High Plains Regional Education Cooperative (HPREC) is the first in New Mexico to offer WIN Learning’s WIN Soft Skills Series® to schools across its eight member districts. A web-based soft skills curriculum, WIN Soft Skills helps to build mastery around the behavioral, attitudinal, social, and readiness skills that both employers and post-secondary programs like college and trade schools demand.
“Recent research shows that our educational systems are not producing qualified applicants for available jobs in our workforce or college admissions because they are deficient in exhibiting soft skills such as the ability to think critically, solve problems, work in teams, communicate clearly and concisely, and take initiative,” said R. Stephen Aguirre, executive director, HPREC. “We owe it to all of our students to not only provide an exceptional academic experience, but to give them essential skills that set them apart in today’s competitive environments both in the workplace and post secondary institutions. That’s why we chose WIN Soft Skills.”
The research-based WIN Soft Skills program is part of the company’s Career-Driven Education model. This career and college readiness solution offers a three-pronged approach to prepare students for tomorrow’s economic opportunities. With the career exploration system, WIN Strategic Compass®, students can analyze current and projected labor market data to reveal career pathways. The program’s Initial Skills Review™ then measures individual career readiness and skill development gaps, which leads to the WIN Career Readiness® Courseware, offering direct, contextual instruction through applied academics for workplace skill mastery.
“The importance of soft skills was lost when schools started focusing more and more on things like AYP and standardized tests,” said Joseph Goins, executive vice president, WIN Learning. “The pendulum is swinging back, however, to an emphasis on more than just technical and academic competence. Knowing how to collaborate, to present oneself professionally, and think critically are now at the top of the list of requirements to be considered career and college ready.”
HPREC members will begin rolling out the WIN Soft Skills program this fall. The courseware includes four instructional modules that cover the most important skills required for college and the workplace readiness: conveying professionalism; communicating effectively; promoting teamwork and collaboration; and thinking critically and solving problems. All topics addressed in the courseware are revealed within the context of the workplace, to provide relevancy to the learning experience.
“We are excited about the flexibility of the program,” added Aguirre. “It enables teachers to incorporate the lessons across multiple age groups and classroom settings including whole-class, small group or as independent study. The program also includes a comprehensive implementation guide complete with scripted teacher lessons and support materials such as interactive activities, worksheets and videos. This give us the ability to deliver personalized, project-based activities that our students can and will relate to.”