Career Readiness Framework

Chicago Jobs Council

The Chicago Jobs Council Career Readiness Framework describes evidence-based best practices for how to organize client-centered workforce development programming.

What This Includes

Skills addressed: Written & Verbal Communication, Goal Setting, Time Management, Creative Thinking, Decision Making, Problem Solving, Adaptability, Persistence, Leadership, Teamwork, Collaboration

Program Development & Design

  • Research on the essential skills and workplace navigation skills, such as communication and creativity, and their importance to career success
  • Research-based strategies for delivering workforce development, including three key elements of program design: executive function skills, a client-led goal attainment process, and individualized coaching in a supportive environment
  • Theory of change graphic with text description of the organizational culture shifts and mindsets needed for change, including understanding and adoption of behavioral science research, racial equity practices, trauma-informed care approach, and a client-centered mindset
  • Program components to strengthen executive function skills, technical skills, and workplace navigation skills
  • Appendices with literature review, interview list, and a Mind Map of Career Readiness Framework and Behavioral Science Research

Key Takeaways

  • Programs can use this framework to analyze and make changes to the organizational operations of existing programs or develop new client-centered career readiness programs.
  • Programs can use this framework to build staff awareness and understanding of the impact that social bias, persistent poverty, and systemic inequity have on their BIPOC clients.
  • The framework describes in detail workplace navigation skills or success skills such as communication and critical thinking.
  • The framework advocates building and strengthening executive function skills, such as organization, emotional control, and flexibility, by incorporating them into all aspects of program design so that clients who are dealing with challenging life circumstances, stress, and trauma are repeatedly using them and imprinting new behaviors.

The Chicago Job Council was founded in 1981 to track economic development funds earmarked for low-income Chicago residents. Today its programming and mission aim to create stable employment with career advancement opportunities to bring about strong communities with a focus on racial equity. The organization works in collaboration with city, state, and national groups on economic development, jobs, education, and transportation barriers, including managing the Chicagoland Green Collar Jobs Initiative coalition from 2009 to 2013. The council offers training through the Frontline Focus Training Institute to build the capacity of frontline workforce development workers, leadership, and programs to organizations across the country. The organization offers several staff credentials, including the Workforce Professional Credential earned over an 11-month period with a learning cohort. A career readiness curriculum is in development to accompany the framework.

Adaptability & Flexibility


Critical & Creative Thinking

Leadership & Initiative


Teamwork & Collaboration

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