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Employability Skills Lesson Plans: Preparing a Professional

Recognizing students for their achievements is important. Young people thrive on recognition — even a small, simple acknowledgment goes a long way. Seeing others achieve is a way to motivate all students. A recognition program also prepares them for the competitive world of work, where the motivators are promotions and pay raises.

SkillsUSA's Professional Development Program offers seven levels — seven opportunities — to recognize your students' success. To get you started, this Employability Skills Packet includes a PDP Introductory Guide. Present the downloaded certificates to your students who complete the introductory exercises. This is the first step in fully preparing them to be professionals.


Champions at Work

Advisor's Lesson Plan
The Professional Development Program is based on the idea that achievement deserves recognition. That's why PDP is so popular. It's vital that you make each success special.

  1. Download the following: PDP Preview Guide, Communications Activity Page, True or False Page and PDP Guide Certificates (Adobe Reader required).
  2. Review the PDP Preview Guide. It fully describes the components, related materials, levels and requirements. Note how PDP prepares students with the skills employers want. You'll be ready to answer your students' questions.
  3. Engage all your students in PDP. Emphasize that it's a fun way to meet and interact with future employers, work in teams, explore community relationships and gain that all-important experience to get a job.
  4. Invite an experienced PDP participant from your school or area to talk with your students about what he or she gained personally and professionally from the program.
  5. Devote classroom time to the activities in the guide. Start with Level SK-3, "Identify Effective Communication Skills," on Page 18. Divide your students into groups of three or four. Hand out the Communications Activity page to each designated facilitator/speaker, taking care not to let the others read the instructions.
  6. Follow up with Level 1.10, "Identify Components of an Employment Portfolio," on Page 20. If you want to photocopy and distribute this section to your students, mask out the advisors' tips in the margin.
  7. Show students the kind of advanced competencies they'll be gaining through the higher levels of PDP. A third activity, Level 4.4, "Develop a Working Relationship with a Mentor," is in the guide. Explain to your students that the beginning levels of PDP will give them the confidence to be ready for such an activity. Photocopy and distribute Page 22 of the guide as a sample. If necessary, define the concept of mentoring to your students.
  8. Print copies of the Preparing a Professional True or False page, and hand them out to your students. Use the page to check their learning, and use it as a classroom discussion piece. Try giving students the page before they complete the activities and then after; compare the difference.
  9. Print and clip the PDP Guide Certificates. Hold an awards ceremony in your classroom to hand out the certificates. Invite school officials and people from business and industry. Tell your students to save the certificates for their portfolios. Have their names announced over the school's public-address system for participating in the SkillsUSA training program.
  10. Encourage your students to move on to the PDP Starter Kit or PDP Level 1. To order an advisor's guide and student workbooks, use your SkillsUSA Educational Materials Catalog, available by telephoning 1-800-321-8422 or order online.
  11. SkillsUSA offers PDP seminars. For information, telephone the toll-free number above.

Recognition Ideas
In addition to the PDP, try any of these other awards to motivate your students — or come up with your own ideas!

  • Student of the month
  • Outstanding career and technical student for grading period (based on instructor's recommendation, student's paper and interview)
  • Career and technical program achievement (maintains "B" average or better)
  • Community service leader
  • Participant in public relations project
  • Special appreciation
  • SkillsUSA chapter leader
  • Committee chair
  • Active member of standing committee
  • Perfect classroom attendance
  • Perfect attendance at SkillsUSA chapter meetings
  • SkillsUSA Championships competitor
  • Outstanding service to chapter
  • Team player
  • Top 10 percent of fund-raisers
  • Best safety record
  • SkillsUSA voting delegate
  • SkillsUSA chapter officer
  • Completion of Total Quality Curriculum activity
  • "Quality Classroom" for using Total Quality Management methods
  • Completion of skill training
  • Academic achievement (maintains "C" average or better)
  • SkillsUSA chapter member (varsity letter)