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Work Skills in High Demand: "Equipped For the Future" Means No More Princess

Updated on June 21, 2014
NASA Mission Control
NASA Mission Control | Source

Who Judges Adult Skills and Accomplishments?

Exact abilities and accomplishments to be required of 21-year-olds in America are difficult to standardize, since individual differences interfere with a concrete point-value standard.

Ranges of accomplishments and abilities may be more appropriate, but who decides on them?

Under the Clinton Administration and Welfare Reform, the federal government decided. The decisions were incorporated into a mandated Education and Training program coast-to-coast called Equipped For the Future (EFF).

EFF standards became the yardstick by which to measure individuals for readiness to work and to continue to qualify for Public Assistance cash, Medicaid, and food stamp help. Recipients of nearly any type of help had to be working part-time for a minimum number of hours per week determined by the state and county or enrolled in classes in incorporated EFF standards and job search skills.

The rubric was further applied to Workers Compensation, SSI/SSDI, Unemployment Payments, VA disability, and other payments like stipends in Welfare To Work Programs. If anyone receiving benefits failed to have these EFF skills or failed to attend classes to develop these skills, then they could be cut off from payments.

EFF determined to make all US residents into high quality parents, family members, national citizens, community members, and workers.

What is an Adult Human? What skills does one need?


How to Live?

I thought it difficult and rather invasive to "tell adults how to live", as some clients put it. The best application of EFF standards might be to high school graduation requirements.

For example, Ohio has used a 9th grade exam and currently, a 10th grade achievement test as a Graduation Test that must be passed before the end of the 12th grade. We in Ohio hope for progress into a 12th Grade Graduation Test.

EFF standards might be incorporated into a Graduation Portfolio, along with a resume and a set of work samples for use in applying to colleges, vocational schools, the military, and jobs.

How Tough Is the Standard?

The Masai used to have one standard for adult achievement in men: at age 13, a boy would kill or bring at least part of a lion's body back to his village successfully. Then he was a man.

What Are Important Accomplishments For An Adult?

A larger number than expected of voices across the Internet state that a 21-year-old woman should have a steady boyfriend. That is a surprise to many of us.

That insistence upon having a significant other might be insulting to a number of women and it certainly riles survivors like Katniss Everdeen at times. It is certainly an insult to non-heterosexuals and regardless, who is qualified to tell anyone that he or she should be in a relationship? Does it help one gain gainful employment, which is likely much more needed?

In the 2010s, a portion of society continues to feel that women should be only looking for man and not a job or a life of her own. This feeling was exposed and exemplified by the furor over the temporarily overly feminized version of Princess Merida (of the animated Brave) that Disney offered to the public very short-term. Masses of people were outraged at the girly-girl doll.

The Welfare Reform legislation under Bill Clinton went a little too far, perhaps, in the opposite direction from marrying women off.

The Clinton Era congressional legislation required definite workplace instruction, beginning in public school Kindergarten, including a focus on the fact that generally, everyone in America must work at a job - all men and all women - and everyone must avoid welfare and other public assistance payments. There was to be no room for princesses.

The "All Must Work" Mandate

During the summer of 1998, the work mandate began to become flimsy --

Summer Work Programs for teens were eliminated when the umbrella Job Training Partnership Act expired and those funds ended. A few small work programs lasted until 2000, but most of these programs became extinct, especially the larger programs like Columbus, Ohio that served several thousand youth yearly for decades.

During the Recession of 2008 - 2009 or 2010, the mandate to work did not work for the country at all. In fact, Unemployment Compensation payments were up-funded and extended further than ever before and many more people received food stamps. It would be great if America had enough jobs for everyone - and in both June 2013 and June 2014, Internet total listings showed over 7.5 million openings, the highest number since 2007. The number is still about half of what we need of we force everyone to work who is able to work.

Traditional Kabuki Dance Performed by Geishas.

21-year-old Geishas likely have more skills than required by the American EFF.
21-year-old Geishas likely have more skills than required by the American EFF. | Source

Future High Demand Jobs

During a recruitment outreach in 2013, approximately 100,000 people around the world volunteered to go to Mars and settle there, never to return.

That is extreme job searching, but the Aerospace Industry and related industries are adding jobs in many different US Cities, a dozen of which have active Spaceport Authorities. A large sector of the workplace is moving into the atmosphere and might be aided by the requirements of EFF, if they were enforced.

