Career Competencies – What are they and how do they work?

The Capital Workforce Partners Career Competency Development Curriculum is comprised of four tiers with Tier I as the foundation.  The majority of academic focus and career awareness takes place in this tier level.  As the youth moves up through the tiers, s/he spends more time in an actual work setting and less time in the classroom.  Therefore, the youth must achieve the appropriate competencies before moving on to the next tier.  The Career Competencies have been implemented in both a Summer Youth Employment Program and a year-round approach to serving in-school youth.  This approach has evolved from research into best practices for Capital Workforce Partners. The Youth Employment and Learning Program is a year-round set of services in four progressive tiers targeted to youth ages 14-19[1]:

[1] Youth can be no older than 18 at time of application for the Youth Employment and Learning Program and must be currently enrolled in middle or high school during year-round programming.

The Career Competencies have been divided into the following content standards:

TIER I – Project -based Learning and Career Exploration

School to Career Strategy Tiered Level ProgrammingCareer exposure activities and introduction competency development and team building. For youth ages 14 – 16.

TIER II Simulated Work Environments and Career Exploration

Continuation of competency development.  Youth participate in a simulated work environment and participate in job shadowing and/or sector-related field trips. For ages 15 – 18.

TIER III – Enhanced Employability Skills Training and Employment

Youth participate in subsidized internships preceded by competency development, and they are supervised by both the work site and a teacher/program coordinator.  Suitable for ages 16+.

TIER IV – Career Connections

“Work and Learn” model designed to transition high school seniors and juniors to a successful career path. Through help from a school-based career coordinator, youth receive mentoring, job readiness workshops, learn how to conduct a job search and secure unsubsidized, private sector employment.  For ages 17+.

Definition Notes

As stated above, the competencies can be applied to all learners.  However, it is imperative when working with learners, that instructors know at which level each individual learner is functioning.

An important factor to note in the interpretation of this chart is that the tier levels do not exactly match the corresponding grade or CASAS levels.  Because there are eight categories of competencies, and a learner can potentially be at varying levels of development in those competencies, one will not always fall into a nice, clean category.  For instance, a learner could score very high in reading, but not have the work or life experience to warrant a “competent” score in other competencies such as problem solving and decision making or interpersonal skills.  However, logic tells us that if a learner is just beginning his or her career education and/or is reading at a lower level, most likely other competencies will be assessed within the same range or tier level…and so on.

Also noteworthy is that the Capital Workforce Partners Career Competency System was developed in the state of Connecticut. As a Workforce Investment Board, Capital Workforce Partners must assess the skills of many of the job seekers we serve. To do this, and in conjunction with Connecticut State Department of Education, Adult Education policies, we assess reading and math skills through the use of the Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment Systems[1] (CASAS).

The CASAS is a competency-based assessment tool. This means it does not compare one learner’s assessment to another’s, but instead assesses a learner’s ability against pre-established competency standards. The CASAS has been used to assess learners as young as 14 years old. Therefore, as you will see from the chart, the CASAS can be used for youth and adults. However, we have added grade level to help guide teachers and guidance counselors who are unfamiliar with CASAS. PLEASE NOTE: CASAS scores do not correspond to grade level.