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Career Readiness | Employability Skills

5 Best Workplace Readiness Skills Lesson Plans

November 17th, 2021 | 6 min. read

Bri Stauffer

Bri Stauffer

For nearly 10 years, Bri has focused on creating content to address the questions and concerns educators have about teaching classes, preparing students for certifications, and making the most of the iCEV curriculum system.

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Every year we hear the same challenge from hundreds of middle and high school teachers.

States now have standards for workplace readiness education.

But even though more schools offer workplace readiness courses than ever before, it’s hard to find resources. You need lesson plans, projects, and other resources to teach workplace readiness skills!

The five best places to find workplace readiness skills lesson plans are:

  1. United States Department of Labor
  2. Teachers Pay Teachers
  3. WeAreTeachers
  4. California Career Resource Network
  5. CareerOneStop

In this article, we’ll cover these resources to help you decide which ones to use for teaching workplace readiness to your students.

1. Lessons from the United States Department of Labor


The US Department of Labor has a great resource with soft skills lesson plans.

Soft Skills to Pay the Bills” was specifically developed to teach workplace readiness skills to students ages 14-21.

The curriculum has activities and lessons for six specific skills:

  1. Communication
  2. Enthusiasm & Attitude
  3. Teamwork
  4. Networking
  5. Problem Solving & Critical Thinking
  6. Professionalism

Each skill consists of multiple lessons and activities you can download as a PDF, complete with everything you will need to plan and teach the lessons.

In the PDFs, each workplace readiness skills activity lists the amount of time it takes, the materials needed, and directions for facilitating. Having this information will be invaluable for planning your lessons!

The lesson plans are highly detailed but they’re missing assessments. If you want to give grades for any of the lessons, you will need to create your own quizzes and tests.

It may take you some time to create assessments and decide how you want to use the resources, but most of the work is already done for you.

Now, you just have to teach!

2. Activities from Teachers Pay Teachers


Teachers Pay Teachers is an open marketplace community where teachers can share, sell, and buy resources from each other.

Teachers Pay Teachers has a lot of workplace readiness skills lesson plans and activities for a range of grade levels.

You can sort the resources by price, target grade level, and other filters to find lessons and activities relevant to your students.

The number of lessons and activities on the site is seemingly infinite, which is a plus and a downside at the same time. You’ll spend a lot of time going through these resources to find what you want.

But teachers add new resources regularly as they share ideas.

So if you use Teachers Pay Teachers, there will always be something new to spice up your semester!

3. Job Readiness Activities from WeAreTeachers


WeAreTeachers is another online community for educators. The site has a large lesson plan database with ideas for any age and subject area.

One article we found is called 9 Awesome Classroom Activities That Teach Job Readiness Skills.

Each workplace readiness skills activity focuses on specific subjects like communication and critical thinking.

The article gives a ‘How To’ explaining how to run each activity in your classroom. The types of activities range from group-based to individual work by each student.

These activities would best be use as icebreaker introductions to the skills you plan to discuss.

No matter your teaching style, you are likely to find at least one idea here that will enhance your workplace readiness skills lessons!

4. Lesson Plans from the California Career Resource Network


The California Career Resource Network has a lot of college and workplaces readiness skills lesson plans.

The lessons are available for grades 5-12, and each one includes a PDF lesson plan, video, and student handouts.

Because these lessons come from the California Department of Education, they go into a great deal of detail. The lessons have a good flow to them compared to picking random resources online.

The plans have an “evaluation section,” but the evaluation is not an actual assessment. If you want to grade student work, you will have to spend time creating your own rubrics and quizzes.

These resources work best for teachers in California since they all meet state standards.

Still, any teacher can use these college and career readiness lessons to succeed in their classroom!

5. Career Exploration Lessons from CareerOneStop


CareerOneStop has a robust website that walks students through career opportunities based on their interests.

The site includes three sections your students can go through:

  • Self-assessments
  • Learn about careers
  • Plan your career

You can use these sections to start teaching students career exploration. Depending how much time and detail you want students to go into with this website, you could fill a number of class periods.

Here’s how we recommend you use the website to teach career exploration:

First, have students complete the self-assessments to learn what careers may be good options. There are three assessments available on the site.

We recommend having your students complete the Interest assessment. The other two – Skills assessment and Work values – could be a little too in-depth depending on your students.

Second, assign students to research those careers in order to choose one that sounds best. Have students begin their research by going through the Learn about careers section.

Because CareerOneStop is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, their database of information on careers is very detailed. One tool you should point out to students is the Compare Occupations section. This gives a good overview if your students is having trouble deciding between two choices.

Last, have students create a plan to achieve their career by setting goals for education, certification, and other details. CareerOneStop has a page explaining SMART goals that you should have your students read over.

Overall, this site works as an ideal introduction to workplace readiness because it gets students excited about the possibilities in their futures.

Start Teaching Workplace Readiness Skills Today!

When it comes to teaching a career exploration curriculum, there are hundreds of options available.

Mainly, you'll find career exploration lessons and activities for middle school, which is the most common age group where career exploration is taught. These resources are often high-quality and fun, and perfect for supplementing an existing curriculum. 

However, if you’re in need of a full curriculum to teach workplace readiness among other concepts and skills, consider checking out iCEV's comprehensive career exploration curriculum!

iCEV's curriculum contains hundreds of hours of content to help you teach dozens of career readiness skills through hands-on activities, engaging digital lessons, and more: 


Discover Career Exploration Curriculum