Evolving to Meet the Needs of Virginia's Employers

Workplace readiness skills have been a part of Virginia's CTE curriculum since 1998, when the first 13 were introduced after research and feedback from employers. Today, there are 22 skills organized around three core areas:

  • personal qualities and abilities, like creativity, work ethic, and problem solving;
  • interpersonal skills, like conflict resolution, teamwork, and respect for diversity; and
  • professional competencies, like information security, professionalism, and career and life management.

Students can demonstrate their knowledge of these competencies — and their preparedness for employment — through the Workplace Readiness Skills for the Commonwealth Assessment, which was developed by the Career and Technical Education Consortium of States (CTECS). The assessment is created in coordination with the Virginia Department of Education Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education. Students who pass the assessment can earn the CTECS WRS Assessment Digital Badge, which proves that the student has passed the exam with a 75% or better score.

Get the Poster

The CTE Resource Center offers an 11x14-inch poster of all 22 Workplace Readiness Skills for the Commonwealth.

To order printed copies of the poster, please email us using the Contact Us link and include your name and your school mailing address along with the number of copies you would like (a maximum of 10 per order).

Use the download button below to get the print-ready PDF.

Resources for Educators and Students

The CTE Resource Center, in collaboration with CTECS, has developed instructional resources to introduce or reinforce student understanding of workplace readiness skills (WRS) in the classroom. Mastery of these skills will increase when the concepts and vocabulary are continually applied and reinforced throughout the core competencies of the course.

How to Use the Resources

The Workplace Readiness Skills for the Commonwealth instructional resources provide you with an efficient, adaptable set of resources to introduce and/or reinforce student understanding of one of Virginia’s workplace readiness skills. While it is encouraged and expected that instruction in all of the workplace readiness skills will be integrated throughout your course, it is acknowledged that students could also benefit from more explicit instruction, particularly in certain skills.

There are several ways to use the lessons.

Option:
Choose one week (or a series of five class sessions) to focus on the skill. Teach one lesson each day, with the final day reserved for assessment. The lessons can be kept brief (around 30 minutes each day), or they be expanded to create longer lessons, depending on your time constraints and the needs of your students.

Option:
If you are on a block schedule or have a long class period, the lessons can be “stacked” and taught back-to-back in two or three classes. Assessment can take place the following class or as a homework assignment.

Option:
Individual lessons can be used to supplement your own unit, review something you have already taught, or reinforce an identified weak area.

Whichever option works for you and your students, follow-up is not optional. Real learning is not likely to take place if the concepts and vocabulary are not continually used and reinforced throughout the course. Each lesson provides tips for taking advantage of formal and informal opportunities to reinforce knowledge and skills.

We hope that you and your students enjoy your journey through Virginia’s workplace readiness skills!

Personal Qualities and Abilities

Skills marked with * are supported by resources from the Career and Technical Education Consortium of States (CTECS).

Lesson: I Am Not Creative

Students explore ways they might use creativity in their future career.

 

Vocabulary

Use these Quizlet tools to help students understand terms related to this workplace readiness skill.

Lesson: Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving

Students will describe a problem-solving strategy/strategies to mitigate a common personal problem.

 

Vocabulary

Use these Quizlet tools to help students understand terms related to this workplace readiness skill.

Lesson: Exhibiting Motivation

Students will explore the relationship between exhibiting motivation and the concept of initiative.

 

Lesson: When to Take Initiative and When to Seek Guidance

Students will examine workplace situations and explore when it is appropriate to take initiative vs. when to seek guidance from a superior.

 

Lesson: Know Your Spark *

What causes us to act and what prevents us from taking action? Knowing the answers can trigger action and help us take initiative.

 

Vocabulary

Use these Quizlet tools to help students understand terms related to this workplace readiness skill.

Lesson: Integrity Issues

Students will explore various strategies to resolve integrity issues.

 

Vocabulary

Use these Quizlet tools to help students understand terms related to this workplace readiness skill.

Lesson: Understanding Work Ethic

Students will investigate the concept of work ethic as it relates to workplace readiness.

 

Lesson: Taking Direction and Responding to Feedback

Students will investigate how taking direction willingly and responding to feedback appropriately contribute to a positive work ethic.

