FOR THE PAST 40 YEARS, the primary purpose of our schools has been to maximize academic achievement. However, over that time, the world has greatly changed. We believe the purpose of schools today is to ensure students can think critically and creatively, collaborate effectively with others, apply skills and knowledge to solving real problems, and find meaningful, fulfilling ways to contribute to the world and their community.
In an era when technical skills are evolving at an unprecedented pace, there is an important set of durable ‘soft skills’ that last throughout an entire career—how we use what we know (critical thinking, communication, etc.) and our character skills. America Succeeds’ Durable Skills initiative seeks to ensure every individual is prepared with the soft skills necessary for success in the workforce regardless of educational attainment, career path, or industry sector.
Defining Durable Skills
Our hypothesis is that every job in every sector requires Durable Skills. Based on Lightcast’s database of tens of millions of employer job postings from the past two years, we started by categorizing 100 of the most in-demand Durable Skills into 10 major themes or competencies.
- Leadership: Directing efforts and delivering results
- Character: personal and professional conduct
- Collaboration: teamwork and connection
- Communication: Information exchange and management
- Creativity: New ideas and novel solutions
- Critical Thinking: Informed ideas and effective solutions
- Metacognition: Self understanding and personal management
- Mindfulness: Interpersonal and self awareness
- Growth Mindset: Improvement and aspiration
- Fortitude: Constitution and inspiration