Common Employability Skills Framework

National Network of Business and Industry Associations

The Common Employability Skills Framework identifies a core set of fundamental skills using a common vocabulary that potential employees need in the workplace.

What This Includes

Skills addressed: Integrity, Initiative, Dependability & Reliability, Adaptability, Professionalism, Technology, Critical Thinking, Teamwork, Communication, Respect, Planning & Organizing, Problem Solving, Decision Making


  • An integrated framework of personal and employability skills that are applicable across disciplines and job sectors
  • Detailed descriptions of core skills in four cross-disciplinary areas: personal skills, people skills, applied knowledge (academic), and workplace skills

Key Takeaways

  • The target audience for this framework includes three groups: employers (to identify and name key skills they’re looking for), employees (to identify key skills they have or lack and better articulate them to potential employers), and educators (to aid in the construction of workforce development curricula that emphasizes explicit instruction of those key skills).
  •  This tool is best utilized as a framework to develop instructional curricula and assessments using the skill descriptions and indicators. Most easily integrated into intermediate/advanced High School Equivalency (HSE) classes and workforce development workshops.
  •  With adaptation, can be used with intermediate and advanced English language learners.

The National Network of Business and Industry Associations represents major business sectors and is funded through a collaborative partnership of Business Roundtable (BRT), ACT Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Joyce Foundation, and Lumina Foundation. Members include leaders in the manufacturing, retail, healthcare, energy, construction, hospitality, transportation, and information technology sectors. They represent the source of nearly 75 percent of projected U.S. job growth through 2020 (an estimated 30 million new jobs).

Adaptability & Flexibility


Critical & Creative Thinking

Digital Literacy

Leadership & Initiative

Navigating & Using Information


Teamwork & Collaboration

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