JAKAPA’s impact for career readiness

JAKAPA’s impact for career readiness

No career readiness program is complete without considering the underlying skills that make future employees and leaders successful…soft skills. Schools tend to focus on academic and technical preparation, but 97% of employers claim soft skills are essential and 91% of organizations want more soft skills in their employees

Programs like the Centers for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) and Junior Achievement (JA) across the country are nationally recognized innovative high school programs that prepare students for their futures through productive partnerships between education and business. They help students explore career pathways and gain skills needed to pursue their future goals. Adding a component that measures, trains and tracks soft skills can amplify their impact and help students gain critical self-awareness around soft skills and build the skills they need to succeed.

JAKAPA measures 32 skills in five areas: self-management, cooperation, social engagement, emotional resilience, and innovation. These skills are critical in a workplace that relies on teamwork, goal-orientation, critical and creative thinking and communication. Soft skill ability is a stronger predictor of financial success than social class origin or IQ, so building soft skills levels the playing field and gives students an advantage for future success. 

CAPS programs focus on: global business & entrepreneurship; medicine, health care and bioscience; engineering, technology design and development; and teaching careers in education. These industries require soft skills to enhance productivity, engagement and success. JA offers programs that build entrepreneurship, business communications, technology careers and other general career readiness. Including softs skills training in these programs provides the foundation students need to apply what they learn. 

JAKAPA is a gamified app or web-based platform that measures, trains and tracks 32 soft skills aligned to career readiness and student wellness frameworks. Our skills were identified by crosswalking the many models used to describe the critical set of essential or durable skills needed for success in any career.  Below outlines the sets of skills JAKAPA measures and why they are critical in various industries.

 

 

Self-management

Self-management skills include skills related to goal regulation, organization, time, task and responsibility management. Future business leaders and entrepreneurs need these skills to manage change and lead teams to become more productive, efficient and effective. Medical professionals and engineers employ these skills to lead teams to convert ideas to action in the production of innovative procedures and tools. Technology design requires a key eye for details and the ability to manage complex projects that involve a number of teams working together seamlessly. The teaching profession requires strong self-management skills to ensure classrooms run efficiently and teachers can manage the many tasks required to generate lessons, to efficiently provide feedback, and to track growth in their students. No matter what field a student pursues, self-management skills enhance their sense of control and help them ensure they deliver on time and accurately.

 

Cooperation

Over the last 20 years, workplace collaboration has increased by 50%. The world works in teams, so strong cooperation skills, such as teamwork, perspective taking, social warmth, ethics and the ability to build trust are critical for building a collaborative culture. Business, the healthcare industry, technology firms and teaching are all team sports, so helping students to build these skills will equip them with the skills they need to work on and lead productive and effective teams. 50% of workers in the US say their jobs are reliant on collaboration, and three-quarters of employees say teamwork is very important to their success. In fact, 86% of employees in leadership positions cite a lack of collaboration skills as the top reason for workplace failures. 


Social engagement

Communication is one of the top three most sought after skills, so learning to effectively use persuasive, expressive and conversational communication techniques is critical for engaging people. Plans shape change, but people make it happen. Poor communication not only erodes the collaborative spirit and impacts corporate culture, it is also very expensive. In fact, the average American company spends 17 hours per week clarifying previous communication and errors due to miscommunication cost even small businesses with fewer than 100 employees $420,000 annually. Poor communication leads to employee disengagement and lower productivity, which is also very expensive, costing companies approximately 34% of an employee’s annual salary. Entrepreneurs, bioscience or technology inventors, and teachers need strong communication skills to build teams that trust each other and work together on a shared vision.

 

Emotional resilience

Stress regulation skills can make or break an employee’s success. Over 60 percent of employees say their productivity at work is affected by their mental health, and over a third thought their work or workplace environment contributed to their symptoms. Mental illness and substance abuse annually cost employers between USD 80 billion and 100 billion in indirect costs. Learning to manage stress and anger and building adaptability creates the resilience needed to overcome barriers and persist through challenges. Impulse regulation, independence and confidence regulation help leaders think through decisions, so they do not behave erratically and act without properly weighing out the intended and unintended consequences. Leaders also need to be optimistic and see the world as a place of possibilities rather than potholes. Emotional resilience skills are critical in high stress industries. Entrepreneurship and new product development in technology or the biosciences rarely operate without hiccups, so success relies on emotional resilience. Healthcare and teaching careers are highly stressful, because people’s lives can be on the line, and employees and leaders need to be able to manage that stress to do their jobs well. 93% of health workers reported being stressed out and stretched too thin and 69% of physicians report they are burned outFifty-nine percent of teachers experienced burnout, compared to 48% of other working adults. Building emotional resilience skills is critical to preparing students for high-stress fields.

Innovation

As artificial intelligence continues to evolve and more and more jobs are automated, the future workforce needs innovation skills. In fact, by 2030, 30-40% of jobs will depend on soft skills and 8 out of the ten top skills for 2025 are soft skills. Creativity, abstract thinking and information processing are more important than ever, so innovation skills can make or break one’s professional future. Robots can deliver on processes and algorithms, but they can’t read a room, they can’t generate the creative thinking humans need to innovate, and they can’t self-reflect. The innovation set of skills is what makes us human and teaching students to harness these skills is essential to preparing them for the future world of work. The jobs they are training for don’t exist yet, so the ability to pivot, to create and to apply what we know in innovative ways will be the future thinking skills needed for jobs in business, healthcare and biosciences. Teachers also need to be innovative every day as they individualize instruction and push students to think at higher levels and apply what they learn to novel situations. 


JAKAPA is the solution

Preparing students for their futures requires attention on soft skills. JAKAPA can measure, train and track these skills. We build self-awareness and help students feel more in control of their skill building. Our program requires 10-15 minutes of daily practice where students reflect, assess and engage in skill builders. We are easy to insert into any programming, because our system runs itself.  Program leaders can use our data to understand underlying skills strengths and deficits that explain their success measures. Students can use their data to demonstrate they understand the skills needed for success in their career pathway and can download their data as a soft skills resume to enhance applications for jobs, scholarships or program admittance. Amplify the impact of your programming by finding 10-15 minutes per day for soft skills training and achieve your vision for preparing students for their futures. 

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