In 2014, the US Space Shuttle was replaced by the SpaceX DragonV2, Virgin Galactic received permissions to launch space tourists in January 2015 from Arizona's Spaceport (one of a dozen), and Planetary Resources and other companies secured asteroid mining contracts. This is not to mention the Aerospace Commercial Crew of over 60 companies and the Google Moon Landers that were ready in January 2013. EFF standards may need updating for a new space age.

Below, you will find the EFF standards and you can determine what you think of them. I don't see having a boyfriend on the list.

First All-Female C-130 Combat Mission in 2005

Staff Sgt. Josie E. Harshe, flight engr; Capt. Anita T. Mack, navigator; 1st Lt. Siobhan Couturier, pilot; Capt. Carol J. Mitchell, aircraft commander; loadmasters Tech Sgt. Sigrid M. Carrero-Perez & Sr Airman Ci Ci Alonzo. Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa.
Staff Sgt. Josie E. Harshe, flight engr; Capt. Anita T. Mack, navigator; 1st Lt. Siobhan Couturier, pilot; Capt. Carol J. Mitchell, aircraft commander; loadmasters Tech Sgt. Sigrid M. Carrero-Perez & Sr Airman Ci Ci Alonzo. Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa. | Source

Women In the Air and Space

The six combat women in the above photo surely have surpassed all 16 area requirements of the EFF Standards. The EFF rubric/program is not as widely used as it once was, especially during the Welfare Reform years of the Clinton Administration, and it may be outdated.

Adult Skills

Which group might have more & better skills?

See results

Does EFF Create Robots?

The robot Maria from the film Metropolis, United Artists, 1927. Statue located in Babelsberg, Germany.
The robot Maria from the film Metropolis, United Artists, 1927. Statue located in Babelsberg, Germany. | Source

EFF Standards

When the EFF standards were first unfolded to the public, many people felt that requirements were too invasive and too unreasonable. Moreover, many opinions were that the list left no room for individuality and demanded robot-like compliance behavior. Still others voiced the thought that the standards were too low or off target in a practical sense.

The basic skills required of an adult in the EFF model are divided into 4 Categories and 16 Areas, as seen on the Skills Wheel below.

The 16 different areas of skills are divided between Communication, Decision-Making, Interpersonal Skills, and Lifelong Learning. If you visit the EFF Link below, you can find more details about what is required to be proficient in each of the 16 areas of EFF.

The overall EFF plan is referred to as a literacy program, including not only reading and math literacy, but also literacy in all of the 16 areas.

When I worked during 1995 - 2005 using this program, the major areas we saw that needed the most training were 1) writing and speaking so that one can be understood, and 2) using critical thinking. This occurred in a metropolitan area of a million people in a Midwestern state.

EFF Standards Wheel
EFF Standards Wheel | Source

Communication Standards (with catchy music)

Skills Employers Want


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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      8 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      What a mess! I question coupling in outer space - I don't think the blood pressure can rise high enough in low gravity for some parts to work. Blood-pressure lowering medications create the same problem in many patients. A Russian cosmonaut couple returned from a mission and was asked about it and refused to answer.

    • someonewhoknows profile image


      8 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

      I just recently heard that Rock Hudson and Rita Hayworth were both gay and that they still had sex with each other. I wonder if there are or were any gay astronauts though and whether there was there any hanky panky going on in space. I know there was in the military between both sexes and likely still is.

      Saw a congresswoman in an online video on the military activities committee berating a lot of generals on the subject of sexual harassment and outright rape of woman in the military under their command.It,seems they weren't reporting or at least not prosecuting some men who they considered too good at their job in the military to discipline them properly because of their level of service to the military.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      8 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      I suppose a lot of women serving in combat zones and elsewhere will just never become mothers. Why do they or any women need to be mothers? They do not. They may choose the miitary over motherhood, but we already have women who served in Iraq in combat zones - nurses even picking up a gun when a male comrade could no longer fight - who are parents right now. We have not heard about the ill effects yet, but we probably will.

      Same in the Civil War - 400 women at least disguised themselves as men to fight and many of them came back to be mothers; if there were ill effects of the war on motherhood, the effects were not written down or we have not found them yet. But we sure heard a lot about Mary Todd Lincoln being "crazy."

      At the same time, PTSD in male veterans has made very bad experiences for the children. Sir Patrick Stewart tells of his horribly abused childhood after his father returned from WWII and how he watched his dad beat his mom nearly to death as well after the war. A few of my male friends returning from Iraq came back incredibly abusive - I cannot stand to be around them and they say they are happy they way they are.

