Employability Skills

ACP Lesson Plan 

Title: Job Skills for Workplace SuccessAuthor: Nate Anderson
Subject(s)Special Education 
Grade Level(s): 6 - 12 Total Time: 60 - 90 minutes

Overview / Description:

Each activity is designed to help students identify and understand important job skills needed for success in the workplace.

Learning goals/objectives:

Students will be able to:

  • Identify general job skills, attributes, and qualities associated with highly successful employees and undesirable employees.
  • Define and know the difference between life skills, soft skills, career skills, and employability skills.
  • Understand and apply job skills into the workplace.
  • Identify personal job skills strengths and weakness.

Workplace Readiness Skill: 

 x   Social Skills  x  Communication 
 x   Teamwork     x    Critical Thinking
 x  Attitude and Initiative  x  Planning and Organization

Content Standards:

Wisconsin Comprehensive School Counseling Model

Personal/Social Domain

Standard E: Students will demonstrate effective decision-making, problem-solving, and goal-setting skills.

Career Domain

Standard G: Students will acquire the self-knowledge necessary to make informed career decisions.

Standard H: Students will understand the relationship between educational achievement and career development.

Standard I: Students will employ career management strategies to achieve future career success and satisfaction.

Wisconsin Common Career Technical Standards

CD / Career Development

CD1.c.5.m: Distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate behavior in a team setting.

CD2.a.2.m: Describe a diverse range of opportunities available beyond high school.

CD3.a.6.m: Build an ongoing awareness of personal abilities, skills, interests and motivation and determine how these fit with chosen career pathway.

CD4.a.9.h: Use positive work qualities typically desired in each of the career cluster’s pathways.


  • Post it notes
  • Scissors (Appendix A)
  • Whiteboard

Download: Appendix_A_A97oAji.pdf

Download: Appendix_B_Di2REwi.pdf

Learning Activities:

Activity One 

Length: 10 Minutes

Write the following on the board and draw a line down the middle: “Good Employee” vs “Bad Employee”.

1. Handout three “post it” notes to each student.

2. Ask students to write down three job skills, attributes, and/or qualities of a good employee?

3. Next, pair students with a partner or in a small group. 

4. Ask students to discuss and share what they wrote down with each other.

5. Each pair or small group will choose three post it notes and place them under the “good/bad employee” on the board.

6. Teacher will share and facilitate discussion as a whole group for all or select job skills, attributes, and qualities of a good/bad employee posted to the board.

7. Repeat steps 1-6 using the opposite question: 

Ask students to write down three job skills, attributes, and qualities of a “Bad Employee".


Good Employee

Bad Employee

On time to work

Tells the truth

Willing to learn new things

Good communicator

Flexible and adaptability to change


Works well with the team


Displays leadership qualities

Late to work

Lies about being sick


Not Taking Responsibility for Actions

Unwillingness to learn

Lack of motivation

Talking over others

Not following safety requirements 

Breaking the law

Activity Two

Length: 10 Minutes

1. Print and cut out Appendix A for as many groups as you desire.

2. Place all cut out rectangles in a bag and mix them all up. Keep the two large rectangles with Good Employee & Bad Employee out.

3. Give each group the two large rectangles with Good Employee & Bad Employee.  Each group will also be receiving 20 small rectangle slips with a good or bad employee job skill, attribute, and/or quality written on it.

4. Each group will read each slip and determine which category it fits best with.  There will be 10 small rectangle slips under each category.

5. Once group is complete, they should raise their hands and the teacher will go over and check answers.


Activity Three

Length: 10-15 Minutes

Provide students with the following information about the four different types of job skills needed to be successful in the workplace.


- Teacher lecture and students take notes

- Students define terms using the internet

- Provide students with informational handout and have large group discussion

1. Define “Life Skills” - Abilities that someone needs to get through everyday living.

-How to dress yourself

-How to brush your teeth

-How to feed yourself

-How to tie your shoes

-How to have a conversation

2. Define “Soft Skills” - Abilities that someone can use in any career. They’re called “soft” because they’re not skills that define someone’s work, like programming or repairing a car engine.

-Written communication

-Verbal communication

-Problem solving 


-Time management

3. Define “Career Skills” - Abilities that keep someone successful in a job or company, especially as a person gets promoted.



-Time management


4. Define “Employability Skills” - Abilities someone needs to find a job, apply to it, interview for it, and start working.

-Finding a job posting

-Writing a resume

-Completing an interview


Information/resources provided by:


Activity Four 

1. Divide your class into small groups. Have each group choose one job skill from appendix B list.

2. Provide each group with 10 minutes to think, research, and talk about their given job skill(s).  

3. Once they feel they have a clear understanding of their job skill as a group, have them come up with a good way to explain it to their classmates as well as two ways to model the job skill. “wrong” way and “right” way.

4. Each group will have 1-2 minutes to present to classmates.

Length: 30-45 minutes

  • Wrap-Up:

Formative assessment - Each student will be provided with two post it notes:

Write down a job skill that you feel is a personal strength? why?

Write down a job skill that you feel is a personal weakness? why?

Place each post it note under the correct category strength vs. weakness.

Each student will complete this task before the bell rings.  If there is time, have students share strength and/or weakness with the class and state why.

Length: 5-10 Minutes

Extension Activities:

-Guest speaker(s) could be invited to discuss job skills with students.

-Students could tour a local business/company to learn about types of skills necessary for different positions.

-Teacher could set up student job shadowing experiences.

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