Foundational Skills for College and Career Success

Image of first page of Sample Foundational Skills form

High school special education teachers and transition specialists know that it takes more than academics to succeed in college. In order to be successful college students, independent citizens and employees, young adults with disability also need to master foundational skills that support continued success in a diverse and ever-changing society (Hart, Boyle, & Jones, 2018). These skills are called foundational skills because they are the skills upon which all others are built and include skills related to personal academic and career habits.

Some educators refer to these skills as soft skills. They are non-academic skills students need to acquire to help them succeed in life but are often overlooked because they are considered difficult to define and teach. However, without the ability to communicate, problem-solve, collaborate, and make decisions independently, young adults with disability are less likely to be successful in college or employment.

One resource that teachers and families can use to help students develop these skills is a tool called the Foundational Skills for College and Career Learning Plan. The tool and process is student-centered to assist teachers, students and families in teaching and learning foundational skills in naturally occurring inclusive settings.