To build an empowered, future-ready workforce by providing essential skills training for students, adult learners, job seekers, and employees.
A world where everyone has the opportunity to develop, demonstrate, and refine their essential skills to prosper and thrive both personally and professionally.
WHAT ARE SOFT SKILLS?
Soft skills are competencies necessary for success in any job or profession. They are known by many names such as durable skills, 21st century skills, interpersonal skills, or employability skills.
Soft skills are critical in determining who is hired, succeeds at work, and receives a promotion. However, these skills often lack empirically grounded definitions, are rarely taught with rigorous evaluation, and are not typically aligned with employer-recognized credentials. As a result, research shows employers rely on subjective methods to evaluate soft skills, which reinforce negative stereotypes that disadvantage low-wage workers and racial/ethnic minorities.
The Essential Skills Program (ESP) is building an engaging series of FREE online training modules exclusively focused on soft skills.
Directly reflects the soft skills and behavior traits most valued by employers through survey and labor market data.
Allows learners to self-reflect, perform knowledge checks, and complete assessments to verify their ability to apply soft skills in practical workplace contexts.
Rewards learners who successfully complete modules and assessments with portable digital badge credentials that link to real-time, searchable job posting data.
Is designed for equity, thanks to peer review provided by our partners who help us serve diverse populations.
WHO WE SERVE
Through our network of pilot partners, including education providers and workforce development organizations, we’re learning from the feedback of diverse participants, including:
OUR PLAN FOR SCALE
ESP is led by the team that scaled the New World of Work program across 116 California Community Colleges and 400 partner organizations. We are now committed to serving all those seeking training to strengthen their professional skills.
To grow rapidly and efficiently, we are working with partners including postsecondary and adult education providers, workforce development organizations, community-based programs, and employers.
These partners will enhance their existing services and resources by providing ESP’s FREE video lessons, assessments, and digital badges to their learners.
OUR NEED FOR INVESTMENT
ESP has been awarded a seed grant from Walmart to develop 10 onboarding training modules that will be available to all learners for FREE.
We are seeking further funding to develop:
15 advanced training modules to complete ESP’s introductory soft skills learning pathway.
Assessments with stackable digital badge credentials that will correlate to all of the 25 soft skills modules.
These initial investments will provide the foundation for ESP’s earned revenue model, which will ensure our long-term sustainability as a non-profit organization.
CONTENT CREATION – 15 ADVANCED MODULES. We need a booster! STACKABLE DIGITAL BADGE CREDENTIALS – ALL 25 MODULES. We need a booster!
By supporting ESP, philanthropic funders will advance the cause of replacing subjective, stereotype-based talent evaluation methods with objective, skills-based approaches that can unlock economic mobility across the global workforce.
As a female co-founded organization, ESP is led by Rajinder Gill, CEO, and Kate OʼRorke, COO, who together with their team brought the New World of Work program to scale. Rajinder is passionate about serving diverse learners, knowing the challenges she faced as a disabled woman of color entering the workforce.
CEO and Co-Founder
COO and Co-Founder
Create maximum social impact through a multiplier effect – backed by labor market data and a decade of experience.