Vertex Training Framework

Since the global pandemic, we’ve found ourselves in a period of extraordinary change in the workforce. The scale of change is not only evident in the workforce, but in our individual lifestyles and entire ecosystem. We’ve moved from the period of learning and development revolution.

Amid the difficulties of the global pandemic, there’s been positive developments within the workforce that are helping establish the foundation for next generational transformation. One of the biggest findings revealed critical in-demand behavioral skills such as: flexibility, adaptable, time management, communication skills and the ability work effectively independent and within team environments.

This is why adopting a “Kaizen” (continuous improvement) Mindset as a professional in today’s workforce, individually and professionally meet the needs of businesses culture and value systems.

In our work with business leaders, decision makers, and communities throughout the US, we’ve identified this approach as “critical power skills.” Critical Power Skills form the core foundation of a resilient workforce. They are also the keys to sustainability and consistency to individual and organizational growth over time to enhance capabilities.

Core Power Skill Development throughout each program

The framework we’ve developed for success within our training programs outline four important clusters of core skill development that move individuals and/or organizations forward in the post pandemic era:

Critical Thinking

Developing cognitive skills that are required to become innovative, think broadly, and connect to opportunities in the midst of change. Cognitive skills are the foundation of development, progression, and STEM/CTE skill building.

Vocational Development

Defining occupational goals and strategically implementing training activities that keep pace with technology, innovation, skill development and employability.

Navigating Life

Being able to manage both career and work life by making sound decisions, increasing capacity to identify opportunities and options, advancement, and undertake learning appropriate to work and life needs and goals.

Continuous Improvement

Managing individual effectiveness while staying engaged with trends that impact both work and life—including strategies, motivation, skill development, and creating a “Kaizen” lifestyle of continuous improvement.

The four core areas of Power Skills contribute to assessing and learning the needs of oneself, identifying patterns of both failure and success, and gaining insight of activities/behaviors that contribute toward as systematic approach to short and long-term success.

Influencing Factors 

Recognizing the results in these skill areas/clusters, we’ve identified a number of factors that impact the development and demonstration of Power Skills in the workforce.  Performance is not only dependent on the skills, knowledge and abilities (KSA’s) that an individual provides to the workforce, but on a range of factors that may impact how well they apply skills to various tasks. Other influencing factors could affect an individual’s capacity to demonstrate skills or develop new skills. These include individuals who have developed communication skills but are not given the opportunity to exercise them. In this scenario, demonstratable performance may produce a lower level of performance.

Collaboration, Learning, and Adapting (CLA) within our Training Programs

Collaborating, Learning and Adapting methodologies are applied to every training program we offer.

Designed by USAID and other international partners, utilizing a CLA approach to curriculum design and outcomes enables learning conditions to become tailored to the audience and consistent for reporting progress throughout the program cycle. Including CLA’s within the overall training program approach stresses a holistic outcome that reinforces the milestones and integrates the discipline of development that improves effectiveness.

CLA methodologies allow our team to analyze:

  • Resource and benefits
  • Engagement, improved outcomes
  • Knowledge management
  • Evidence that improves better decision making for program improvement
  • The ability to pause and reflect to make adjustments
  • Scalability
  • Theory of Change
  • Program Satisfaction
  • Investments that lead to increased efficiency over time 

Two key factors within analyzing CLA’s with our training program contribute toward the overall impact for the individuals, organization, and community:

1. CLA’s in the Program Learning Cycle:

  1. Collaborating: How the program collaborates internally and externally with participants, employers, and community.
  2. Learning: Tracking evidence and applying evidence in planning and implementation. Testing and exploring behavior change, while sharing results with stakeholders.
  3. Adapting: Using Pause & Reflect purposely to identify opportunities for growth and informed decision making. Learning from Pause and Reflect to follow through on adjustments that meet the needs of the program.

2. Enabling Conditions for sustainable change using CLA’s:

  1. Culture: Openness and willingness to share information, take action on new behaviors/ideas. Establishing a culture of continuous improvement and building motivation for learning.
  2. Processes: Institutionalize knowledge sharing, decision making, knowledge management. Bring awareness to participants and stakeholders of various types of opportunities created through the program. Ultimately create an “ecosystem” of continued growth throughout the journey of learning.
  3. Resources: Establish stakeholder, roles and responsibilities that impact budget, professional development, and procurement. Create a gateway for participants to showcase new skills and behaviors in the workforce.

