Standards-Based Skills Taxonomy


Calibrate utilizes a modified extension of the well-established Department of Labor’s O*NET Content Model. This underlying framework provides a consistent organizing structure for making sense of skills information. SkillsEngine has created expanded collections of work activities, new soft skill categories and supportive behaviors, knowledge and detailed sub-knowledge domains, and a growing collection of tools and technologies. Curated data are vetted through intensive inter-rater reliability reviews under the supervision of industrial and occupational psychologists and SHRM-certified (Society for Human Resource Management) professionals.


Detailed Work Activities

This category of skills describes how major units of time are organized on the job. Each statement is observable and produces results capable of being measured. Work activities are written with a consistent syntax that is jargon free so they are easily understandable. Additionally, each statement is written with a sufficient level of breadth to facilitate analysis of transferable skills and career progressions.


Workplace Essentials (a.k.a. Soft Skills)

This category of skills are specific behaviors and characteristics that demonstrate general strengths and describe important social skills needed to function in today's modern workplace. These are commonly referred to as "soft skills" and include areas such as critical thinking, problem solving, leadership, perseverance, and other essential capabilities. As one HR leader puts it, “you need the right hard skills to get the job and the right soft skills to keep it.”


Knowledge Domains

This category of skills include principles, bodies of content, and facts generally applied within academic domains. These represent areas of specialization or expertise and can vary widely. SkillsEngine has also created subdomains which provide a more granular breakout of Knowledges into topics of greater detail within the context of the parent Knowledge. Look for these in Calibrate in the future. As with each of these elements, Calibrate allows users to create custom skills when appropriate.


Tools & Technologies

This category includes machines, equipment, tools, software, and technology used on the job. All occupations involve some mix of tools, but certain fields are heavily tool-centric, such as information technology or healthcare. These areas experience a higher rate of change as new innovations and methods are adopted. Tools and technologies is in development now and will be released in a future version of Calibrate.


The Changing Nature of Skills

Job requirements are constantly changing. New knowledges, abilities, tools, and techniques emerge over time while others become obsolete. Business and industry needs also vary across regions, among different companies, and even between individual hiring managers at the same company. Staying current with the changing needs of business and industry is a challenging task, especially for educators who are already busy teaching classes, mentoring students, and managing busy schedules. Similarly, industry representatives and subject-matter experts have a limited amount of time they can spend advising and reviewing curriculum. Calibrate provides a collaborative gathering place to explore current and future skill requirements in close partnerships with educators, administrators, and employers.