About SCANS
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In 1992 the Secretary of Labor's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills surveyed a group of business and education leaders to identify the skills that adults needed for success in the workplace. The group named five workplace competencies and three foundation skills.

Workplace Competencies

  1. Resources: allocating time, money, materials, space, staff;
  2. Interpersonal skills: working on teams, teaching others, serving customers, leading, negotiating, and working well with people from culturally diverse backgrounds.
  3. Information: acquiring and evaluating data; organizing and maintaining files, interpreting information, and using computers to process information.
  4. Systems: understanding social, organizational, and technological systems, monitoring and correcting performance, and designing or improving systems.
  5. Technology: selecting equipment and tools, applying technology to specific tasks, and maintaining and troubleshooting technologies.

Foundation Skills

  1. Basic Skills: listening, speaking, reading, writing, and mathematics.
  2. Thinking Skills: thinking creatively, making decisions, solving problems, seeing things in the mind's eye, knowing how to learn, and reasoning.
  3. Personal Qualities: individual responsibility, self-esteem, sociability, self-management and integrity.


You can read the SCANS reports on line at the U.S.Department of Labor Web site.

The SCANS Commission did not provide specific instructions on how to incorporate its skills into lessons; however, many adult learning agencies have used these skills as a focus for their lessons.

  • The Spring Institute for International Studies has been designated by the Federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and the Colorado Refugee Services Program (CRSP) to provide technical assistance for English Language Training (ELT) programs serving refugees. The ELT Web site provides lesson plans based on SCANS workplace competencies. Lessons were designed for second language learners.
  • The Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS) has correlated its life skills competencies to the SCANS foundations skills and workplace competencies (CASAS 1996).
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