Chamber begins second year of soft skills

A Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce program is working hard to help future job-seekers develop soft skills needed in the workplace.

Called Capable, the program was launched in the Cape Girardeau School District last year. It aims to help students learn how to write a professional email, organize and prioritize tasks and collaborate with co-workers, according to a recent story by business editor Jay Wolz.

“The first year, it was really just an awareness campaign,” according to chamber marketing and communications specialist Taylor Laws, who coordinates the program. She said the second year will focus on discussions and active participation among students at all grade levels. “Elementary, middle school, junior high, high school and the CTC (Career Technology Center),” she said.

Each month, according to Wolz’s reporting, students and classroom teachers will be encouraged to discuss and practice soft skills. In August, for example, the skill was assertiveness. This month, the focus will be on initiative. In the coming months, topics will include essential soft skill qualities such as empathy, integrity, resourcefulness, objectivity, curiosity and decisiveness.

The chamber helps spur the conversations with week-by-week suggestions for classroom discussions, available on the organization’s website. Laws said she hopes the program will expand to other districts in the region.

Soft skills come naturally to some, but not as much to others. Soft skills are essential in the workplace. This program will be helpful to individuals who seek jobs, and also for businesses seeking to hire coachable, conscientious and socially prepared people.