• Alert:

    Community Transmission - HIGH - Masks required by all K-12 - Covid FAQ

Close alert

What Employers Expect

The United States Department of Labor provides guidance to schools on the skills required of students to enter employment.  This guidance derives from discussions and meetings with business owners, public employers, unions, and workers and supervisors in shops, plants, and stores.  The message from these sources is universal:  “good jobs will increasingly depend on people who can put knowledge to work.”  Future employees must be prepared to address two conditions which arose at the end of the last century, namely, the globalization of commerce and industry, and the explosive growth of technology on the job.


The Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) has identified the know-how required for successful performance of jobs today.  These SCANS skills consist of eight requirements, which divide into five COMPETENCIES and three FOUNDATIONS, as follows:



Basic Skills:  Reads, writes, performs arithmetic and mathematical operations, listens, and speaks.

A.     Reading – locates, understands, and interprets written information in prose and in documents such as manuals, graphs, and schedules

B.     Writing – communicates thoughts, ideas, information, and messages in writing; and creates documents such as letters, directions, manuals, reports, graphs, and flow charts

C.     Arithmetic/Mathematics – performs basic computations and approaches practical problems by choosing appropriately from a variety of mathematical techniques

D.     Listening – receives, attends to, interprets, and responds to verbal messages and other cues

E.      Speaking – organizes ideas and communicates orally


Thinking Skills:  Thinks creatively, makes decisions, solves problems, visualizes, knows how to learn, and reasons.

A.     Creative Thinking – generates new ideas

B.     Decision Making – specifies goals and constraints, generates alternatives, considers risks, and evaluates and chooses best alternative

C.     Problem Solving – recognizes problems and devises and implements plan of action

D.     Seeing Things in the Mind’s Eye – organizes and processes symbols, pictures, graphs, objects, and other information

E.      Knowing How to Learn – uses efficient learning techniques to acquire and apply new knowledge and skills

F.      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.

A.     Responsibility – exerts a high level of effort and perseveres towards goal attainment

B.     Self-Esteem – believes in own self-worth and maintains a positive view of self

C.     Sociability – demonstrates understanding, friendliness, adaptability, empathy, and politeness in group settings

D.     Self-Management – assesses self accurately, sets personal goals, monitors progress, and exhibits self-control

E.      Integrity/Honesty – chooses ethical courses of action


COMPETENCIES – attributes that today’s high-performance employer seeks in tomorrow’s employee:

Resources:  Identifies, organizes, plans, and allocates resources

A.     Time – selects goal-relevant activities, ranks them, allocates time, and prepares and follows schedules

B.      Money – uses or prepares budgets, makes forecasts, keeps records, and makes adjustments to meet objectives

C.     Material and Facilities – acquires, stores, allocates, and uses materials or space efficiently

D.     Human Resources – assesses skills and distributes work accordingly, evaluates performance and provides feedback


Interpersonal:  Works With Others

A.     Participates as a Member of a Team – contributes to group effort

B.     Teaches Others New Skills 

C.     Serves Clients/Customers – works to satisfy customers’ expectations

D.     Exercises Leadership – communicates ideas to justify position, persuades and convinces others, responsibly challenges existing procedures and policies

E.      Negotiates – works toward agreements involving exchange of resources, resolves divergent interests

F.      Works With Diversity – works well with men and women from diverse backgrounds


Information:  Acquires and uses information

A.     Acquires and Evaluates Information

B.     Organizes and Maintains Information

C.     Interprets and Communicates Information

D.     Uses Computers to Process Information


Systems:  Understands complex inter-relationships

A.      Understands Systems – knows how social, organizational, and technological systems work and operates effectively with them

B.       Monitors and Corrects Performance – distinguishes trends, predicts impacts on system operations, diagnoses deviations in systems’ performance and corrects malfunctions

C.      Improves or Designs Systems – suggests modification to existing systems and develops new or alternative systems to improve performance


Technology:  Works with a variety of technologies

A.       Selects Technology – chooses procedures, tools, or equipment including computers and related technologies

B.        Applies Technology to Task – understands overall intent and proper procedures for setup and operation of equipment

C.       Maintains and Troubleshoots Equipment – prevents, identifies, or solves problems with equipment, including computers and other technologies



Rose Tree Media curricula from grades K-12 and co-curriculars at the secondary level strive to address the FOUNDATIONS and COMPETENCIES specified by the SCANS commission and to help students develop the skills to become successful employees in the future.  Other pages in the RTM Curriculum section of the website, especially the course description section of the Penncrest Course Guide, amplify the courses in which these employment skills are practiced and developed. 


If you have further questions, please call the Directors of Teaching & Learning at the numbers listed in our contact information.



To read more about SCANS skills, visit the Department of Labor’s website at http://wdr.doleta.gov/SCANS/whatwork/