Press Releases

September 1, 2015

Joan Galvan, Public Information Officer
(805) 730-4107

SBCC Launches Career Skills Institute September 10 to Address Growing Skills Gap in Workplace

On September 10, Santa Barbara City College launches the Career Skills Institute to address the growing gap between the skills employers need and want, and the skills the current workforce has. The event will be held on Thursday, September 10, at 10 a.m. at the SBCC Wake Center Auditorium at 315 North Turnpike in Santa Barbara.

According to SBCC Dean of Educational Programs Melissa Moreno, there is a growing body of research showing that employers need a workforce skilled in business soft skills, also known as 21st Century skills, transferable skills or employability skills. "Skills such as communication, team building, management, innovation, critical thinking, writing, and conflict resolution are sorely missing in today’s workforce," she added.

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, a leading national education advocacy group, argues that such skills (including thinking critically and making judgments, solving complex problems, creative and entrepreneurial thinking, communicating and collaborating) are indispensible toward achieving competitiveness in the global economy.

At earlier SBCC meetings, local business employers concurred with these national research findings citing that recent college graduates are in need of soft skills training.

The SBCC Career Skills Institute addresses the employers’ needs offering courses in the areas of business, design and technology.  The noncredit courses are short (8 to 16 hours each), an ideal length of time for the working professional in need of upgrading skills and staying current in the marketplace. 

Offerings include such course as Difficult Conversations, Communication Strategies in the Workplace, Building High Performance Teams, Change is the New Constant, The Art of Negotiating and Collaborating, and Coaching Skills.

The innovative format for most courses is a flipped classroom concept, powered by Student pay a small fee to access a playlist to view in advance, and come to a tuition-free class to solve a real-world industry problem, practicing skills learned in the lectures.

Students come away with a portfolio piece, demonstrating skills learned. All courses are matched grouped in noncredit certificates. Students earning noncredit certificates also earn a digital badge – an online representation of their certificate they can post on LinkedIn, Facebook, or their own web page.

The badges were developed after feedback from a focus group, including SBCC and Cottage Health System, which was hosted by Syned, a non-profit organization focusing on the gap between what business employers need and what education can offer.  The topic of alternative certifications in the form of “digital life skills badges,” was introduced at a SynED focus group – initiated by Assemblymember Das Williams -- in October 2014.  Since then, SynED has provided implementation and technical support to integrate Pearson applications to manage digital badges.

“The College takes its role as a partner in this community very seriously,” said Dr. Moreno.  “This curriculum has been specifically developed with local business input to meet the needs of our local workforce.”

The Career Skills Institute courses begin September 22..   For more information please visit the Career Skills Institute website at

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