7 Best Resources to Teach Workplace Readiness Skills
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 seven best resources to teach workplace readiness skills are:
- United States Department of Labor
- Teachers Pay Teachers
- California Career Resource Network
- Customer Service Blog Post from AES
- Workplace Readiness Curriculum from AES
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:
- Enthusiasm & Attitude
- Problem Solving & Critical Thinking
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 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 activities and lesson plans 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 lesson activity focuses on specific career readiness skills 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 lessons!
4. Lesson Plans from the California Career Resource Network
The California Career Resource Network has a lot of college and career readiness 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. Customer Service Lesson Plan from AES
Customer service skills are important in any field of work. The interpersonal skills that can be learned through customer service training can be applied to interactions in any career.
That’s why the AES Product Team created a free customer service activity and lesson plan. The purpose of this activity is to demonstrate the importance of interpersonal business communication.
The lesson has two parts. First, you will role play a customer interaction with a student for a few minutes. Afterwards, there are three questions to spark discussion amongst the class.
For part two of the lesson, you divide students into groups and hand out role play cards. Each card has a different scenario for a customer and a company representative. Students role play and document how each scenario played out.
You can round out the lesson by discussing the fact that purchasing decisions are often driven by emotions. Companies who maintain positive customer interactions can be very successful.
Click here to learn more and download the lesson and activity sheet: Customer Service Lesson Plan and Activity
6. 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:
- 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.
7. Workplace Readiness Curriculum from Applied Educational Systems
AES has a ready-to-use career readiness curriculum with lesson plans, activities, and assessments included.
It offers 10 modules (collections of lessons, activities, and assessments) to teach workplace readiness skills.
These modules include diverse topics like career development, professionalism, digital citizenship, and web research.
Each module includes interactive lessons your students complete, along with formative and summative assessments that are automatically graded.
Along with the digital lessons, the curriculum system comes with classroom activities and offline resources you can use to diversify your teaching strategy with blended learning.
The best part about the curriculum is that it’s regularly updated with new information.
That means you’ll always have up-to-date lessons any time you need them.
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