The Challenge of "Soft Skills" Measurement: Toward a Common Approach

Workforce Connections (USAID, FHI 360, Child Trends, Making Cents International, and RTI International)

Join the Workforce Connections Community of Practice​ launch event! The goal of Workforce Connections is to promote dialogue and knowledge exchange among international youth workforce development professionals. 

Participate in-person or via webinar. Register here.

Luis Crouch, RTI International
Clare Ignatowski, USAID Office of Education
Laura Lippman and Kristin Anderson Moore, Child Trends

About the Event: There is widespread agreement among employers, international donors and youth development practitioners that “soft skills” (e.g. communications, teamwork, and problem-solving), are important for successful transition into adulthood and for success in the workplace. Research carried out in the US has highlighted the importance of noncognitive skills or character traits such as conscientiousness, self-regulation and perseverance on long-term success in education and in wages. 

However, agreement is lacking around the definitions of and terminology for these skills, and more importantly, which skills are the most important for work readiness, particularly in developing country contexts. This lack of consensus and lack of assessment frameworks and tools to measure the development of those skills across different international contexts are obstacles to the field of youth workforce development.

Join the discussion! This event will provide an in-depth review of recent and current efforts toward standardizing measurement approaches to soft and noncognitive skills in international workforce development programs, while drawing on lessons learned from past efforts that resulted in a common measurement approach to USAID early grade reading programs. 

-RTI International: Lessons learned from the development of the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) measurement tool
-USAID Office of Education: Results of “Scan and Review of Life Skills Measurement Tools,” a report completed by JBS International for USAID in 2013
-Child Trends: Preview of a Workforce Connections initiative to develop a common conceptual framework for soft and noncognitive skills measurement in international workforce development, based on a review of empirical evidence and other relevant literature, and in consultation with key stakeholders

Moderated by: Lara Goldmark, Director of Workforce Connections, FHI 360 and Eric Johnson, Supervisory Education Development Specialist, USAID


Event Location:
Child Trends
7315 Wisconsin Ave., Suite 1200W
Bethesda, MD 20814

Workforce Connections is funded by the USAID Office of Education and managed by FHI 360. Partners include Making Cents InternationalChild Trendsand RTI International.