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Serving DeKalb County, IL Since 1993

Essential Skills in DeKalb County


The goal of the CommunityWorks Workforce Development initiative is to enhance soft skills education for DeKalb County middle school and high school students, while working to improve employer participation in youth workforce preparation. Essential skills (or soft skills) are the social, personal, employment and cultural skills needed to successful communicate and relate to others. Essential skills complement hard skills, which are the skills required to perform a job. The Community Foundation is committed to supporting the enhancement of essential skills, among DeKalb County’s youth through providing grants to our schools, service providers and the local work force. These grants, Essential Skills Enhancement Grants, are designed to enhance the development of soft skills or essential skills in middle school to high school aged youth.

Learn more about Essential Skills Enhancement Grants >

The DeKalb County Community Foundation's commitment and support to workforce development is made possible by 20 CommunityWorks Funds, generating over $100,000 annually. Thank you to the generous donors who support these Funds!

Learn more about CommunityWorks >

Results and Updates

Essential Skills Video Series

The Community Foundation is currently working on a new video series for essential skills in youth. This fun and inspiring video series will cover a variety of soft skills for youth to learn and adopt. More to come soon!

Essential Skills For Success Wheel

The Community Foundation worked with middle school educators to promote sixteen specific essential skills identified as lacking in the emerging workforce. As a result, a Skills for a Successful Future Wheel was developed, copyrighted, and distributed to area schools and programs impacting middle school youth.

Working with the DeKalb-Ogle Workforce Development Consortium and DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation, the Community Foundation continues to enhance essential skills within DeKalb County schools through the Industrial Workforce Coordination Pilot Program.

“Now more than ever before in light of the many advances in technology, as employers and educators, we cannot lose sight of the importance of soft skills. These skills set us apart and solidify our relationships with the consumer.”
- Elizabeth Hoppenworth, Director of Resident Services, DeKalb Area Retirement Center and CommunityWorks Workforce Development Committee Member

For questions or additional information, please contact Community Engagement Director Teri Spartz at 815-748-5383 or t.spartz@dekalbccf.org.