Historically, in many career and technical education programs, the focus has been on technical topics specific to the occupational area. Today’s fast-paced global marketplace is demanding more, and “soft skills” are emerging in importance. In today’s global workforce, soft skills are more directly related to professional success than ever before.
The faculty of Blackhawk Technical College has identified seven related topics of soft skills, or “core abilities” that are crucial to success both during school and after graduation. These core abilities, based on input from employers, students and other members of the community, are skills and competencies that will enable students to be successful in the workplace. These essential skills are taught across programs and departments so that all Blackhawk Technical College students work toward improving and applying these critical soft skills.
In as much as core abilities are important for students, they should also reflect the actions of all College staff. The College core abilities were originally developed to define the expectations of graduates from all of BTC's programs, serving as a common thread to unify all divisions as well as to contribute to student success. It is now the expectation that all BTC staff members model these same core abilities to reinforce the importance of soft skills in their workplace.
Listed below are BTC's seven college-wide core abilities and their indicators.
- Demonstrate communication standards specific to occupational area.
- Write professionally.
- Speak professionally.
- Interpret professional documents.
- Demonstrate critical listening skills.
- Communicate using professional non-verbal behavior.
Use Appropriate Technology
- Select equipment, tools and resources to produce desired results.
- Demonstrate proper and safe usage of equipment.
- Demonstrate occupational specific computer skills.
- Adapt to new technology.
- Use security measures to protect confidentiality.
Work Effectively in Teams
- Participate in identifying team goals.
- Respect the contributions and perspectives of all members.
- Work with others.
- Complete assigned tasks.
- Motivate team members.
- Resolve conflicts.
- Assess team outcomes.
Demonstrate Professional Work Behavior
- Follow policies and procedures.
- Meet attendance expectations.
- Manage time effectively.
- Dress appropriately.
- Accept constructive feedback.
- Take initiative.
- Work productively.
- Be accountable.
- Demonstrate organization/prioritization skills.
- Demonstrate effective customer service skills.
- Transfer learning from one context to another.
- Adapt to change.
Show Respect for Diversity
- Respectfully interact with diverse groups.
- Treat everyone without bias.
- Seek information when necessary to effectively interact with others.
- Adapt to diverse situations.
- Demonstrate respect and common courtesy.
Solve Problems Efficiently
- Identify a problem to be solved.
- Select appropriate problem-solving methodologies.
- Recognize and gather relevant information.
- Apply mathematical reasoning.
- Utilize appropriate resources.
- Recognize when to change direction if needed.
- Recognize when the process is complete.
Lead by Example
- Recognize leadership qualities in others.
- Demonstrate legal and ethical standards of practice.
- Create and share a vision.
- Develop and implement a plan to accomplish a goal.
- Manage conflict, pressure and change with constructive strategies.
- Be a colleague/peer others depend on.
- Acquire the knowledge needed for success.
- Bring passion and energy to your work/project.
- Take risks when necessary or appropriate.