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October 12, 2020

girl with notebook and pencil in front of tablet 

Time and time again employers from all over San Diego County, of every size and from every industry, tell us one thing:  they struggle to find employees with essential skills for workplace success.

  • “Come in with a positive attitude. I tend to overlook technical skills. I can teach those. More non-technical [skills] are required.”

  • “[Employees] that I hire for front of the house have a great smile and know how to hold a conversation. Those are skills I cannot teach.” 

  • “Word is easy to learn, Excel is teachable. It is just attention to detail that really can’t be taught in class.” 

thumbnail of essential skills rubrics PDFThis challenge is exacerbated by the fact that these skills are gained through practice over time, something a business often cannot wait for.

In response, the San Diego Workforce Partnership has partnered with the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) to make sure people have opportunities to practice and develop these skills early. 

The latest tool is a set of rubrics aligned with the six essential skills—emotional intelligence, communication, creative & critical thinking, collaboration, dependability and resourcefulness. It is crucial to model, evaluate and set goals around essential skills to support career readiness, growth and advancement. Essential skills apply across all sectors and impact students at every phase of their learning and into a career. 

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. 

On Wednesday, October 14, educators are invited to a session discussing how these rubrics can be put into action.

For K-12 students, the Workforce Partnership and SDCOE are launching the Essential Skills Showcase, a digital event to showcase student work aligned to the essential skills. We encourage educators to engage their students in building meaningful products, projects or portfolios, and having students reflect on their growth in one of the essential skills along the way. Students who are interested can then submit their work to be included in this regional showcase as an Essential Skills Student Leader between now and December 18, with the showcase happening in January.  

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