State SEL and Workforce Initiative

The integration of social and emotional learning (SEL) and workforce in education policy has been a strategic priority of CASEL’s Collaborating States Initiative (CSI) since 2019.

The successful integration of SEL and workforce development advances our vision to prepare all students for success as lifelong, engaged learners and effective contributors to the complex future they will inherit, including in their future work lives — as entrepreneurs, business owners, or employees.

We know the future of work is quickly changing and is even more uncertain now than it was just a year ago. Top companies are increasingly emphasizing the importance of SEL for success in the next generation of employees and entrepreneurs.

The initiative is supported by Pure Edge, Inc.. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of the organization.

How is the Collaborating States Initiative (CSI) advancing this work?

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Our goal is for SEL to be integrated with workforce preparation across all 50 states. Through our state partnerships, we launched the SEL and Workforce initiative in 2020, strategically supporting teams in eight states (Delaware, Kansas, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, Wisconsin), in partnership with our national collaborators (including John Bridgeland and his team at Civic, and Scott Solberg and his team at the Coalition for Career Development).

States are advancing this integration in partnership with CASEL through consultations, reviews of resources, and connections to experts. Our deep collaboration is resulting in key learnings and resources available on our resource library.

What have we learned with our state partners?

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We aim to provide students with the foundation for a lifetime of success. CASEL defines workforce preparation in education broadly to include career and technical education (CTE), project-based learning, community service and service learning, field trips, job shadowing, mock interviews, career mentoring, career development courses, individual career and academic planning, work-based learning experience, simulated work-based experiences through districts, internships and externships (including virtually), apprenticeships, and entrepreneurship/ownership.

Together, SEL and workforce preparation can strengthen one another by finding ways to align and integrate practices through an equity lens to more intentionally promote the competencies and environments youth need to thrive in school as they prepare for the workforce. Developing social and emotional skills within equitable learning environments are particularly important now as we work to identify and elevate strong policies to address inequities in youth employment and engage in economic revival.

Employee social and emotional skills that are in demand from employers map to the social and emotional competencies

Read more: Preparing Youth for the Workforce of Tomorrow

      • Positive attitude
      • Flexibility
      • Ability to apply skills to real-life settings
      • Openness to developing/learning new skills
      • Sense of self-worth
      • Ability to innovate
      • Confident
      • Creativity
      • Commitment
      • Shows flexibility
      • Initiative
      • Strong work ethic
      • Works well under pressure
      • Time management
      • Entrepreneurial thinking
      • Punctuality
      • Reliability
      • Ability to work independently
      • Organizational skills
      • Detail-oriented
      • Adaptability
      • Strategic planning (e.g., setting and achieving goals)
      • Budgeting
      • Self-discipline
      • Cross-cultural sensitivity
      • Ability to work with people of different backgrounds/cultures
      • Supervision of others
      • Respects individual differences
      • Written and oral communication skills
      • Effective communication
      •  Listening skills
      • Ability to collaborate
      • Conflict resolution
      • Management skills
      • Teamwork and works well with others
      • Responds to customer needs
      • Integrity
      • Critical thinking
      • Honesty
      • Reasoning
      • Analyze and solve complex problems
      • Ability to evaluate information from multiple sources
      • Civic participation and engagement
      • Ethical and sound decision-making
      • Observes carefully

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