What Is Employment Readiness?

Employment readiness is defined as being able, with little or no outside help, to find, acquire, and keep an appropriate job as well as to be able to manage transitions to new jobs as needed.

The Employment Readiness Model is based on the assumption that becoming employment ready means completing three interrelated goals:

  1. Self-sufficiency in five employability dimensions:
    • Career decision-making, or knowing what type of work suits you
    • Skills enhancement, or having the skills for the work you want
    • Job search, or having the skills to find work
    • Job maintenance, or having the skills to keep work once found
    • Ongoing career management, or being able to manage career changes
  2. Understanding the particular stresses or challenges one faces:
    • Personal challenges, which clients can address themselves
    • Environmental challenges, which clients can manage with help
    • Systemic challenges, which have to be addressed on a community basis
  3. Coping effectively with the stresses or challenges one faces, drawing on four sources of supports:
    • Self-efficacy, or a sense of being able to perform well
    • Outcome expectancy, or whether or not a client expects to succeed and is willing to take responsibility for creating that success
    • Social supports, or the client's network and ability to get help
    • Work history, or the client's feeling that they have performed well in past work contexts, paid or unpaid

Research shows that just being self-sufficient in the five employability dimensions is not enough. Most clients face a number of barriers or challenges that act as stressors and can be incapacitating if not managed well. Clients facing significant challenges without assistance in handling them are likely to fail at work even if they are successful in getting a job. So all three parts of the Employment Readiness Model are equally important.