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Incorporating Needed Soft Skills

In Career and Technical Education


Workforce Preparation

Daniel P. Izzi
EDCL 6388, Spring 2016
di1003@txstate.edu

Introduction
Our schools goal "Provide students the
knowledge and skills to pursue further
education or begin a career". Never
before in our educational history has this
goal been more relevant. When teaching
the skills required for students success in
higher education and the workforce, we
must identify the soft skills that are
considered a complement to hard skills,
which refer to a person's knowledge and
occupational skills. It is the soft skills that
will allow our graduates to not only enter
the workforce but remain. Our
commitment to students success needs
to encompass the whole student. All the
academic and technical skills in the world
will not alone provide students with the
keys needed to succeed in the workforce.

Is the campus truly challenging and


encouraging each student to achieve their
goals? The stakeholders are the potential
employers in the greater San Antonio area,
the technical schools, and the faculty and
staff of the Automotive Technology
Academy. The area of focus for this action
research involves looking at the past ten
years of success within the ATA student
graduates. Determine the number of
graduates employed in the automotive
industry. Survey current employers of both
former and practicum students to determine
if employers needs of student qualifications
are being met.
Potential Automotive Employers
based on business membership
7%
African American

28%
Hispanic

45%

Asian

Literature Review
Workforce needs in secondary and
post-secondary career and technical
education has changed dramatically
within the last few years. Theres a gap
between education training and
required workforce preparation.
Students need to receive training that
aligns with the needs of the workforce.
THE FOUNDATION-competence
requires:
Basic Skills-reading, writing,
arithmetic and mathematics,
speaking, and listening;
Thinking Skills-thinking creatively,
making decisions, solving problems,
seeing things in the mind's eye,
knowing how to learn, and reasoning;
Personal Qualities-individual
responsibility, self-esteem,
sociability, self-management, and
integrity.

3%

55%

58%

Leadership Platform and Self


Development Plan

Implementation of Action Plan

Data

SAADA
TIAA

More than 1 Race

4%
White non-Hispanic

Problem Statement

Currently the demand for CTE students to


obtain employment in the high technology
based career fields has left little emphasis on
the development of the needed soft skills as it
applies to workforce preparation. In September
of 2015 research data was collected indicating
the need for an improvement in the area of soft
skills being taught. In October of 2015 after
review of the data it was determined that a more
current needs assessment may need to be
conducted to identify weak areas in the training
of CTE students. We discussed the need to
evaluate the course curriculum to determine
where changes could be made to include more
soft skills into each lesson. It was agreed within
the Automotive Technology Academy we could
include a different soft skill in most lessons
each week. As the changes were made to
lesson plans the team met weekly to determine
what worked and what strategies needed to be
modified.
TIMELIINE

To: Improve workforce preparation of


secondary career and technical education
students to meet the ever changing needs of
employers.
In a way that: Conducts effective needs
assessments with industry to ensure effective
workforce preparation, and provide students
with experiential learning to enhance their soft
skills.

Teachers incorporating soft skills into all


weekly lessons
Follow up with practicum students on weekly
evaluations from employers
Advisory committee needs assessment
design and implementation
So that: Technical education students receive
training that aligns with the needs of the
workforce.

Activity

Person Responsible

Changing weekly lesson


plans to all soft skills in
each.

Teachers

Check lesson plans for


content.

Director

Evaluation of current
practicum students soft
skills

9/15

10/15

11/15

12/15

1/16

2/16

3/16

5/16

4/16

Employer / Practicum

Teacher Action Research


Team

Assessment of practicum
Teachers
student evaluation
Development needs
assessment

Advisory Committee members

Implementation of needs
assessment

Teachers

Classroom Assessments
of Students Soft Skills

Teachers

Annual Survey of former


students

Teacher/Director

Evaluation Findings
The survey data shows that all are related
soft skills however, the needs of the
employer falls into the everything other than
technical skills
Workforce Readiness Survey
5 5

5 5

5 5

5 5

5
4 4

5
4 4 4

5 5 5

5 5 5

4 4

5
4

5 5
4

5
4 4 4

5
4

4 4

5
4

5 5
4

4 4

4
3

Series1

Series2

Series3

5 5
4

5 5
4

5 5
4

Leadership Platform
Implement NATEF Certification for campus.
Monitor Curricula for alignment with
Community College Duel Credit courses.
Planned Staff Professional Development for
campus.
Facilitated campus research team on
incorporation of soft skills training in lesson
plans.

Self Development
Worked with mentor to improve
communication delivery skills with faculty
and staff.
Reflections.
Received verbal feedback form faculty and
staff.

References
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What Advisors Need to Know. Journal of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Education,
Volume 40, page 21. Combs, J. Edmonson, S. Sherion, H. (2009). Burnout among
Elementary School Principals.
AASA Journal of Scholarship &Practice. V5 n4, page 10.
Irlbeck, E. G. Akers, C. (2009). EMPLOYERS PERCEPTIONS OF RECENT
AGRIGULTURAL COMMUNICATIONS GRADUATES WORKPLACE HABITS
AND COMMUNICATION SKILLS. Journal of Agricultural Education, Volume 50,
page 67. http://eric.ed.gov.libproxy.txstate.edu/?id=EJ871225
Kubik, G. (2008). THE ROLE OF LEAPFROGGING IN THE FUTURE OF YOUTH WORK
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Education and Policy, page 671.
Rojewski, J.W. Hill, R.B. (2014). Positioning Research and Practice in Career and Technical
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And Technical Education Research, 39(2), pages. 137-138. DOI: 10.5328/cter39.2.137
Rosenberg, S. Heimler, R. Morote, E-S. (2011). Basic employability skills: a triangular design
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Computer Applications in Engineering Education, page 429. DOI: 10.1002/cae.20211
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http://eric.ed.gov.libproxy.txstate.edu/?id=EJ905141
Texas House Bill 5 Resources. (2013) Texas Association of School Administrators, HB-5
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Texas Workforce Commission Report on Texas Growth Occupations. (2013) Texas Growth
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http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/elementary-middle-and-high-school-principals.htm
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SECRETARYS COMMISSION ON ACHIEVING NECESSARY SKILLS, WHAT
WORK REQUIRES OF SCHOOLS A SCANS REPORT FOR AMERICA 2000,
http://wdr.doleta.gov/SCANS/whatwork/whatwork.pdf