School-to-Work is an effort to achieve better workforce preparedness for
studentsall with a view toward America being better able to compete in
a global economy. It's also an effort by educators to provide a career pathway
for studentsa bridge that leads from the relative shelter of the often
theoretical classroom to the often harsh and competitive world of work.
School-to-Work is a career pathway for all studentsthose who are college
bound and those who are not.
In June 1991, the Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS)
(U.S. Department of Labor) released a report called "What Work Requires of Schools:
A SCANS Report for America 2000." In this report, employers stated the need that
businesses have for honest, loyal employees who have already internalized concepts
such as positive work ethic. Employers are increasingly demanding these qualities
in potential employees as well as technical and academic skills. In fact, it's much
easier for employers to teach new employees the technical aspects of a job than it
is to teach them honesty and integrity.
The SCANS report states clearly to educators what competencies workers need to
operate effectively in the modern workplace. This report leaves little question
about what conditions employees need to operate within and what skills they will
need to have and use.
The SCANS report suggested that effective individuals can productively use the
five competencies of resources, interpersonal skills, information, systems, and
The SCANS report also pointed to three "foundation skills" that competent
individuals in the high-performance workplace need to have: basic skills, thinking
skills, and personal qualities.
- Resources: Identifies, organizes, plans, and allocates resources.
- TimeSelects goal-relevant activities and ranks them; allocates
time; prepares and follows schedules.
- MoneyUses or prepares budgets; makes forecasts; keeps records;
makes adjustments to meet objectives.
- Material and FacilitiesAcquires, stores, allocates, and uses
materials or space efficiently.
- Human ResourcesAssesses skills and distributes work accordingly;
evaluates performance and provides feedback.
- Interpersonal: Works with others.
- Participates as a Member of a TeamContributes to group efforts.
- Teaches Others New Skills.
- Serves Clients/CustomersWorks to satisfy customers' expectations.
- Exercises LeadershipCommunicates ideas to justify position;
persuades and convinces others; responsibly challenges existing
procedures and policies.
- NegotiatesWorks toward agreements involving the exchange of
resources; resolves divergent interests.
- Works With DiversityWorks well with men and women from diverse
- Information: Acquires and uses information.
- Acquires and Evaluates Information.
- Organizes and Maintains Information.
- Interprets and Communicates Information.
- Uses Computers to Process Information.
- Systems: Understands complex inter-relationships.
- Understands SystemsKnows how social, organizational, and
technological systems work and operates effectively with them.
- Monitors and Corrects PerformanceDistinguishes trends;
predicts impacts on system operations; diagnoses deviations in
systems' performance and corrects malfunctions.
- Improves or Designs SystemsSuggests modifications to existing
systems and develops new or alternative systems to improve performance.
- Technology: Works with a variety of technologies.
- Selects TechnologyChooses procedures, tools, or equipment,
including computers and other technologies.
- Applies Technology to TaskUnderstands the overall intent and
proper procedures for the setup and operation of equipment.
- Maintains and Troubleshoots EquipmentPrevents, identifies, or
solves problems with equipment, including computers and other
A Three-Part Foundation for Future Members of the Workforce
- Basic Skills: Reads, writes, performs arithmetic and mathematical
operations, listens, and speaks.
- ReadingLocates, understands, and interprets written
information in prose and in documents such as manuals,
graphs, and schedules.
- WritingCommunicates thoughts, ideas, information, and
messages in writing; creates documents such as letters,
directions, manuals, reports, graphs, and flow charts.
- Arithmetic/MathematicsPerforms basic computations and
approaches practical problems by choosing appropriately from
a variety of mathematical techniques.
- ListeningReceives, attends to, interprets, and responds
to verbal messages and other cues.
- SpeakingOrganizes ideas and communicates orally.
- Thinking Skills: Thinks creatively, makes decisions, solves
problems, visualizes, knows how to learn, and reasons.
- Creative ThinkingGenerates new ideas.
- Decision MakingSpecifies goals and constraints; generates
alternatives; considers risks; evaluates and chooses the best
- Problem SolvingRecognizes problems and devises and
implements a plan of action.
- Seeing Things in the Mind's EyeOrganizes and processes
symbols, pictures, graphs, objects, and other information.
- Knowing How to LearnUses efficient learning techniques
to acquire and apply new knowledge and skills.
- ReasoningDiscovers a rule or principle underlying the
relationship between two or more objects and applies it in
solving a problem.
- Personal Qualities: Displays responsibility, self-esteem,
sociability, self-management, and integrity and honesty.
- ResponsibilityExerts a high level of effort and perseveres
toward goal attainment.
- Self-EsteemBelieves in own self-worth and maintains a
positive view of self.
- SociabilityDemonstrates understanding, friendliness,
adaptability, empathy, and politeness in group settings.
- Self-ManagementAssesses self accurately; sets personal
goals; monitors progress; exhibits self-control.
- Integrity/HonestyChooses ethical courses of action.
Learning for Life and SCANS
Learning for Life can be a valuable enhancement to schools that helps students
acquire and internalize these competencies and foundation skills outlined in the
Learning for Life in this way makes a real contribution to preparing students
for the world of work. Schools will find the Learning for Life curricular material
extremely helpful in implementing a comprehensive School-to-Careers system for
students, particularly in the area of "soft skills," such as integrity, honesty,
and responsibilityskills that are no less valuable than computer skills or
other "hard skills" in the workplace.
The following material will help relate the Learning for Life lesson plans and
workshops to specific SCANS competencies and foundation skills, thereby making
Learning for Life more desirable for schools to use in their School-to-Work plans,
from kindergarten through grade 12, and beyond.
Copyright © 2005 ·
Learning for Life