The Need for Durable Skills Beyond School

In today’s world, technical skills are advancing faster than ever before. Yet there is a set of very important skills that will last a lifetime. These skills are now deemed “Durable Skills.” These skills “include a combination of how you use what you know – skills like critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity – as well as character skills like fortitude, growth mindset, and leadership.” - America Succeeds.

In 2020-2021, America Succeeds conducted a study of over 80 million job postings in the United States. The study focused on what skills employers were asking for in their job openings. The durable skills not only include what we used to call “soft” or “21st-century skills” such as communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking. It also includes skills like leadership, growth mindset, and fortitude. In an age where a combination of these skills is needed more than ever before, education must adapt to provide learning opportunities to meet these needs.

The 10 Durable Skills Competencies are:

  1. Leadership: Directing efforts and delivering results
  2. Character: Personal and professional conduct
  3. Collaboration: Teamwork and connection
  4. Communication: Information exchange and management
  5. Creativity: New ideas and novel solutions
  6. Critical Thinking: Informed ideas and effective solutions
  7. Metacognition: Self-understanding and personal management
  8. Mindfulness: Interpersonal and self-awareness
  9. Growth Mindset: Improvement and aspiration
  10. Fortitude: Constitution and inspiration

This quote by America Succeeds supports how education needs to adapt to build success for all learners. “America Succeeds believes better integrating Durable Skills into education pathways will help ensure a broader group of learners ultimately find success in their careers and communities.” To better understand just what Durable Skills are, let’s dig a little deeper.


The graphic above shows the ten in the middle circle of the Durable Skills Wheel. To better understand what each competency means, check out “Defining Durable Skills” from America Succeeds. It is important to understand what these mean and how they connect the modern ever-changing job market. While individuals with Durable Skills will succeed in a variety of career paths, they will help each learner be successful in life. By incorporating durable skills into education and work-based learning, we can make sure the future generations of workers are equipped with the skills they need to be successful. Our economy and society depend on a skilled workforce with the Durable Skills to adapt to an ever-changing world.

For more information, check out the Durable Skills study by America Succeeds. 

About the Author:

Jordan Menning is an educational consultant and leader that has a passion for making sure each learner has meaningful real-world learning experiences. His dedication to education has led him to lead educators and schools to implement project-based learning (PBL) throughout the country. Over the course of the last 12 years, Jordan has taught ELA, math, science, and STEM. Jordan has also been an instructional coach, consultant, and Future Ready leader. 


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