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Employers today tell college administrators that the biggest deficiency in college students is in the area of soft skills. Students graduate from college very often with the technical skills required, but employers often make hiring decisions on the basis of whether applicants offer the degree of professional skills that they are seeking.

Madisonville Community College is responding to employers feedback by incorporating what it terms personal effectiveness skills in its classes. Our faculty quickly recognized the benefit to our students by developing a common set of skills in the areas of attendance, meeting deadlines, teamwork, and communications upon which students will be assessed in addition to the content of their courses. The ultimate goal is for our graduates to have a competitive advantage over other students as employers begin to recognize MCC graduates with the professional skills that they want, stated Dr. Deborah Cox, MCC Chief Academic Affairs Officer.

College faculty have been working on the personal effectiveness skills initiative for some time through a task force led by Felecia Johnson, professor in business administration, and Dr. Beth Norton, professor in communications. According to them, students in courses taught by full-time faculty, except for online classes, will have 10% of their grades based on a common set of personal effective skills starting this semester. The task force is expected to gather information on this semester s experience before expanding the initiative to online courses, courses taught by part-time faculty, and dual credit courses taught in high schools for MCC.