Common Skills Language Platform Concept

The new Common Skills Library Platform provides both business and education with a common language to define work and associated learning expectations. This will enable multi-disciplinary partners to align the curriculum with, and develop course materials that are more relevant and responsive to employers’ needs. Workforce professionals also can use the new Common Skills Library Platform in building career development and referral strategies around what job-seekers know and can do. By depicting common language across all the occupations to which they apply, the new skills library facilitates more granular transferable skills analysis for more efficient re-employment of dislocated and trade affected workers than can be achieved using occupational title matching. Most important, employers can rely on the new library to guide recruiting, succession planning, in-house training or outsourcing of their human capital development.

There are many potential benefits and uses of the new Common Skills Library Platform, which include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Job Seekers/Displaced Workers:

    • Provides information about occupational work activities that can aid career exploration.
    • Provides a structure for describing work experiences for building a resume and articulating work performed in previous jobs.
    • The more general nature of the statements facilitates cross-occupational comparisons and helps displaced workers identify new areas of work that match their capabilities.
  • Organizations

    • Can be used to determine commonalities across a group of occupations.
    • Provides a bounded, standardized structure for profiling work requirements that employers can use to write job orders or position descriptions.
    • Used as a common language to define job openings and write job descriptions/orders.
    • Development in the common or core knowledge and skills required in occupations for potential use in performance reviews, etc.
    • Promotes the use of a common language for describing the activities that occur within occupations to serve as a basis for industry sector skill standards.
    • Facilitates effective communication with the business community for developing a skilled workforce.
  • Student/Career Counsler

    • Facilitates training program searches by learners to improve skills or generate learning plans.
    • Can be used in career guidance to explain the work activities associated with a given occupation and provide a realistic job preview.
    • Can be used to aid students in understanding where they can apply their school-based knowledge to work settings.
  • Teachers

    • Helps teachers with program planning and curriculum development.
    • Facilitates effective communication with the educational community for developing a skilled workforce.
    • The common language allows educators to use DWAs in analyzing transferable skills and skill gaps.
  • Labor Exchanges

    • Could be used to provide a standard language in electronic labor exchanges to analyze transferable skills and skill gaps.
    • Can be used to create personalized training and development plans based on remediating skills gaps identified between workers’ current profiles and their career goals.

Existing and Future Development

The development of an initial, employer-validated detailed skills library represents a major accomplishment. The success of the Common Skills Language Platform lies in three pillars of strength: a commitment to creating and growing a collaborative public/private partnership; the investment of public resources across a broad swath of agencies; and innovation and high levels of collaboration and time commitments on the part of Texas employers. To take the Common Skills Language Platform from experiment to reality, piece-by-piece public sector funding was sought and secured.  While the initial funding has been critical to the creation of C4EO and the Common Skills Language Platform, additional funding will help C4EO complete the project and bring exciting new applications (based upon the Common Skills Language Platform) to stakeholders and education partners across the country.

Current public sector funding has been granted by the following:

1) The DOL/ETA Workforce Information grant for Common Skills Language Platform data development and validation.
2) Workforce Investment Act Dislocated Worker funds to develop the performance level metrics.
3) Carl Perkins Career and Technology Education funds to study and align CTE learning objectives with the new skills library and to develop a data collection framework to collect Workplace Basics information for the Common Skills Language Platform. In addition to public sector funding, staff contributed untold pro bono time and resources to the project, extending data collection, outreach and collaboration beyond the scope of available funding.