      I am more concerned about the long term isolation required by traveling to Mars, working for two years, and traveling back. Being encased in layers of clingy space suit materials 24/7, because there is no atmosphere and will be little atmosphere even in cabins constructed, will surely affect both men and women. Jokes about "space madness" are no longer coinsidered so funny. ISS astronauts, male and female, must lie in bed for quite a while after a 5-month tour of duty up there; soon a crew will stay 1 year and I bet they will be in bad shape upon return. I can't see how any of them will be good parents after a Mars mission without a long term of rehablitation. Five men were locked in a simulator on Earth for 17 months in Russia and came out OK, but before that, a crew of men and women were shut in and fights and unwanted romantic advances occurred. Long missions are going to present problems.

      Apparently members of the Chinese, other Asians, and Israeli armies have been killing members of the opposite sex in combat for many years. We should ask them how they feel about it. I've never seen the question put to them and now might be the right time to ask. There may actually be a lot of bad feeling about it.

    • someonewhoknows profile image


      8 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

      I didn't want to say anything that might be construed as sexist but being of the male sex I'm concerned that putting women in combat roles on the front lines is somehow going to affect their mind at least as much as it does many men who get what they call post tramatic stress disorder which I believe is a misnomer and should be called a disorder as they would not be as human in my mind if, they were not affected by the things they see and do and traditionally that it could change how these women are able to raise the next generation of children as far as their ability to be as loving a mother as one needs to be in order to bring up children who are empathetic and compassionate towards others.On the other hand - I'm sure their military training would come in handy at times of stress as children can sometimes be unruly.

      I guess you could say I'm stressed out on the thought that someone who could have been my mother had a mental illness due to being in the military.I think everyone should have at least one sane parent if not two.


      I understand that the extreme Orthodox Jews - The ones who wear beards and black hat with a rim are also against mandatory conscription into the military even though many or most other Jews go along with conscription because of practical reasons having to do with the number of individuals available for military duty in a relatively small group and women joining the ranks there.I can't help but wonder what the effect is on someone who had to kill someone of the opposite sex - especially men having to kill women seeing as I'm a man .

      I suppose the opposite is also true though.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      8 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      You make me laugh, but I know what you mean by those ads!

      Mars One, a Dutch company, is the only company taking applications to Mars right now. A "reality"-type TV show will follow a small group of selected vounteers (40 or fewer) as they train for seven years for the mission and raise additional funds for the trip from commerical sponsors. I don't know if viewers will stick with the show for 7 years and viewers are to vote for the final small group to travel to Mars. The company wants that group to contain builders and people to research climate & geology. I feel that the project may die before it's completed.

    • someonewhoknows profile image


      8 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

      During a recruitment outreach in 2013, 80,000 people around the world volunteered to go to Mars and settle there, never to return.

      I have to say this reminds me of some ads I've seen in the local jobs and training papers you can get for free at the supermarket or party store.The exception being that this is way out there. ( Pun intended )

      There are some unscrupulous people in the world who are looking to take advantage of those too naïve or so desperate to get somewhere fast without giving a second thought as to why the so-called opportunity presented to them seems so attractive that almost anyone without a discriminating attitude would be more than willing to take.

      Fact is, the advertisers could care less whether the ads they take are legitimate or not.I know this to be a fact from personal experience and from experiences during my life growing up with my parents and their experiences with a few con men claiming to be remodeling contractors who turned out to be thieves instead. This was the result of ignorance on our part plus indifference on the part of those who take ads from anyone without getting proper ID from them so they can be contacted or even to check out them out before taking their ads and possibly harming the trust of those individuals who used to have trust in your publications. Then again there always is a responsibility on the party doing the search to decide the credibility of the source of such ads. I don't doubt that this ad is true.Just whether or not it's legit or truthful in it's purpose

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      8 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      I see what you are saying, MsDora. I think we can't write everything down that can make a happy, productive life. The thought of following adults around with checklists is humorous, nonsensical.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      8 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for analyzing this EFF standard. I agree that individual preferences beyond grad 12 make the standard difficult to measure. There's this young woman over 30, happy, emotionally healthy single, pursuing her career dream. She may be way behind socially, but she's responsible and productive. Equipped? I think so. Still it makes us think about the overall fitness.


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