Workforce Readiness: Competencies and Assessment

Workforce Readiness: Competencies and Assessment

Workforce Readiness: Competencies and Assessment

Workforce Readiness: Competencies and Assessment

Synopsis

Current economic difficulties and the challenge of competing in the world market have necessitated a rethinking of American approaches to the utilization of people in organizations. Management now recognizes a need to have workers take on more responsibility at the points of production, of sale, and of service rendered if the United States is to compete in rapidly changing world markets. This development means that much more is expected of even entry-level members of the American workforce. Thus, even more is expected of our high schools and colleges to provide this type of workforce.

The need of American management for workers with greater skills and who can take on greater responsibility has spawned many commissions, task forces, and studies. All of them have contributed to the vast evidence documenting the need for a more highly skilled workforce. These studies are summarized and synthesized in this book. However, what remains largely undone is the development of methods to assess the necessary skills that have been identified. A major portion of this book deals with assessment issues.

Workforce Readiness: Competencies and Assessment explores the state-of-the-art in the specification of competencies (skills) and their assessment for students entering the world of work from both high school and college. Both individual and team competencies are examined via data that has been reported and collected in various settings--schools, laboratories, and industrial facilities.

Excerpt

Workforce Readiness: Competencies and Assessment is designed for professionals in the assessment/evaluation/measurement and the vocational, technical, and educational psychology communities. It explores the state of the art in the specification of competencies (skills) and their assessment for students entering the world of work from both high school and college. Both individual and team competencies are explored.

Many high school and college graduates lack the necessary knowledge and skills to be productive members of a workforce that focuses on highperformance/high-paying jobs. By "high performance" we mean work settings committed to excellence, product quality, and customer satisfaction. Lack of skills for such a workplace in an entry-level workforce may be a major reason for potential U.S. economic noncompetitiveness. This development means that much more is expected of even entry-level members of the American workforce. Thus, even more is expected of our high schools and colleges to provide this type of workforce. Such issues are a common concern in the United States and other countries (e.g., Australia).

The most promising intellectual framework to deal with these issues is provided by the Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS; U.S. Department of Labor, 1992). This framework of competencies is updated in this book and is focused on a high-skill, high-wage, and high-performance workplace. Competencies were defined by SCANS as part of "workplace know-how" (U.S. Department of Labor, 1992, p. 6) or the skills that young people need to succeed in the world of work. This framework is common to many of the chapters of this book.

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