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What is Positive Transitions?

Positive Transitions is a 30 or 40 hour core competency based soft skills certificate program developed by The Soft Skills Training Institute of Florida. Positive Transitions was developed specifically to create proficiencies for ex-offenders and those with difficult backgrounds. The program consists of 15 modules and 15 assessments. Individualized core competency allows participants to choose from a list of relevant courses to create a customized experience. All modules, materials and assessments are developed by SSTI staff.

What is a Core Competency?

Core competencies in soft skills refer to proficiencies gained through strategic skill-set development. Think of core competencies as pooled knowledge and technical capacities that allow an individual to compete more effectively in the marketplace.

The substance of the core competency is to prepare a foundation for a healthier and more capable analysis in key areas of emotional intelligence development. Simultaneously, the core competency is a comprehensive workforce readiness and preparedness tool that offers the competitive advantage to those lacking hard/ technical skills.

What are Soft Skills?

Soft Skills are attributes that enhance the personal and interpersonal characteristics of a person. They refer more to who we are rather than what we know. Additionally, soft skills enhance an individual's interactions, job performance and career prospects. Unlike hard skills, which are about a person's skill set and ability to perform a certain type of task or activity, soft skills relate to a person's ability to interact effectively with others and are broadly applicable both in and outside the workplace. SSTI, through its Positive Transitions program, applies soft skills to support the development of our client’s Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ) through its five pillars as introduced by Daniel Goleman, which are:

  • Self-Awareness - People with high emotional intelligence are usually very self-aware. They understand their emotions, and because of this, they don't let their feelings rule them. They're confident because they trust their intuition and don't let their emotions get out of control. They’re also willing to take an honest look at themselves. They know their strengths and weaknesses, and they work on these areas so they can perform better. Many people believe that self-awareness is the most important part of emotional intelligence.
  • Self-Regulation - This is the ability to control emotions and impulses. People who self-regulate typically don't allow themselves to become too angry or jealous, and they don't make impulsive, careless decisions. They think before they act. Characteristics of self-regulation are thoughtfulness, comfort with change, integrity, and the ability to say no. 
  • Internal Motivation -  People with a high degree of emotional intelligence are usually motivated. They're willing to defer immediate results for long-term success. They're highly productive, love a challenge, and are very effective in whatever they do. 
  • Empathy -  This is perhaps the second-most important element of emotional intelligence. Empathy is the ability to identify with and understand the wants, needs, and viewpoints of those around you. People with empathy are good at recognizing the feelings of others, even when those feelings may not be obvious. As a result, empathetic people are usually excellent at managing relationships, listening, and relating to others. They avoid stereotyping and judging too quickly, and they live their lives in a very open, honest way. 
  • Social Skills Development - It's usually easy to talk to and like people with good social skills, another sign of high emotional intelligence. Those with strong social skills are typically team players. Rather than focus on their own success first, they help others develop and shine. They can manage disputes, are excellent communicators, and are masters at building and maintaining relationships.

A person’s soft skill EQ is an important part of their individual contribution to their success, both personally and professionally. For this reason, soft skills are increasingly sought out by employers in addition to standard qualifications. It has been suggested that in a number of professions, soft skills may be more important over the long term than occupational skills. The legal profession is one example where the ability to deal with people effectively and politely, more than their mere occupational skills, can determine the professional success of a lawyer.

Do Soft Skills Work?

Absolutely! There are three questions we should ask. 

  • Is the training effective in transferring knowledge, awareness and competency? 
  • Are the outcomes of the training relevant to the needs of the community or organization? 
  • Are the costs of the program worth the competencies obtained?

Soft skills are tools and when assessed properly can be quantified in dollars and cents. Soft skills enhance technical skills; in fact, technical skills without soft skills create significant gaps in the quality of people and/or employees. According to Joe Williams of The Target Group, a workforce development consulting firm , based in Chicago, Illinois, many employers are choosing soft skill competency over technical skills because they have learned that they can train for the technical skills, if the soft skills are present.

How do I know teaching soft skills works?

It’s practical application. No different than technical skills, experience matters. The more a person applies the skill-sets acquired through soft skills training, the more intelligent and comfortable they are in the exercise.

How does Positive Transitions apply soft skills to ex-offenders?

We actually train towards a core competency. Each of our modules is designed to support the development of one or more of the 5 pillars of Emotional Intelligence. For example, Anger Management, Stress Management, Time Management and Conflict Resolution are offered as support mechanisms for developing Self Regulation. Through structured guided group discussion, benign confrontation, targeted role plays, and thought-provoking stories and activities, the Positive Transitions soft skills program challenges ex-offenders to examine how their own attitudes and perceptions have justified a tendency toward harmful or illegal behaviors. The soft skills training platform allows participants to explore the hidden code of conduct employers expect good workers to understand, and practice valuable new communication and problem solving skills to handle difficult situations (such as dealing with criticism and expressing complaints) in an appropriate, professional manner.

But how do you know if they got it?

There are no guarantees. Every person’s reaction and utilization of the knowledge and skills acquired through Positive Transitions will be dictated by a multitude of variables, but the curriculum and its support materials are built to support practical application and not just theory. Our experience has taught us that for most participants, our modules are their first acquaintance with these subject areas. These particular modules have never been presented in concert as a core competency and the model is unique to the Positive Transitions program. Additionally, participants are able to immediately demonstrate and understand their own self-defeating “thinking traps" and gain insights into employer expectations in the workplace.


Capturing empirical evidence that verifies whether a person has enhanced their competencies and/or skills substantiates the effectiveness of a program. Each participant in Positive Transitions takes a thirty question post assessment at the end of each module to evaluate and assess their practical understanding of the subject. Participants are able to revisit each core competency as often as needed to enhance their ability to perform and demonstrate the soft skill successfully.

Where are there similar programs?

There are no programs quite like Positive Transitions. Our curriculum, materials, workbooks and trainings are customized to teach directly to emotional intelligence. Our intentional outcome is the advancement of emotional intelligence as a skill. Soft skills are proffered as a precursor to technical skill advancement and are not meant to be a replacement, but are a compliment.

Can a client take classes without pursuing a core competency?

Absolutely! Participants can sign in for any class they believe will assist them in the achievement of their personal or workforce readiness and preparedness goals.

Program Costs?

The cost is $15 per module and $5 per assessment. Clients have 60 days to complete the program. Cost includes:

• 1- 80 page Workbook

• 15 Resource Booklets

• Access to e-Booklets

• Facilitator

• 15 Assessments through AccuI™ Assessment Tools.

• Analytics and Reports

• Certificate of Completion (Core Competency)

• 1 hour follow-up counsel

Class Sizes

Class size is limited to 20 persons.


Clients must complete all 15 modules and assessments to receive core competency status and Certificate of Completion. There are no exceptions.