Work Readiness Tool

U.S. Department of Labor Employment & Training Administration (ETA)

The Work Readiness Tool from the Workforce Investment Act Youth Program is a checklist and rubric of foundational life skills needed for successful employment.

What This Includes

Skills addressed: Attendance, Reliability, Taking Initiative, Quality of Work, Communication, Cooperation, Responsibility, Teamwork, Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Diversity Awareness


  • Foundational employment skills checklist, definitions, and performance expectations
  • Rubric with definitions of performance expectations on a four-step grading scale
  • Tips for effective use of the tool

Key Takeaways

  • The tool focuses on the workplace success foundational skills needed for successful employment, such as taking initiative, communication, and problem solving.
  • Employers can customize and use this tool to provide employees with a description of work expectations, communicate regular performance feedback, and devise a performance improvement plan with goals.
  • Employers and workforce development programs can use the checklist and performance rubric as a self-assessment tool to help employees or job seekers identify their skill gaps and areas for skill building.
  • Although this tool was developed for youth summer employment programs, it could be used in adult educational settings, such as community-based education, workplace education, or workforce development programs, as an authentic document in workforce development curriculum activities.

The U.S. Department of Labor Employment & Training Administration (ETA) developed the Work Readiness Tool for employers participating in hiring youth for summer work programs. The tool includes a description of how content was designed from “public study, private research, and practical local application.” The public entity was ETA’s Building Blocks for Competency Models for foundational life skills content. Developers drew on the work of private research groups, including the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, Society for HR Management, and Corporate Voices. The tool design is based on the Massachusetts Work-Based Learning Plan, among other employability profiles.


Critical & Creative Thinking

Emotional Intelligence

Leadership & Initiative

Navigating & Using Information

Respecting Differences


Teamwork & Collaboration

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