We all know that young people need a variety of important skills to be ready to work, such as having a strong work ethic. Recently, another aspect of employability has gained attention—the need for strong social and emotional skills.
In this brief, we define employability skills with a focus on social and emotional competencies, such as social awareness, self-awareness, and relationship skills. This brief examines how afterschool programs and practices can support the development of SEL skills in youth. For example, After School Matters in Chicago sets high school youth up with internships to get on-the-job training. Not only do these youth gain work experience, they also gain communication and problem-solving skills that they can utilize in any workplace setting.
We also look at how afterschool and expanded learning settings are an ideal place to foster these skills. Many afterschool programs play a critical role in filling the gap between youth from lower-income backgrounds and their more affluent peers. Therefore, afterschool programs can intentionally target SEL development and develop these employability skills to level the playing field for more youth from diverse backgrounds.
The executive summary of this brief is available here.