their courses and assess how well students were achieving them. However, this work was put on hold when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and the College needed to shift its attention to responding to the crisis. 

As we began to emerge from the pandemic crisis, we knew we had to restart embedding and assessing these skills. However, through the 21st Century Skills committee’s work, including a campus-wide listening tour with faculty, we learned that embedding these skills into the curriculum was an overly cumbersome task and we could do better. Meanwhile, through our discussions with business and industry partners, we learned more about what skills our local employers were looking for in our graduates. A project team, with broad-based faculty and staff input, began the work of streamlining these skills to make them both easier to embed and assess and to better meet the needs of our community.

Workplace Skills and the Student Experience 

Workplace Skills are one of several building blocks that prepare students for the workplace – either right away in a career or technical field, or once they graduate from a senior institution.  This diagram, which we adapted from the US Department of Labor, illustrates all of the building blocks and where Workplace Skills fits into the entire TCTC learning experience. 

Magnet WPS Communication 02

While we hope that students come in ready with the Foundational Skills they need for the college experience, we recognize that they often don’t and we provide a number of interventions to help, such as College Skills course, Skillshops, and more. The Collegiate Skills represent the general education courses students enrolled in associate degree programs take in English, math, science, social sciences, and the humanities that help students become well-rounded, educated individuals ready for a lifetime of engagement in their communities, further education, and careers. The Technical Skills are those skills they gain in their program of study, or major – everything from computer programming to medical assisting. The Workplace Skills, then, provide universal, transferable skills needed by everyone to be effective in the modern workplace, no matter what position they hold or what sector they work in. These are skills that employers routinely seek and that help employees progress in their careers over time.