Stacking the Deck

Necessary Skills Now Network

Stacking the Deck competency cards use the U.S. Department of Labor’s Engineering Competency Model categories to create opportunities for students to understand and practice employability skills.

What This Includes

Skills addressed: Interpersonal Skills, Integrity, Initiative, Adaptability, Critical Thinking, Technology, Organizing & Planning, Diversity & Inclusion, Self-Awareness

Learner resources

  • Five sets of competency cards based on the Department of Labor Engineering Competency Model to learn about and practice employability skills and practice interview questions
  • Competency card sets include Personal Effectiveness, Academic, Workplace Effectiveness, Industry-wide Technical, and Wildcard, which covers topics such as wellness and self-care, compassion and kindness, interviewing tips, and career exploration and advancement

Key Takeaways

  • The employability skills practiced in the deck are based on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Competency Model, reflecting what employees are expected to know and how they are expected to act.
  • Each of the competencies includes a challenge to seek out opportunities to practice employability skills, which become experiences to talk about in interviews.
  • Although this product was developed with engineering students in mind, all of the decks except for the Industry-wide Technical deck, could be used by students in other fields.
  • The decks could be used in adult education and workforce development classes and coaching to help students reflect on and build a more robust resume of experiences for employment interviews.

The Necessary Skills Now Network facilitates collaboration between educators and employers with the goal of improving the employability skills of those entering STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. It is funded by the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education program. The organization offers networking activities and professional development, as well as curating shared instructional resources, such as Stacking the Deck, to help instructors build their students’ employability skills. The Stacking the Deck competency cards were created by mechanical engineering faculty members at Ohio University.

Adaptability & Flexibility


Critical & Creative Thinking

Digital Literacy

Emotional Intelligence

Leadership & Initiative

Navigating & Using Information

Respecting Differences


Teamwork & Collaboration

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