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Core Abilities

Core abilities are essential workplace skills that cut across occupational and academic titles. They are broad, common abilities that students must possess to be prepared for the work force and for lifelong learning. Core abilities are different from course competencies in that they are not course-specific. They are not taught in lessons.  Instead, they are broader skills that run through courses and lessons. These abilities enable learners to perform competencies. Core abilities are comprised of transferable skills, attitudes, and abilities expected to be mastered by learners completing a program. They go beyond a specific program, are integrated throughout the learning experience and are institutional.

The following core abilities and indicators are derived from the mission statement and objectives of Western Dakota Tech and its guiding principles:

Life Skills

Means that an individual applies the principles of physical and psychological wellness to his or her life.

  • Take responsibility for own behavior.
  • Balance family, work, finances and personal needs.
  • Relate personal values and goals to the work environment.
  • Recognize the importance of personal wellness.

Analytical Skills

Means that the individual applies the principles and strategies of purposeful, active and organized thinking.

  • Identify problems.
  • Apply an appropriate problem-solving process to make an informed decision.
  • Differentiate fact from opinion.
  • Accept ambiguity (gray areas).

Communication Skills

Means that an individual is able to apply appropriate writing, speaking, and listening skills in order to precisely convey information, ideas, and opinions.

  • Use Standard English principles (spelling, grammar, and structure).
  • Use language and writing appropriate to the level of audience.
  • Check for accuracy in written and spoken communications.

Technology Skills

Means that an individual possesses the knowledge and skills necessary to use a computer and other technology methods utilized within his or her chosen field.

  • Use technology to communicate.
  • Solve problems using technology.
  • Use appropriate technology to manage information.
  • Recognize the impact of technology.

Teamwork Techniques

Means that an individual is capable of working with others to complete tasks, solve problems, and resolve conflicts.

  • Demonstrate respect in relating to people.
  • Cooperate and resolve conflicts effectively.
  • Participate in shared problem solving.
  • Carry your share of the team’s load.

Social Values

Means that an individual possesses an awareness of differences in backgrounds and cultures, and demonstrates respect while working with different backgrounds/cultures.

  • Acknowledge personal prejudices and biases.
  • Appreciate perspectives of people from diverse backgrounds/cultures.
  • Participate in shared problem solving.
  • Work collaboratively with people from diverse backgrounds/cultures.


Means that an individual possesses and applies effective work habits and attitudes.

  • Be present and on time.
  • Complete industry-quality work in a timely manner.
  • Act professionally to fulfill job duties within chosen field.
  • Demonstrate flexibility and self-directedness.
  • Understand employer expectations.

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