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Competencies for 21st Century Workers

Added By: DADAD Staff

November 26, 2019

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5 Competencies for 21st Century Workers

    The 5 Competencies for 21st Century Workers:


    • Communication – You need to be able to connect with others from different cultures

      • Reading, writing, Talking, Listening, Media Literacy
    • Technology – You need to be able to use 21st Century tools.

      • Internet, Phones, Computers
    • Information Management – You need to be able to filter and focus all the information available.

      • Critical Thinking, Decision Science
    • Continuous Improvement – You need to be able to continuously update your competencies

      • Manage change, Lifelong Learning
    • Financial – You need to be able to acquire money and move it around

      • Macro and Micro Economics, Political Science

    I came across a 1991 Report from the US Government called “The 5 Necessary competencies of 21st Century Workers.”  I wondered if it’s still relevant 20 years later. 


    And, while I would categorize the competencies a bit differently, overall this is worthy of consideration.


    They say the 5 Competencies for 21st Century workers are:


    • The Skill to manage your resources
    • The Skill to work with others
    • The Skill to use Information
    • The Skill to use Technology
    • The Skill to use Computers


    More importantly, I think is what they called “Three-Part Foundation”:


    • Basic Skills – Reading, Writing, etc
    • Thinking Skills – Decision Making
    • Personal Skills – Honesty, Dependability, etc.


     The key take away for me is that we can teach basic skills like reading and writing.  But you cannot teach skills like honesty and dependability.  Those skills you aren’t taught, yet somehow we learn.





    • Resources: Identifies, organizes, plans, and allocates resources
      • Time – Selects goal-relevant activities, ranks them, allocates time, and prepares and follows schedules
      • Money – Uses or prepares budgets, makes forecasts, keeps records, and makes adjustments to meet objectives
      • Material and Facilities – Acquires, stores, allocates, and uses materials or space efficiently
      • Human Resources – Assesses skills and distributes work accordingly, evaluates performance and provides feedback


    • Interpersonal: Works with others
      • Participates as Member of a Team—contributes to the group effort
      • Teaches Others New Skills
      • Serves Clients/Customers—works to satisfy customers’ expectations
      • Exercises Leadership—communicates ideas to justify position, persuades and convinces others, responsibly challenges existing procedures and policies
      • Negotiates—works toward agreements involving an exchange of resources, resolves divergent interests
      • Works with Diversity—works well with men and women from diverse backgrounds


    • Information: Acquires and uses information
      • Acquires and Evaluates Information
      • Organizes and Maintains Information
      • Interprets and Communicates Information


    • Uses Computers to Process Information Systems: Understands complex inter-relationships
      • Understands Systems—knows how social, organizational, and technological systems work and operates effectively with them
      • Monitors and Corrects Performance—distinguishes trends, predicts impacts on system operations, diagnoses deviations in systems’ performance and corrects malfunctions
      • Improves or Designs Systems—suggest modifications to existing systems and develops new or alternative systems to improve performance


    • Technology: Works with a variety of technologies
      • Selects Technology—chooses procedures or equipment including computers and related technologies
      • Applies Technology to Task—Understands overall intent and proper procedures for setup and operation of equipment
      • Maintains and Troubleshoots Equipment—Prevents, identifies, or solves problems with equipment, including computers and other technologies



    • Basic Skills: Reads, writes, performs arithmetic and mathematical operations, listens and speaks
      • Reading—locates, understands, and interprets written information in prose and in documents such as manuals, graphs, and schedules
      • Writing—communicates thoughts, ideas, information, and messages in writing; and creates documents such as letters, directions, manuals, reports, graphs, and flow charts
      • Arithmetic/Mathematics—performs basic computations and approaches practical problems by choosing appropriately from a variety of mathematical techniques
      • Listening—receives, attends to, interprets, and responds to verbal messages and other cues
      • Speaking—organizes ideas and communicates orally


    • Thinking Skills: Thinks creatively, makes decisions, solves problems, visualizes, knows how to learn, and reason
      • Creative Thinking—generates new ideas
      • Decision Making—specifies goals and constraints, generates alternatives, considers risks, and evaluates and chooses the best alternative
      • Problem Solving—recognizes problems and devises and implements a plan of action
      • Seeing Things in the Mind s Eye—organizes, and processes symbols, pictures, graphs, objects, and other information
      • Knowing How to Learn—uses efficient learning techniques to acquire and apply new knowledge and skills
      • Reasoning—discovers a rule or principle underlying the relationship between two or more objects and applies it when solving a problem


    • Personal Qualities: Displays responsibility, self-esteem, sociability, self-management~ and integrity, and honesty
      • Responsibility—exerts a high level of effort and perseveres towards goal attainment
      • Self-Esteem—believes in own self-worth and maintains a positive view of self
      • Sociability—demonstrates understanding, friendliness, adaptability, empathy, and politeness in group settings
      • Self-Management—assesses self accurately, sets personal goals, monitors progress, and exhibits self-control
      • Integrity/Honesty—chooses ethical courses of action
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