 

Vocabulary

Use these Quizlet tools to help students understand terms related to this workplace readiness skill.

Interpersonal Skills

Lesson: Conflict Resolution

Students will explore types of conflicts in the workplace and the strategies used to resolve those conflicts.

 

Vocabulary

Use these Quizlet tools to help students understand terms related to this workplace readiness skill.

 

Lesson: Be a YouTube Career Superstar

Students will research careers in areas of interest and create videos describing what they’ve learned; students will demonstrate best practices in speaking effectively for an audience.

 

Lesson: Hearing Versus Listening

Students will differentiate between hearing and listening and will participate in an exercise that emphasizes the importance of giving clear and concise directions as well as listening actively and following directions.

 

Lesson: Presentation Issues

Teacher will present various strategies students could use to improve their skills for a persuasive presentation.

 

Vocabulary

Use these Quizlet tools to help students understand terms related to this workplace readiness skill.

Lesson: Characteristics of an Effective Team

Students will describe the characteristics of an effective team member—as well as their own characteristics/strengths/weaknesses—as they relate to working with diverse teams of people.

 

Lesson: Nonverbal and Cross-cultural Communication

Students will explore nonverbal and cross-cultural communication and its effects in a diverse workplace.

 

Lesson: Interacting with People with Disabilities

Students will explore etiquette followed when interacting with people who have various disabilities.

Lesson: Production Problems
Teacher will present various strategies students could use to resolve and solve a local problem.
Vocabulary
Use these Quizlet tools to help students understand terms related to this workplace readiness skill.

Lesson: Researching Excellence in Customer Service

Students will explore the concept of customer service and research companies known for excellent customer service.

 

Lesson: Turning an Unsatisfied Customer into a Satisfied Customer

Students will examine strategies for communicating effectively with unsatisfied or angry customers.

 

Lesson: Understanding Internal Customer Service

Students will describe internal customer service and analyze its effect on external customer service.

 

Vocabulary

Use these Quizlet tools to help students understand terms related to this workplace readiness skill.

Lesson: Collaborate with Team Members

Students will explore the concept of teamwork and the characteristics of effective team members. Students will reflect on their strengths and weaknesses when working with teams and set teamwork goals.

 

Lesson: Avoiding Miscommunication

Students will identify the components of communication, explore the factors that make communication complex, and describe strategies for effective communication.

 

Lesson: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work*

Teacher will present various strategies students could use to improve their skills for ways teams work.

Lesson Plan

 

Vocabulary

Use these Quizlet tools to help students understand terms related to this workplace readiness skill.

Collaborate with Team Members: Related Definitions

Professional Competencies

Lesson: Understanding Organizational Vision, Mission, and Values

Students will define organizational vision, mission, and values and explore the role of each in the workplace.

 

Lesson: Understanding Organizational Culture

Students will explore the relationship between individual employee values and organizational culture.

 

Lesson: The Big Picture*

The teacher will present various strategies students could use to improve their skills for ways to analyze an organization through the lenses of mission, vision, culture, and organizational roles and influences.

Lesson Plan

 

Vocabulary

Use these Quizlet tools to help students understand terms related to this workplace readiness skill.

Lesson: The What, Why, and How of Exercise

Students will explore types of exercise, the benefits of regular exercise, and strategies for fitting exercise into daily life. Students will create a written plan to create a short-term physical exercise goal.

 

Lesson: Finding a Career Fit

Students will perform self-assessments of skills, interests, and values and reflect upon compatible career pathways and occupations based upon their unique strengths and preferences.

 

Lesson: Preparing for a Job Interview

Students will prepare for a job interview by defining the characteristics of a successful interviewee, discussing common interview questions and appropriate answers to them, and by participating in a mock interview.

 

Lesson: Career and Life Balance *

Teacher will present various strategies students could use to improve their career and life balance.

 

Vocabulary

Use these Quizlet tools to help students understand terms related to this workplace readiness skill.

Lesson: The Importance of Adaptability

The student will explore continuous learning and adaptability and will evaluate the importance of these attributes in the workplace.

 

Lesson: A Close Reading

The student will be able to recognize and define key vocabulary in the task statement and definition. The student will be able to analyze the task definition to identify the key components by applying close-reading strategies.

