Students Receive Recognition for Employability Skills

Belton, TX – The Temple Independent School District is the first district in Central Texas to have students receive certifications for employability skills. Seventy Temple High School Students are the first Central Texas High School students this year to achieve the Conover Workplace Readiness Credential through the Student Occupational Awareness and Recognition Program (SOAR) provided by Workforce Solutions of Central Texas. The Workplace Readiness program currently has seventeen components and each program takes approximately 1-2 hours to complete. The Workplace Readiness Credential is recognized by the National Soft Skills Association. The students will be presented their certificates on February 5, and 12, at the Temple High School Career Center.

“Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are the drivers of innovation and are priorities in our academic programming at Temple Independent School District,” said Superintendent Dr. Bobby Ott. “But we also know that employability skills are a key component to our students preparing for jobs and careers success.”

Research conducted by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation, and Stanford Research Center have all concluded that 85% of job success comes from having well‐developed employability and people skills and only 15% of job success comes from technical skills and knowledge (hard skills). Soft skills have been identified as critically important for workplace success for almost 100 years. The Workplace Readiness Credential and the Student Occupational Awareness and Recognition Program (SOAR) were developed to address these critical workplace skills.

“I am excited that Temple High School students were able to participate in the program. I’m probably the proudest, however, at the success of these seventy students for being the first in Central Texas but for their commitment to complete the certification. I have to give these students 100% credit for the more than thirty hours they committed to this training,” Dr. Ott commented.

The Student Occupational Awareness and Recognition (SOAR) Program is currently operating in eight school districts in Central Texas including Temple, Belton, Killeen, Troy, Salado, Troy, Lampasas, Gatesville and Academy. The program provides career guidance and information to middle school and high school students. Charley Ayres is the Director of Industry/Education Partnerships for Workforce Solutions of Central Texas and oversees the program.

“We are excited about our partnerships and the school districts have really made us feel like a part of their mission to prepare students for life after high school. We are in the second year of programming and in spite of the pandemic, the staff has engaged over 16,900 students this school year,” Ayres said.

The mission of the Career and Technical Education program in Temple ISD is to inspire, motivate, and empower students to reach their maximum potential. As that relates to career education, the students are being prepared for workforce readiness and lifelong learning through real-world business and industry experiences as well as post-secondary education exposure as a part of their high school experience.

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