On the morning of Thursday, October 22, the Chatham Student Government (CSG) held its hour-long meeting in the Conover Room in Mellon, discussing the essentialness of developing soft skills, such as politeness and working effectively with others, in college. They were specifically discussing a program by the name of Chamber of Commerce DDI, which founded an online program that can help people develop soft skills for the real world, especially for college students and current employees.
The meeting started with a representative of Chamber of Commerce DDI showing statistics of college students who claim to have soft skills. Studies show that seven out of 10 college students have claimed that they have invested their time into developing their soft skills.
“Some of my friends from other universities say that their colleges haven’t [taught] them soft skills,” Phoebe Armstrong, representative for the Class of 2016 said. “For me, at Chatham they encourage you to go to extracurricular activities and organizations. They have prepared us for the workplace.”
Many of the CSG members agreed that soft skills are important to develop in the workplace. Chamber of Commerce DDI’s online guide provides scenarios of real life workplace situations. However, according to some CSG members the online guide is ineffective, mostly because it does not provide real life people with whom students can practice these soft skills.
In another important part of the meeting, CSG members and representatives of Chamber of Commerce DDI discussed the availability of the online program and the incentives of completing the course. It was agreed that Chamber of Commerce DDI should be available on all types of devices, including cell phones, laptops, and tablets. This way, customers can choose which device best works for them. Incentives for completing the online program for soft skills development would be participants earning a certificate or a badge. Each would show employers that a person possesses many soft skills in addition to having a degree.
When the CSG members were asked about how the Chamber of Commerce DDI should approach the length of scenarios shown, Nicole Lyons — a representative for the Class of 2016 — said, “[Setting them up] in increments sounds easier, because some people would view a [straight] 90-minute session as long.”
The other members shook their heads in agreement. This was in response to representatives from Chamber of Commerce DDI showing clips from the online program in which scenarios were being played, and students would have to choose an answer that they thought was the correct response in certain situations.
One representative from the Chamber of Commerce DDI said, “In the real world it’s your attitude that shapes your aptitude.”
Their overall message was that anyone who wants a good job should not only prove that they have a degree that qualifies them for the job, but they should also provide proof that they are able to cooperate with others in the working environment.