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SWDB Announces State Soft Skills Certificate

Tue, 07/20/2021

The Importance of Soft Skills to be Recognized Through State Certificate

State Workforce Development Board Introduces State Certificate for Those Who Pass WIN Assessment

Columbia, S.C. – Today’s employers agree that soft skills are a key component in hiring and promotion decisions. With companies anxious to offer testing and training for individuals, it can be challenging for employers to really understand the skills of a potential employee. The State Workforce Development Board (SWDB), in partnership with WIN Learning, has responded with the new SC Essential Soft Skills Certificate.

Recognizing both the importance of these skills and the need to easily identify a credential as meeting a standard or expectation for the workplace, the SWDB prioritized the support of soft skills instruction with the development of a standard. Six skills were identified that add value in the workplace, based on real-time statistics, key skills listed in job descriptions and feedback from South Carolina employers. Having concluded this project, the board is now excited to announce this statewide SC Essential Soft Skills Certificate, facilitated by WIN Learning, which ultimately provides a consistent benchmark that benefits both job seekers and employers.

“Having accepted Governor McMaster’s appointment as Board Chairman in the midst of COVID-19, I was ready to accelerate some of the board’s activities and priorities to have some tangible results as we emerged from the pandemic,” said SWDB Chairman, Thomas Freeland. “Creating a standardized approach is a valuable resource, and the skills that create the standard for this certificate came from feedback and real-world demands of the workplace. The SC Essential Soft Skills Certificate will be a key asset that job seekers can use as they search for employment and employers can utilize to quickly recognize the benefits of hiring someone with this certificate.”

The WIN Soft Skills Assessment is the approved tool to certify mastery of soft skill standards for the state. Utilized by the SC Works system as well as the S.C. Department of Education, WIN provides personalized education and training resources to teach employability skills in a career context to help job seekers successfully transition to a career path. The assessment focuses on basics such as time management, professionalism, motivation and attitude, as well as more complex skills such as digital literacy and problem-solving.

While there are many other curricula used by educators and workforce agencies around the state, the SC Essential Soft Skills Certificate offers a consistent assessment by which employers can source work-ready candidates. Partners utilizing other soft skills training should make sure to address the essential soft skills that are the framework of the WIN Assessment.

The six essential soft skills identified as imperative for the SC Essential Soft Skills Certificate are:

  1. Communication: Active listening, interpretation of body language, understanding nonverbal cues, respect, and giving and receiving feedback. 
  2. Digital Literacy: Using devices and handling information, creating and editing, communicating via email, instant messaging, online transacting, and being safe, legal, and responsible online.
  3. Problem Solving: Analytical skills, critical thinking, troubleshooting, innovative thinking and creative thinking.
  4. Professionalism: Appearance, demeanor, reliability, competence and ethics.
  5. Teamwork: People skills, collaborating, building rapport, relationships and organizational and planning skills.
  6. Time Management: Organization, prioritization, goal setting, planning and delegation.

Starting in July 2021, those who complete the WIN soft skills assessment will receive the SC Essential Soft Skills Certificate. They are then encouraged to add this certificate to their resume. Individuals who are interested in the SC Essential Soft Skills Certificate should reach out to their local SC Works Center for more information.