Social and Emotional Learning(SEL) and Workforce Development

March 7, 2018

Submitted by Michael McKelvy, Workforce Matters

Social and Emotional Learning(SEL) and Workforce Development

In many middle schools and high schools around the country social and emotional learning practices ( are beginning to take hold.¹ More and more educational institutions are finding their students are having difficulty coping with today’s environment.

“Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. ²

SEL centers on self-awareness, self-management responsible decision making, relationship skills, and social awareness. Many times, the problems employers struggle with finding lasting employees has nothing to do with whether this person can fulfill the job requirements on the page, but can they handle all the other aspects of employment that make people successful.

It is time for workforce development programs start looking at not only the job description but the realities of the new workers and integrating more SEL ideas into their programs. To have not only employees that can do the work but employees that can last. We must train the entire person. Many people lack the skills that an SEL program is designed to bolster. By integrating SEL as part of a workforce program a more well-rounded person can be developed and allow that person to have lasting success in the workforce.

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1 Schools Grapple With How To Teach About Paris Attacks … (n.d.). Retrieved from

2 Koski, William. 2017. “A Civics Lesson.” Texas Law Review 95 (4). University of Texas, Austin, School of Law Publications, Inc.: 849.