Committee for Children Blog

The Growing Link Between SEL and Employability Skills

SEL, social emotional learning, workforce readiness, employability skills

Social-emotional skills have become a necessity in the 21st-century workplace, and Committee for Children has been steadfastly working to advance the connection between workplace need and workforce preparedness for some time. In the fall of 2016, we held a congressional briefing on the connection between social-emotional learning (SEL) and workforce preparedness. The briefing supported our successful campaign to include SEL as employability skills in the ongoing process of reauthorizing the Carl Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (see our white paper on SEL and employability skills). We’ve also published a Thought Leadership Gallery where business leaders articulated the need for SEL from their own distinct points of view.

Partly due to these and more of our advocacy efforts, the US Department of Labor and Department of Education have been in discussions to connect SEL and workforce preparedness more deeply (think apprenticeships). As we’ve connected with thought leaders on both the workforce preparer and the employer sides of the equation, we have derived an initial framework that we hope will further develop our efforts in this area.

  • For employers, we are exploring how they might prioritize SEL in their own workforce development—e.g., recruiting, hiring, retention, promotion, dismissal—and signal this value to the market. They can fund and promote the upstream work of preparing the future workforce, which leads to the related second part of the framework.
  • For those preparing the future workforce (i.e., schools and colleges, extracurricular providers and certification programs), we are exploring how they might infuse SEL into their programming—e.g., developing an SEL credential, credit, or badge; integrating SEL in existing programs/activities/curricula; and incentivizing those preparing for future work (i.e., students) to pursue and build their own SEL competencies.

With employers signaling demand for SEL while workforce preparers signal supply, this framework also works within the basic economic model of supply and demand—relevant to the discussion of employability skills.

Learn more about the importance of SEL and employability skills, how and why educators should teach these skills, and how Committee for Children continues to support positive change for children.

Contact Us

As always, if you’d like to work with us on these endeavors or have feedback or ideas for us, please connect with us.

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