Author: Laura H. Lippman, Renee Ryberg, Rachel Carney, Kristin A. Moore
Year: 2015
Agency: USAID
Full Citation: Lippman, L. H., Ryberg, R., Carney, R., & Moore, K. A. (2015). Workforce connections: Key “soft skills” that foster youth workforce success: toward a consensus across fields. Washington, DC: Child Trends. Retrieved from:
Target Population(s): ,
Overview: Soft skills” are centrally important for human capital development and workforce success. Unfortunately, there is not a clear consensus about which soft skills are most critical for workforce success. This white paper helps bring clarity to the field by recommending a research-based set of key soft skills that increase the chances that youth ages 15–29 will be successful in the workforce.
Methodology: These recommendations emerge from a multi-faceted study that includes an extensive review of research as well as broad stakeholder input. The authors of this report reviewed more than 380 resources from around the world, including rigorous empirical studies, employer studies, and findings of international consensus projects. In addition to the literature review, stakeholders, including researchers, youth workforce program implementers, employers, and youth themselves provided input on the importance of these skills based on their unique experiences.
Findings: There are five critical skills most likely to increase odds of success across all outcomes and which employers expect employees to have: social skills ; communication; and higher-order thinking skills (including problem solving, critical thinking, and decision-making); supported by the intrapersonal skills of self-control and positive self-concept.

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