NEWS-PRESS: Listen up: Program to help job seekers who lack skills

Some people call them foundational skills. Others call them soft skills.

These skills include listening, critical thinking and holding a professional conversation as well as working effectively in a team, valuing a strong work ethic and building relationships.

Whatever you call these skills, career experts and employers say they are lacking in many of today’s job applicants

These skills are so important that a team from the FutureMakers Coalition, which strives to transform the region’s workforce, is working to develop a curriculum to strengthen them.

The intent is to pilot a program with college students at Florida SouthWestern State College, then roll it out to others.

To make this happen, it has opened a request for proposals, which the team will evaluate.

The program seeks to increase the skills and employability of the region’s high school and college students, as well as the existing workforce. At the same time, it wants to encourage employers to value students through an improved assessment of their skills.

“In addition to the classroom instruction on foundational skills, an employer pool will be created,” said Tessa LeSage, director of social innovation and sustainability for the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the backbone organization for the FutureMakers Coalition. “The employer pool will participate in interview workshops.”…

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