Working Smart

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Working Smart for Community Partners

Created in response to increasing employer demands for workers with skills beyond their technical expertise, Working Smart: Soft Skills for Workplace Success is a five-module, 16-lesson curriculum that enhances job-seeker skills such as communication, problem-solving, time management and accountability.

Interested in Training?

Register for one of Charlotte Works’ Train the Trainer Workshops


Client-serving agencies can incorporate Working Smart into existing training programs to boost outcomes or direct participants to one of many agencies currently offering the curriculum.

We’ve teamed up with the Center for Applied Research at Central Piedmont Community College to evaluate Working Smart value and effectiveness based on trainer and participant feedback. Read the full report here.

Working Smart-certified graduates will learn (but not be limited to) the following topics:

  • Personal Branding
  • Self-Change
  • Stress Management
  • Employer Expectations
  • Code-Switching
  • Active Listening
  • Four C’s of Communication
  • Handling Feedback
  • Goal Setting
  • Facts vs. Opinions

There are eleven agencies in Mecklenburg County that offer the Working Smart program. Charlotte Works serves as a convener for all certified agencies in both North and South Carolina, and we offer guidance and assistance to all agencies that offer the program.

Any community agencies that are interested in providing the Working Smart program should contact Shemia Williams at for more information.

Working Smart for Job-Seekers

Employers are looking for people who not only have the technical skills and experience to do the job, but also bring the “soft skills” that lead to success. This includes communication skills, problem-solving, time management, accountability and more. Working Smart provides the tools to help you keep a job, excel at your job and be more productive overall.

During the Working Smart program, you will master the skills that employers believe are critical to job success. If you are interested in increasing your chances for employment and promotion, you should enroll. All classes are free-of-charge for job-seekers.

Working Smart: Soft Skills for Workplace Success consists of five modules taught over a minimum of 24 hours. Agency scheduling varies, but most sites offer the program multiple days per week so you can complete the certification in less than a month.

Here’s what you learn in a Working Smart training session:

Self-awareness skills

Self-awareness skills needed to portray a confident and authentic sense of self. Examples include identifying your core values and goals, learning how beliefs drive behaviors, understanding the process of change and realizing the power of perceptions.

Employer-awareness skills

Employer-awareness skills needed to separate your personal and professional selves. Examples include understanding unspoken workplace expectations, managing competing home and work demands, taking initiative and being accountable and using professional judgment while at work.

Self-management skills

Self-management skills needed to respond to and de-escalate stressful situations that could put jobs at risk. You will have a clear understanding of stress and its impact on behavior and learn strategies to manage emotions when they are triggered at work.

Conflict resolution and critical-thinking skills

Conflict resolution and critical-thinking skills needed to solve problems and make decisions at work. You will learn to work through interpersonal problems, analyze information, clearly express concerns at work, manage difficult situations, compromise with colleagues and receive feedback and direction from supervisors.

Communication skills

Communication skills needed to handle everyday interactions with customers, co-workers and supervisors. Examples include providing excellent service, sending and receiving messages effectively, strengthening active listening skills and understanding the impact of non-verbal communication.

Upon completion, you will possess the employability skills most important to employers. In addition, you will receive a certificate from Charlotte Works that is supported by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Workforce Development Partners. This helps you stand out from the crowd and gives you a competitive edge as a job-seeker or employee working toward a promotion.

“Working Smart gave me a better understanding of myself and my future. I now feel prepared to move forward with my life and plan my career, not just a job.”
~ Working Smart Program Graduate

Charlotte Works is just one of eleven agencies in Mecklenburg County that offers Working Smart. To find out when the next Working Smart classes are offered, please email Shemia Williams at

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Leading the development of a skilled and in-demand workforce by engaging businesses, aligning community partners, empowering and connecting job seekers to meaningful employment, and fostering inclusive economic growth.