JAKAPA’s Soft Skills and the Illinois Workforce Development System

Illinois is #1 in workforce development. Soft Skills training could improve their programs even more!
Illinois is #1 in workforce development. Soft Skills training could improve their programs even more!

Congratulations Illinois!

Congratulations to Illinois for being ranked #1 for workforce development in the Midwest for 2022. The ranking pulls from a set of measures, including information from CNBC, U.S. News and other organizations that track workforce development metrics, such as apprenticeship programs and other career training opportunities. Illinois has structured programming to build a strategic pipeline from school to work and serves as a model for the Midwest.

Soft Skills = Key Indicator of Workforce Development

Another key indicator of workforce readiness is soft skills, but measures of these skills are absent from the decision-making around workforce readiness rankings. JAKAPA can fix this and provide a more complete picture. We measure, train and track 32 soft skills in five areas: emotional resilience, innovation, social engagement, self-management and cooperation. Our skills were identified by comparing a number of workforce readiness frameworks schools and companies use to describe skills beyond academic and technical accomplishments. 

75 percent of one’s professional success is directly due to these 32 skills, while only 25 percent is due to academic and technical skills. So why aren’t these skills a focus? In schools, teachers report they don’t have time to teach them and are not trained to do so. Administrators say they don’t have a measurement for these skills. Companies rely on subjective and often undefined performance review processes to try to understand these skills and how they impact their employee performance. Many state programs aimed at workforce readiness and leadership, such as the Ohio Means Jobs graduation seal, aim to help students develop a set of critical skills, but their assessment of the skills is based on subjective observations by people who work with students.

JAKAPA Solves the Soft Skill Problem

JAKAPA solves this problem and can be a powerful tool to build self-awareness, to provide objective data from a variety of perspectives and to close skills gaps. Using JAKAPA builds shared language, a common understanding of the skills needed for success and a program that can measure, train and track them.

Companies can learn a lot about their performance metrics by completing a JAKAPA skills scan. We can help them understand the why behind their metrics, so they can strategically address skills gaps that impact attendance, retention and customer service. And, we can save them a lot of money. 89% of recruiters say soft skills are the reason for a bad hire and 92% of hiring managers say they are more important than technical skills (LinkedIn Global Talent Report). 97 percent of employers claim soft skills are essential (Wonderlic). A bad hire costs US companies an average of $15,000 per employee and most of those employees are terminated within 18 months, which adds approximately $25,000 to turnover costs annually. Soft skills also cost companies a lot of lost revenue due to poor customer service. When a customer service ranking falls from excellent to good, referrals decrease by 68%, customer revenue decreases by 9.5% and growth rates annually decrease by 6%.

Ready to See What JAKAPA
Can Do for You?

"My JAKAPA demo quickly helped me understand how easy it would be to implement THE JAKAPA soft skill solution IN My school."
—Missouri Educator

Invest in Soft Skill Development for a Better Future

Investing in soft skills and including a way to measure, train and track them is a critical missing piece for the workforce development pipeline. Schools that are focused on making their students future ready can benefit from emphasizing the soft skills that lead to success as well as the academic and technical competencies that open doors. Ignoring soft skill development creates a giant and expensive hole that prevents educational missions from succeeding. A strategic, collective approach between schools and companies to build and support soft skill development can make communities stronger and improve regional workforce development.

Ready to Discover JAKAPA? Let's Dive In!


Congratulations on reaching this point! At JAKAPA, we are passionate about developing soft skills and are excited to share more with you. Explore the possibilities of implementing JAKAPA in your district by clicking here. If you’re eager to understand the inner workings of JAKAPA, click here. Prefer a hands-on approach? Engage with our clickable prototype by clicking here. Is JAKAPA the perfect fit for your district? Take the plunge and schedule a short demo with our team by clicking here. We can’t wait to connect with you!

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