Developed by Brenda Procter and Wilma Schuh, Consumer and Family Economics Specialist, University of Missouri Extension

Relationship to Building Strong Families
Meeting job demands can be difficult for any employee, especially when no one is at home during the day to meet the demands of a family. Recently enacted welfare reform legislation sets time limits on benefits and requires many adults—primarily women—to enter or reenter the job market.

Many of those leaving welfare also are dealing with serious issues such as current or recent domestic abuse, lack of affordable housing and transportation, and low wages with no benefits. Researchers have identified skills that can contribute to employee success in any job. Strong families work on developing such skills to maintain employment or advance in an increasingly changeable and diverse workplace.

Brief program description
The Balancing Responsibilities session of Building Strong Families addresses strategies for personal and family adjustments when the balance between work and family demands shifts, as it often does. This session places more focus on the demands of the workplace itself and offers strategies for meeting them. It offers information and ideas for participants to better deal with paid employment, regardless of the particular job they hold. This program includes exercises for participants to explore their own strengths and skills and identify how they transfer to a work situation. Participants explore beliefs about working and receive researched-based information about what employers and employees really want. Hands-on activities allow participants to practice or discuss workplace skills.

Research findings
The majority of American families, including nearly 20 percent of those in poverty, have at least one full-time, year-round wage earner. Women have become increasingly active in the labor force over the last three decades, whether they are providing for their families as a sole wage earner or as one of two or more family wage earners. The changeability and increasingly technical nature of employment make it important that all workers develop certain core skills that can transfer from workplace to workplace. The typical worker will hold many different jobs in a lifetime.

Researchers have identified key “workplace competencies” and “foundation skills” that contribute to success in any workplace. The SCANS Report for America 2000 (June 1991) was written by the Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS). The report examines the demands of the workplace and discusses the workplace competencies and foundation skills required for effective job performance.

The report identifies five major categories of workplace competencies (see below). In addition, SCANS identifies certain foundation skills (see below).

Category of Competencies Specific Skills
Resources Identifies, organizes, plans, and allocates resources
Interpersonal Works with others
Information Acquires and uses information
Systems Understands complex interrelationships
Technology Works with a variety of technologies
Category of Foundation Skills Specific Skills
Basic skills Reads, writes, performs arithmetic and mathematical operations, listens, and speaks.
Thinking skills Thinks creatively, makes decisions, solves problems, visualizes, knows how to learn, and reasons effectively.
Personal qualities Displays responsibility, self-esteem, sociability, self-management, integrity and honesty.

Goals and objectives

  • To identify personal beliefs about working; 
  • To identify competencies and skills that employers expect; 
  • To identify personal strengths that can contribute to employment success; 
  • To translate personal strengths into skills that can be used on a resume or job application; 
  • To practice interviewing.

Target audience
Working families with children

If you have any questions or need information, contact:

Kathy Dothage
Building Strong Families Program Coordinator
University of Missouri Extension
1205 University Avenue, Ste. 400
Columbia, MO 65211

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Last updated: 05/16/2017
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