Purpose of Skill Development Training Framework

The Vertex Skill Development Framework was designed to make each program sustainable with clearly defined sets of skills and behaviors that underpin successful workforce performance from graduates. The Framework assist our team achieve these goal by:

  • Developing standards, curriculum, programs, and assessment resources to clearly articulate new behaviors and skills required to succeed in the post pandemic economy.
  • Empowering our coaches, mentors, trainers work with participants and help them clearly articulate new skills and behaviors in the workforce.

The Framework outlined in this document is not intended to replace other methodologies or approaches to learning—nor is it used as an assessment tool. However, it is designed to provide common guidance to workforce development or professional training across various technical and non-technical sectors.

The Vertex Framework for learning takes skills and behaviors that are now identified as “critical” or “crucial” to post pandemic employers as important for successful development in STEM/CTE career fields—and participation in work tasks requirements in today’s society. Our approach provides vocational, professional training, and employment solutions a foundation from which to develop relevant and powerful programs/tools/curriculum to address modern day workforce needs.

Developmental Approach

The Vertex Skill Development Training Framework utilizes a developmental approach to skill development and workforce performance.

It encompasses five stages of growth for any professional, individual, or organization who adopts a performance-based ecosystem for success. These phases are – Novice, Advanced Beginner, Capable Professional, Proficient Professional, and Expert Professional.

In helping participants assess their current status within the workforce, each Vertex Program assist them with a strategic plan that:

  • Progresses their growth through the maturity stages of development. Help them identify reliance upon a systematic approach to learning and understanding expectations. Guide them to a strategic plan that is intuitive to their goals and keeps them accountable at each stage.
  • Motivates and influences them to take calculated risk, gain practical experience, reflect upon failures, learn new behaviors throughout the program.
  • Sustaining new skills and behaviors instead of loosing them. How to apply skills when participants are not in roles, organizations or fields that apply. Keeping from diminishing skills over time.

Our team applies these principles to long-term performance in the “power” skills and “technical” (STEM/CTE) areas. Therefore, participants could start as a Novice but still demonstrate higher levels of performance as they prepare for growth in the future.

Relevance to a broad range of performance

The Vertex Skills Development Framework is designed to be applicable across different industries, fields, and roles. Performance growth is intended to apply to workforce, education, and training, along with personal and community inputs as well. As participants expand knowledge and understanding, their performance in the workforce impacts interactions with personal and community outcomes. This equally applies to working with others to:

  • Improve learning activities in and outside the classroom by demonstrating what they’ve learned.
  • Becoming confident in engaging assessments and challenging tasks.
  • Performing within the workforce as an individual and as a team
  • Communicating at a higher level with potential employers, customers, colleagues, leadership, stakeholders, and other prospects that can enhance growth.
  • Share or give back knowledge within the community which improves exposure to the new skills and abilities. 

A key point to note when applying performance as a measurable behavior is that performance is not transferable. However, the ability to “apply” new skills, knowledge and behaviors are very transferable. Hence, our programs are designed to provide classroom theory and application that improve the performance in the workplace. It is important to include learning protocols and expectations in our curriculum that offer real world application before they are required to demonstrate their new skills in the workplace. This methodology can increase the development approach as some of our participants enter training programs at the “novice” level and graduate with “Advanced Beginner” level capabilities and knowledge that can be transferred and demonstrated in the workplace.

Structure of the Vertex Skill Development Training Framework

The Vertex Skill Development Training Framework within our training programs focus on the Core Power Skill Development Clusters; Critical Thinking, Vocational/Occupational Development, Work/Life Navigation, and Continuous Improvement.

Real World and Applicable Training

All the training areas within the framework work to:

  • Engage participants: Facilitate training that engage students while delivering skills required to demonstrate knowledge on a job site. This includes immersive and intensive content that is transferable to working capabilities.
  • Diverse Training Modules: All our programs integrate technical, behavioral, and mindset skills required in todays’ post pandemic economy.
  • Assessments: Each program establishes self-identified gaps through pre- and post-training assessments. The assessments are driven by teaching participants how to address shortcomings and how to establish strategic plans to accelerate growth to obtain sustainable success.
  • Easy to Learn Curriculum: The majority of our STEM/CTE programs are designed to emphasize practical application. Meaning, they include some form of theory, simulations, interactive engagement, and site visits (if available). The approach to curriculum design increases students confidence and motivates them to achieve advanced goals once they are placed in the workforce.
  • Instruction: Each course is delivered in various formats. We offer in classroom instruction, virtual instruction, and on-demand instruction to accommodate student’s needs. In addition to conventional training, we have the ability to create hybrid training programs that are customized and effective using technology as the foundation.

