Community Economics & Workforce Development

Work Ready

Purdue Extension’s Work Ready Program is designed to teach life skills necessary to increase the number of qualified applicants for job openings in the United States. The program can be taught to youth as well as displaced adult workers who have limited work experience or education. Through this series of 10 interactive 1-hour modules, participants learn about personal accountability, career planning, time management, budgeting and money management and how to present themselves in a positive way when seeking a job.

Specifically, the Work Ready program’s goals are:

  • Increase participants' soft skills
  • Increase participants' chances of securing a job and maintaining the position
  • Resume development
  • Successful interview skills

According to the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupational employment is projected to grow by 5.2 percent from 2018 to 2028. This is a projected increase of 8.4 million jobs to 169.4 million jobs over the 2018-28 decade. This expansion reflects an annual growth of 0.5 percent. Employment in nearly all major occupational groups is projected to increase from 2018 to 2028. The service-providing sector as a whole will grow at a projected rate of 0.6 percent annually, slightly faster than the annual rate of 0.5 percent for industry employment overall. This growth is projected to add more than 7.6 million jobs, resulting in 136.8 million jobs in the service-providing sector by 2028.

An aging population and labor force will contribute to changes expected over the coming decade including a continued decline in the labor force participation rate and continued growth in employment in healthcare and related industries and occupations. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is projected to grow at much the same rate from 2018 to 2028 as it did in the previous decade; labor productivity is projected to accelerate slightly from the previous decade to an annual rate of 1.6 percent, higher than the previous decade's annual rate of 1.3 percent.

The Work Ready curriculum can help address this growth by preparing applicants that have less experience and education to fill these jobs.

Target Audiences

The target audience for this curriculum is high school students and displaced adult workers.

To learn more about Work Rready-Community Economics & Workforce Development, contact:

The lessons are designed to be flexible to fit your situation. Lessons can be completed in one session or in multiple session increments. The optional activities can be used to custom-fit the curriculum to your audience.

The lessons are:

  • Plan for Life — Understand the role that setting goals can play in career planning and in forming working connections between self-discovery, career exploration and planning for life.
  • Personal Accountability — Gain awareness and understanding of what it means to be accountable in life and in the workplace. The activities help learners apply pragmatic skills to eliminate victim thinking and differentiate between responsibility and accountability.
  • Career Planning — Gain an understanding of the world of work, the career planning process and how to apply basic planning principles to an individual career search. Critical workplace proficiencies, personal qualities and high-demand fields for the 21st century are highlighted.
  • Social Media: Digital Citizenship and Responsibility — Gain an awareness and understanding of what it means to be safe, smart and professional when using social media. Learn the consequences attached to poor decision-making when it comes to social media.
  • Teamwork Makes the Dream Work — Understand the importance of teamwork, leadership, communication and conflict management in creating a productive and successful workplace. Participants gain knowledge, assess skills and practice team-building principles relevant and necessary for success in their personal, social and work environments.
  • Time Management — Time management is a necessary part of both our personal and work lives. It is an important step in alleviating stress and becoming productive and successful at whatever we do. Learn about time-wasters, procrastination, organizing and prioritizing tasks, and planning.
  • Budgeting and Money Management — Understand the importance of money management in terms of financial freedom, financial success and overall goal achievement. Learn how to develop a budget. Having a working knowledge and appreciation of basic money principles helps ensure that learners develop proficiencies necessary for applying smart fiscal decision-making strategies in their daily lives.
  • Dress for Success — First impressions, grooming, dress, attitude, presentation and enthusiasm are all part of the overall interview process. Connect "looking the part" and "getting the part" when it comes to a successful job interview.
  • Résumés and Cover Letters — Prepare and maintain an accurate, clear and functional résumé and cover letter as a step toward employment and career goals. Interviewing Skills—Learn the importance of interviews and proper etiquette, as well as the steps and techniques necessary for a successful interview.

The Work Ready curriculum can be purchased by individuals seeking to teach soft skills to high school students or displaced adult workers. The purchase includes one book with the teacher’s guide and handouts.

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