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NoblesvilleWORKS: City first in state to focus on your ‘soft skills’

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Noblesville, Ind. (August 26, 2015) - You have the education and technical skills to do the job, but do you have the soft skills to land the job and keep it?

Soft skills are strengths like communication and attitude.

Noblesville is leading the way with soft skill development as the first community in the state to create an emphasis on improving them.

The Workforce Development Council has launched the NoblesvilleWORKS campaign.

Project leader Sarah Reed said local business owners told the city they needed help finding employees with soft skills, such as showing up on time and showing respect.

So Reed's team worked with the Chamber of Commerce, businesses, schools and a PR firm to create NoblesvilleWORKS.

"We’re happy our employers are wanting this," said Mayor John Ditslear. "I think it’s going to be helpful to everyone to get a job. What we do today will certainly affect people’s tomorrows."

There are 12 key themes for the year and the city will focus on one a month.

Schools focus on the theme and families, businesses and job seekers have access to the materials online, free of charge.

"We hope that we just lay the framework and they take it and run with it however they would like to," said Reed. "We've already had schools reach out to us. We've had churches reach out to us. We know it is reaching our homes and our families, which is important."

"We've had people like retired teachers reach out and say how can we help? We've also had businesses ask if there is training available. So what we’re trying to do is put those things together so when people say how can I help and we need help, we make that connection and then it’s basically grass roots growing all on its own."

Mayor Ditslear said, "Everybody has the hard skills, the things they got in school, technical skills, math, whatever, but it was those soft skills, attitude, faith, working together, all of those soft skills, some people were lacking."

"Soft skills are important. I think it’s important to be able to communicate, to be loyal, to be faithful, to tell the truth, to have a positive attitude. We've all heard attitude is everything. And it is."

There are posters and social media graphics and posts you can access here.

"People and businesses can get involved by using social media that we've already pre-programmed and they can take that and run with it to the next step," said Reed.

Reed said September's theme is teamwork.

"We hope that will be highlighted throughout the school system," said Reed."I know that at least the high school and the middle school are using it and the elementary schools have reached out to us and we've talked to them about how they’re including it in their project-based learning initiatives they have."

"October is flexibility, so that is being able to be flexible at work. When things change or someone calls you the day before and wants to do an interview, you’re just able to be flexible and jump up and respond to those inquiries. Flexibility is important. You need to be able to, at any point in time, change what you have planned and go with the flow."

Mayor Ditslear said, "It’s necessary for all of our people, particularly young people, to get a job, keep a job, and be able to relate and to have more effectiveness in their job."

Noblesville Schools Superintendent Dr. Beth Niedermeyer said, "What really makes the Noblesville Works initiative so powerful is that these efforts we have been focused on within the schools will now be aligned with the community at large. There’s a strong synergy that comes from focusing on the same thing at the same time as a community, and this synergy will further student capabilities in this critical area."

Reed added, "Our hopes are that big businesses in Noblesville will take this and create activities or challenges for their workforce around it. That small businesses might make an outing out of it, they might do a group learning activity. The goal is to have the employees feel like the employers care about them and that they want to enhance their well being, so it’s making the employee feel like they are part of a dedicated workplace. It’s that relationship between employers and employees that I think is import."

NoblesvilleWORKS is partially funded by Duke Energy.

The Workforce Development Council which is comprised of Noblesville Schools’ administrators and counselors, the Noblesville Chamber of Commerce, Ivy Tech and Work One, the Noblesville Economic Development Department, non-profit organizations and several local businesses. The council started in the fall of 2012 to provide strategies and a collaborative approach to improve workforce preparedness and training for individuals.