Performance Features

Performance Features describe the king of skills, knowledge, and abilities that participants demonstrate when progressing through the training program. We utilize performance features to identify where participants are in the development of new skills and behaviors. Coaches, mentors and facilitators evaluate students’ development through hands-on participation, assignments, testing, and/or assessments to allow them to showcase their ability:

  • Articulate what they’ve learned
  • Demonstrate technical understanding of the curriculum
  • Showcase practical application or experience that can be transferred to the workplace. 

The Performance Features of our programs are customized to be used in particular curriculum by adding specific examples of desired work performance needs for each topic. Customization includes specifying roles, levels of learning, outcomes, and applicable goals for the training. Diagnostic tools may also be included to help demonstrate students skills, knowledge and abilities within the training. Performance Features are a key ingredient to designing our products and processes.

Career and Work Life Influences

Each of our programs are developed around building applicable skills that can be demonstrated outside the classroom. Our goals is to provide participants the necessary tools to manage both work and life decisions that progress their capacity to identify opportunities, options, gain personal and professional advancements, and undertake learning appropriate to work needs and personal goals.


Communication is a core skill set that is directly connected to advanced growth in the post pandemic workforce. This skill area about being able to articulate what you’ve learned, while showcasing the ability to understand messages, orally transmit action items, interface with a variety of leadership, influence decisions or how others interpret your abilities. Participants in our programs are encouraged to engage instructions, participate in conversations, contribute to a range of formal and informal dialog, initiate conversation, and develop confidence in exploring various ways to communicate with others.

Connecting and Working with Others

Here we introduce groups and teams in many of our training programs to assist participants in building work-related relationships needed to succeed in the workforce. This involved positioning students to learn how to understand others and build rapport which involves listening skills, understanding others’ values/expectations and emotions, and making good choices about your own behaviors.

Planning and Organization

The core activity to skill development and growth is being organized within your strategic plan. The Vertex Programs help identify activities and action steps required to manage career acceleration and success.

We emphasize the importance of self-organization, planning and implementing strategic personal and professional tasks—along with, developing strategies for workforce sustainability.

Decision Making

This focus area is about helping students make good choices from a wide variety of possibilities. Students are taught to identify possible options, explore considerations, research opportunities and make clearly defined decisions that reduce risk and increase probabilities. Decision making includes accountability. Taking responsibility for actions and initiating action items with follow up steps that are measured.

Creativity and Innovation

Every program we develop involves pushing participants to be creative and innovative. This focus area is about applying the value of new ideas to solve problems, improve or develop new processes, products or strategies. We challenge participants perceptions of how things could be, and to recognize potential opportunities utilizing their new skills and behaviors.


Four things learned from Past Performance

Our team has learned four key things from past performance of training young adults, adults, military veterans, disconnected communities, and executives throughout the US.

  1. The importance of “Power Skill” development: In our discussions with employers, hiring managers, and community leadership nationwide, we found the increased need to high-speed technology has heightened the demand for power skills, adaptability and decision making. Work needs have become more complex with the recent pandemic. Technology has exposed us to our dependency of technical tools, making our capacity to connect with others more important.
  2. There is a major need for skill building and development: Global rise in learning, development, and building new behaviors that lead toward future growth.
  3. The rise of STEM/CTE occupational needs: A recent McKinsey Survey identified an urgency of addressing skill gaps across industries. During the pandemic, organizations were forced to make significant shifts toward skill development. Although “soft/power” skills and cognitive skills have greatly increased, the need for STEM/CTE training or certifications most likely will be the gateway to a more technically advanced workforce.
  4. The importance of self-management: With the increased volume of workers performing independently from home or virtually heightened the importance of self- management. We’ve discovered that many employers in the STEM/CTE industry offer opportunities that are less structured (meaning require to be in an office everyday) and allow their workforce to manage their day, tasks and growth on their own. Some are very efficient but transitioning a new workforce into STEM/CTE careers may need the support of an operation to assist with sustainable growth. Therefore, programs that focus on technical/vocational training only, are not preparing graduates for success beyond the classroom.
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