What are some common qualities of colleagues you love to work with? They’re capable planners, who can identify big goals and break them down to figure out how to get from Point A to Point B. They’re skilled collaborators and communicators, with the ability to think critically and creatively. These qualities are often called 21st Century Skills and are considered necessary to succeed in today's information age. In fact, employers report that they are equally important to technical skills in the workplace (Balcar, 2014; Carnevale, 2013; Eger & Grossmann, 2004; International Labour Organization, 2008) and complain that job candidates are all too often lacking the necessary competencies in these areas (Manpower Group, 2013).

For the past three years, HI Career Readiness has been measuring key 21st Century Skills, including: Collaboration, Communication, Critical thinking, Creativity, Growth Orientation, and Goal Orientation. Not only do these overlap with social and emotional learning (SEL) capacities but they are developed and scaffolded through their application. For example, a young person with strong social skills (a key SEL capacity) will find it easier to collaborate and communicate than peers with limited capacity in this area. As SEL skills are applied in real-life settings, it increases knowledge gains and retention, fosters stronger academic performance, and produces social skills that are valued by most employers, as people are better able to regulate stress levels, empathize with others and resolve conflicts (International Labour Organization, 2021).

HI: Career Readiness Discoveries

To date, HI Career Readiness has been used by over 7,000 young people across 56 organizations, allowing us to do further validation of the tool. What have we discovered? We have eight new insights to share with you.

About the Outcomes

✽   Some new items that were tested helped to strengthen three constructs - communication, collaboration, and growth orientation. They are valid and reliable measures across ages, grades, gender identity, and ethnicity.

✽  Taken together, four outcomes - collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity - measure one key element of career readiness. We are now calling this “Applied SEL”. Young people with these capacities put their SEL to use in real-life settings, such as projects, internships, apprenticeships, and on the job. This application of SEL increases knowledge gains and retention, fosters stronger academic performance, and produces social skills that are valued by most employers.

✽  Taken together, two outcomes - growth orientation and goal orientation - measure another key lament of career readiness that we are now calling - “adaptive mindset.” In other words, when young people have an adaptive mindset they are more likely to develop creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills.

✽  Social capital also acts as a mediator of growth in all of the outcomes. In other words, the more social capital you have the easier it is to develop the outcomes being measured by this tool.

✽  With more data and new items, your reports will have more precise benchmarks. At pre, you might see differences in your emerging and advanced categories. At post, you might see different growth patterns.

About the Experiences

✽  All of the experiences were shown to be valid and reliable measures of the concepts being explored. However, to align with other HI tools, some of the names were changed.

✽  Six experiences predicted growth in both applied SEL and adaptive mindset - engaging authentically, expanding interests, fostering reflection, sharing power, supporting networking, and helping young people to envision a positive future.

✽  Three experiences did not predict outcome growth - practice career skills, challenge growth and promote peer bonds. Therefore, these questions were dropped to shorten the tool and make it more accessible for young people.

Thank you to everyone who has been part of this amazing work. We are so excited to continue to learn alongside you as we develop this dataset even further. The new tool has several test questions that we have developed based on your feedback. We are committed to hosting further community conversations about these findings and hope that you will reach out with questions and ideas to strengthen this work.

You can also watch the full session about: Career Readiness Updates

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