Literacy Skills

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Workplace Essential Skills uses TV/videos, print, and the Internet to help you brush up on your reading, writing, math, and job skills. There are 24 half-hour programs (plus Orientation), four workbooks, and 24 FREE online lessons. They work together to make learning easier. If you are interested in learning more, click here to find the contact at your local community college.

Use Workplace Essential Skills to help you find a new job, train for a better job, or be more successful on the job you already have. The lessons are written at a pre-GED level. They will help build your critical thinking and problem solving skills. Developing these skills will also help you prepare for the GED tests.

Orientation: Making It Work
This 30-minute video program is a student orientation to the course. Learn how to use the different components of the Workplace Essential Skills series to improve your skills and opportunities.

Employment: Finding a job

  • Planning to Work - Why do we work? What does it mean to choose a career direction? Learn about the skills and aptitudes you already have and how to develop new skills for your chosen career path.
  • Matching Skills and Jobs - Successful job seekers treat the job search as a job in itself. Finding a job that really fits your needs and skills can be a long hard process. Discover how to organize and carry out an effective job search using a variety of resources and tools.
  • Applying for Jobs - What's the best way to make sure your application stays in the "in" pile? What are employers looking for when they read an application? Find out how the application process works and how to make sure your application makes the best impression.
  • Resumes, Tests, and Choices - Your resume is your chance to make a good first impression. Learn how to write an effective resume and how to evaluate job offers to decide which will provide the best opportunity.
  • Interviewing - How does the interview process work? Learn what employers look for during an interview, what to say, what to wear, what questions you'll typically receive, and how to follow up afterwards.

Employment: New to the job

  • Ready for Work - The focus shifts in this program from finding a job to getting off to a strong start in a new job. Explore the concept of being "work ready," including how to set goals and plan for problem situations such as cars that won't start or no-show babysitters.
  • Workplace Safety - Every job carries certain safety risks. Understanding these risks and knowing how to follow company safety procedures is an important part of being a responsible employee. Gain a close up look at how workers in a variety of workplace situations deal with safety issues.
  • Learning at Work - Many new workers fail because they're afraid to ask questions that will help them learn their jobs. Taking responsibility for learning on the job is an important step in becoming a valued employee. Understand the importance of learning at work and discover ways to find out about worksite training and educational options.

Communication & Writing: Communication Skills

  • The Language of Work - Employers rate good communication skills among the highest qualities they value in their employees. Every workplace has its own style of communication and sometimes new workers have difficulty mastering the new language of work. Explore important skills such as speaking clearly, listening actively, and solving problems through effective communications.
  • Communicating with Co-Workers and Supervisors - Exchanging information is the main purpose for communication in the workplace. Learning how to make your messages clear and complete is an important skill for every employee. Discover how to use effective communication strategies at work with particular emphasis on conflict resolution skills.
  • Working Together - Team work is another top-rated skill. Active listening, respect for other team members, and working together to solve problems are essential skills in today's workplaces. Learn the importance of team work and how to be an effective team member.
  • Communicating with Customers - Excellent customer service is the hallmark of every successful business. Learn the basics of customer service and how to provide it even under difficult circumstances.

Communication & Writing: Writing Skills

  • A Process for Writing - Poorly written memos, incomplete messages, and hard-to-read reports can erode productivity and raise stress levels. Learn the process approach to writing and get an inside look at how a variety of workplaces use written communications.
  • Supplying Information: Directions, Forms, and Charts - Forms and charts carry the important flow of information that keeps a business going. Filling out forms accurately and completely may seem like drudgery, but these skills are essential for a smoothly functioning workplace. Learn how typical businesses use forms and charts and the importance of accuracy and care in handling these workplace tools.
  • Writing Memos and Letters - Writing effectively involves knowing when, how, and what to write. Many workers lack confidence in their writing skills and as a result often avoid writing. Learn about the writing process and how to improve your own workplace writing.


  • Reading for a Purpose - Good reading skills can mean the difference between being an average worker and being an excellent worker. Today's workplace requires just about everyone to use reading comprehension skills to get their jobs done. Understand the different ways reading is used on the job and how to use strategies such as skimming and scanning to increase reading efficiency and comprehension.
  • Finding What You Need: Forms and Charts - Forms and charts organize the flow of work in many workplaces. Just as it's important to fill out forms and charts carefully, it's also important to know how to read and interpret them accurately. Learn how forms are used in a variety of workplaces.
  • Following Directions - Whether it's fixing a cranky copy machine or mixing up a batch of lawn fertilizer, good reading comprehension and listening skills can mean the difference between success and disaster in a workplace. Learn how workplaces use diagrams and other written instructions, and discover reading strategies and tips for following directions.
  • Reading Reports and Manuals - How do you cope with the often overwhelming amount of reading in your workplace? Learn how memos, reports, equipment manuals, and safety procedures are all used to transmit important information.


  • Number Sense - How is your number sense? Like common sense, this is a valuable set of skills that helps you organize your life at home and at work. Find out what number sense is and how to develop it using skills like estimation.
  • Solving Problems - Knowing how to set up a math problem to find an answer and being able to judge whether the answer makes sense are highly valued skills. Learn about some strategies people use to solve problems at work. including basic operations like adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing as well as estimating and using a calculator.
  • Fractions, Decimals, and Percents - Many workplace math problems involve using numbers less than one--decimals, fractions, and percents. Learn how to work with these in a variety of workplace situations.
  • Measurements and Formulas - How much does a liter weigh compared with a quart? How accurate does the measurement of an infant's head need to be? Learn how to use measurement tools and typical formulas.
  • Trends and Predictions: Graphs and Data - Graphs and data track performance of all kinds, whether it's how well a product is doing or how many sales an employee has made that week. Making sense of graphs and spreadsheets is an important skill. Learn how data is collected, displayed, and used at work.