SEL for Workforce Development

  • Consider what it means for students to be prepared for the future. What should we help students to know and be able to do to become college, career, and community ready?  

    Workforce preparation must include essential knowledge and technical skills required for jobs today, but also deeper human skills – known as social and emotional skills. That is why 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 (Read more from Top U.S. Companies: These Are the Skills Students Need in a Post-Pandemic World, March 2, 2021).   

  • Featured Resource 

    Preparing Youth for the Workforce of Tomorrow: Cultivating the Social and Emotional Skills Employers Demand [June 2020]

    Download the PDF

What do we mean by the integration of SEL and workforce preparation 

  • 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.  

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

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.

For more related resources, view our CSI Workforce Resources

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