 

Lesson: Learning How to Learn*

One of the most important things you can do is to learn. Learning helps to improve ourselves, our situations, and our world. To learn well, you must first want to learn. Then you must commit to learning. That means that you find focused time to learn.

 

Vocabulary

Use these Quizlet tools to help students understand terms related to this workplace readiness skill.

Lesson: Efficiently Productive

Students will examine ways to improve their efficiency and productivity and adapt four skills to their individual activities.

 

Vocabulary

Use these Quizlet tools to help students understand terms related to this workplace readiness skill.

Lesson: Understanding Policies

Students will explain sample workplace policies.

 

Lesson: Evaluating Internet Resources

Students will analyze Internet sites for credibility.

 

Lesson: Media Bias*

Students find stories published on the internet that don't seem completely trustworthy. They examine for accuracy and answer questions.

 

Vocabulary

Use these Quizlet tools to help students understand terms related to this workplace readiness skill.

Lesson: Honing Information Security Skills

Students will understand how information security skills can be improved a home and at school.

 

Vocabulary

Use these Quizlet tools to help students understand terms related to this workplace readiness skill.

Lesson: Choosing Appropriate Software

Students will identify the various uses for popular software applications and choose the appropriate software application for a variety of work-related tasks.

 

Lesson: Managing Files and Folders

Students will identify strategies and best practices for file management.

 

Lesson: Info Tech*

Teacher will present various strategies students could use to improve cloud computing skills at school and home.

 

Vocabulary

Use these Quizlet tools to help students understand terms related to this workplace readiness skill.

Lesson: Job-Specific Tools and Tech Matching

Students will learn strategies to improve choosing the right tool for the job.

Vocabulary

Use these Quizlet tools to help students understand terms related to this workplace readiness skill.

Lesson: Using Job-Specific Math

Students will select and apply the correct calculation to everyday workplace mathematics problems.

 

Vocabulary

Use these Quizlet tools to help students understand terms related to this workplace readiness skill.

Mathematics: Related Definitions

Lesson: Approaching a Job Interview

Students will act out interview scenarios demonstrating positive and not-so-positive ways to represent themselves and explore the importance of making good first impressions. Students will identify positive behaviors associated with self-representation and plan for ways to approach a potential employer.

 

Lesson: Clothes with Superpowers

Students will explore the correlation between wardrobe and attitude in the workplace.

 

Lesson: Understanding Dress Codes

Students will explore sample school and professional dress codes and the rationale behind them.

 

Lesson: How to Tell a Story ... about Yourself*

The first step in telling a story of yourself is deciding what is appropriate per the company and opportunity you seek.

 

Vocabulary

Use these Quizlet tools to help students understand terms related to this workplace readiness skill.

Reading for Business: Comprehending Informational Texts

Students will read and demonstrate comprehension of informational texts.

 

Writing for Business: Composing a Résumé

Students will employ best practices in the writing of a résumé.

 

Writing for Business: Avoiding Common Errors

Students will identify common errors made in word usage and apply correct usage to a business document.

 

Writing Good Well*

Teacher will present various strategies students could use to improve their writing for school or the workplace.

 

Vocabulary

Use these Quizlet tools to help students understand terms related to this workplace readiness skill.

Lesson: Workplace Safety

Students will list and discuss ways to take responsibility for workplace safety.

 

Vocabulary

Use these Quizlet tools to help students understand terms related to this workplace readiness skill.

Success Stories

photo of Bryan Wallace
Bryan Wallace
  • 2nd Lieutenant, Medical Service Corps Officer
  • United States Air Force
  • Essex High School
  • Essex County Public Schools
photo of Kayla Finn
Kayla Finn
  • Club Senior Services Manager
  • Indianapolis Colts
  • Millbrook High School
  • Frederick County Public Schools
photo of Donovan Huffer
Donovan Huffer
  • Director of Financial Recording
  • Banker Steer Company
  • Buffalo Gap High School
  • Augusta County Public Schools
photo of Kat McDearis
Kat McDearis
  • Owner
  • Kate McDearis Multimedia LLC
  • Blacksburg High School
  • Montgomery County Public Schools

Have Questions?

Whether it's about the site, curriculum, or services we provide, we want you to know we're here to help and answer any questions you might have. Reach out to our team!

Let's find what you're looking for