Employability Skills: A moral compass in disguise

There is an ethical/moral undercurrent flowing in and through the muddy waters of employability skills – let us set sail on fragile ships of reason and emotion to discover their secrets.   “In addition to specific job-related training, NWTC has identified core abilities that are transferable and go beyond the context of a specific course. Introduction to ethics addresses the following employability skills.”

   The students in ethics class are given a list of employability skills and a list of ethics guidelines from the survey “How Moral Am I?” by John Chafee, Ph.D., The Thinker’s Way, and  they are directed to match the employability skills with the ethical guidelines from the survey.  After they have completed the matching, they then break up into small groups to compare their results.


  • Demonstrate Personal Accountability

Make morality a priority – in order to live a life that achieves your moral potential, you must work to become aware of the moral issues that you face, and strive to make choices that are grounded in thoughtful reflection, and supported by persuasive reason.

  • Think Critically and Creatively

Develop a clear moral code – The key to living a moral life is developing a clear, intelligent moral code to guide your choices.

  • Work Cooperatively and Professionally

The ethic of justice is built on the concept of impartiality, which is our moral obligation to treat everyone equally, with the same degree of consideration and respect we give to ourselves, unless there is some persuasive reason not to.

  • Value Individual Differences and Abilities

The ethic of care expresses a moral responsibility to others, which is based on your ability to empathize, to imaginatively put yourself in the other person’s situations, and to view the world from their perspectives.

  • Demonstrate Community and Global Accountability

Universalize – Whatever I am about to do, like hold the door for someone; what would happen if everyone would do what I am about to do – would the world be a better place?

  • Communicate Effectively

Although Immanuel Kant’s suggestion that we treat people always as “ends” and never as a “means to our own ends may seem extreme, we should perhaps take his recommendation more seriously than we normally do. We are to treat people as ends, and not means.

  • Demonstrate Personal Accountability

Accept responsibility for your moral choices – it is impossible to achieve genuine moral stature without accepting responsibility for the choices that you make. Strengthen your moral integrity by actively seeking to acknowledge your moral failings, and then committing yourself to improve. Self-honesty will build your inner strength and moral fiber, and you will find that moral integrity of this sort is both rewarding and habit forming.

  • Communicate Effectively
  • Work Cooperatively and Professionally

Seek to promote human happiness; happiness can breed happiness, in the same way that aggression escalates aggression and negativity inspires negativity. Happiness and goodwill are not limited commodities. There are, in fact, inexhaustible supplies. See Aristotle’s recipe for Happiness or Just Be Happy!

  • Think Critically and Creatively

An informed moral intuition is the product of a thoughtful exploration and reflection on moral issues throughout your life. What are the basic qualities that define who we ought to be as individuals and how we should treat others?

  • Demonstrate Personal Accountability

Choosing to be an ethical person, that is a person of character, compassion, and integrity is a daily struggle that requires true grit and determination. You must consciously choose to achieve your moral potential, reflecting on the moral choices you make and working to clarify, and refine your moral code.

  • Solve Problems Effectively

To stem the tide in our society we must make efforts to “teach values” and “sensitize” people in schools and organizations to awaken to the world around them, to write letters to powers that be, to form social interest groups, to accept the challenge of Ghandi, “I must become the change that I want to make.” I must enlighten and convince others by the carefulness of my reasoning, the soundness of my decisions, the proper disposition of my heart, and the impact of my behavior in promoting social justice issues. To leave the cave of darkness and walk into the light of truth and justice even though others will laugh at you and reject what you stand for.


(An adaptation of A Critical Review of Society –The Thinker’s Way by John Chafee, Ph.D.,  from a survey, “How Moral Am I?” pages 306 to 308.)              

Roger J. Vanden Busch – September 18, 2014

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