Issue-Specific Resources: Beyond "Hard Skills:" Soft Skills in Workforce Development

"The ability to maximize the productive potential of every American of working age, through investment in education and training will be essential to sustain future growth." – Michael E. Porter and Debra van Opstal (2001)





  1. America's Promise Alliance. (2007, September). Under-equipped and unprepared: America's emerging workforce and the soft skills gap. Every Child, Every Promise. (Issue Brief: Workforce Readiness).

    From 21st Century Connections: "This brief points out that young people lack the soft skills needed by 21st century employers as well as important opportunities to develop them. The America's Promise brief comes from a project titled Every Child Every Promise (ECEP), and it concludes that: 'Increasing youth involvement in real-world experiences, whether through internships, paid employment or community service is an important first step. Similarly, schools need to engage their students in active learning and connect curricula to the modern workplace.'" 5 pages.

  2. Gulati, R., Huffman, S., & Neilson, G. (2002, Fall). "The Barista principle: Starbucks and the rise of relational capital." strategy+business, 58-69.

    "From coffee bar to caffeine kingdom, Starbucks proves relationships are as important as physical assets." 12 pages.
  3. Houghton, T., & Proscio, T. (2001, October). Hard work on soft skills: Creating a 'culture of work' in workforce development. Working Ventures: A Publication of Public / Private Ventures.

    Publisher's Description: "…Workforce development practitioners must create a culture of work within their own programs if they want participants to be prepared to meet employers' expectations. Hard Work on Soft Skills describes the efforts of four very different organizations with sophisticated strategies that suffuse soft skills development throughout their programs by integrating them with their hard skills training." 60 pages.

Last Updated: July 18, 2012

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