Instructional Resources

To support community and technical college faculty in their efforts to enhance employability skills instruction, the NSN Network aims to aggregate and share quality, no-cost teaching resources. The initial collection highlighted on this page represents resources developed by NSF-ATE projects as well as state and federally-funded education and workforce development projects. Over time, the Network’s goal is to share promising instructional materials, assessment tools, and teaching strategies from a broad range of institutions and disciplines. While our primary focus is to support STEM-related associate degree programs, faculty and employers from all disciplines are encouraged to use and contribute to this resource collection. Details on sharing resources with the Network are provided below.

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Advanced Manufacturing Competencies for Personal and Career Success

The Necessary Skills Now project partnered with advanced manufacturing faculty at Forsyth Technical Community College and their employer partners to develop employability skill development resources for existing manufacturing courses. Based on the US Department of Labor competency model in advanced manufacturing, eight “bite-sized” modules provide web-based, student-facing content, classroom discussion guides, an online curriculum companion, and videos featuring employers discussing the importance of the employability skills highlighted in the modules. Stipends are available for our Spring 2024 cohort for faculty interested in piloting these materials. To learn more, contact Hope Cotner.

Stacking the Deck Competency Cards

Created by mechanical engineering faculty at Ohio University, these competency “cards” break the categories of the US Dept of Labor's Engineering Competency Model into challenges based on common interview questions asked by leading technology and manufacturing companies. The cards offer opportunities for students to practice employability skills daily, as part of class activities or independently.

Necessary Skills Now Modules

The Necessary Skills Now project paired faculty members with employers to develop scenario-focused project-based learning modules embedding employability concepts into existing courses in cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing. Five modules are available for each discipline. An Implementation Guide is also available.

NC-NET Employability Skills Resource Toolkit

Developed for the North Carolina Community College System, this eight-module toolkit is designed to support instruction for high-demand employability skills. Each module contains instructional materials including activities, student handouts, assessment rubrics, and annotated presentation slides.

Working Stronger and Smarter: A Handbook on Theory and Techniques for Developing Employability Skills for Technicians

This handbook from SRI International synthesizes practical ideas from technician education and workplaces that both educators and employers can use to create better solutions for developing employability skills. It is the result of an 18-month study aimed at answering questions about what drives the demand for employability skills, which skills are most important for technicians, what learning principles and instructional practices support their development, and what approaches to employability skills development can support improved diversity in technician fields.

Integrating Employability Skills Professional Development Module

The College & Career Readiness & Success Center developed Integrating Employability Skills: A Framework for All Educators to support regional and state education agency staff in building their knowledge and capacity to integrate and prioritize employability skills instruction. Based on ED-OCTAE’s Employability Skills Framework, the module contains a facilitator’s guide, slides, handouts, and a workbook for individuals or groups.

Illinois Essential Employability Skills Framework

This framework was designed to define and clarify essential employability skills and provide a standard for the state of Illinois. The framework was developed through the collaboration of the Illinois Community College Board, the IL Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Illinois businesses, local chambers of commerce, and secondary and postsecondary educators.

Goodwill Community Foundation Tutorials

GCF offers a wide array of education and training resources to develop important skills for life and work. The Job Success tutorial offers short, video-based content on important essentials such as business etiquette, workplace communication, and time management. Also checkout GCF’s YouTube channel, offering tutorials on more than 190 topics, including employability skills and technology.

When I Grow Up Series

In this career exploration series from the Workforce Solutions/Gulf Coast Workforce Board, high school students will rationalize career and education decisions through a supportive curriculum directed by an instructor or facilitator. Each lesson and activity integrate the practice of employability skills.