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  • Individual Author: Eyster, Lauren; Stanczyk, Alexandra ; Nightingale, Demetra S.; Martinson, Karin ; Trutko, John
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2009

    This is the first report from the evaluation of the Community-Based Job Training Grants (CBJTG) being conducted by the Urban Institute, with its partners Johns Hopkins University and Capital Research Corporation. The CBJTG program focuses on building the capacity of community colleges to provide training to workers for high-growth, high-demand industries. The evaluation began in July 2008 with the purpose of documenting the different models and projects that are operating with grant funds, examining and assessing the implementation of grant-funded projects, and identifying innovative features and promising strategies. This report is based on a review of proposals and reports from 211 grantees available through the end of 2008. The information provides a comprehensive picture of the grantee organizations and the activities planned for their CBJTG-funded projects. (author abstract)

    This is the first report from the evaluation of the Community-Based Job Training Grants (CBJTG) being conducted by the Urban Institute, with its partners Johns Hopkins University and Capital Research Corporation. The CBJTG program focuses on building the capacity of community colleges to provide training to workers for high-growth, high-demand industries. The evaluation began in July 2008 with the purpose of documenting the different models and projects that are operating with grant funds, examining and assessing the implementation of grant-funded projects, and identifying innovative features and promising strategies. This report is based on a review of proposals and reports from 211 grantees available through the end of 2008. The information provides a comprehensive picture of the grantee organizations and the activities planned for their CBJTG-funded projects. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Spaulding, Shayne; Blount, David
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    Employers need skilled workers to fill open jobs. Yet some workers face barriers to employment, even as the national unemployment rate dips to its lowest level in nearly two decades. These workers might face such challenges as a lack of skills, gaps in employment, or previous involvement in the criminal justice system.

    Workforce development programs can help these workers overcome barriers to employment, helping them become a valuable resource to employers. Community-based organizations (CBOs) rooted in local communities and neighborhoods strive to engage employers and build trusting relationships with them to help workers get jobs and succeed at work while ensuring that employment programs meet employer needs.

    CBOs face challenges engaging with employers, but they can be overcome

    CBOs serving people with barriers to work face challenges in engaging employers. Employers are often wary of working with these groups or might perceive these organizations as working with less desirable employees. Persistent discrimination in hiring practices can...

    Employers need skilled workers to fill open jobs. Yet some workers face barriers to employment, even as the national unemployment rate dips to its lowest level in nearly two decades. These workers might face such challenges as a lack of skills, gaps in employment, or previous involvement in the criminal justice system.

    Workforce development programs can help these workers overcome barriers to employment, helping them become a valuable resource to employers. Community-based organizations (CBOs) rooted in local communities and neighborhoods strive to engage employers and build trusting relationships with them to help workers get jobs and succeed at work while ensuring that employment programs meet employer needs.

    CBOs face challenges engaging with employers, but they can be overcome

    CBOs serving people with barriers to work face challenges in engaging employers. Employers are often wary of working with these groups or might perceive these organizations as working with less desirable employees. Persistent discrimination in hiring practices can make it even more difficult to help participants with these characteristics or backgrounds secure employment.

    This report highlights promising approaches and strategies CBOs can use to engage with employers. The findings are based on the experiences of three grantees under JPMorgan Chase’s New Skills at Work initiative: Cara Chicago, Henry Street Settlement, and Community Learning Center Inc.

    Strategies CBOs use to engage with employers

    Several themes emerged from our conversations with program staff, partner organizations, and employers regarding their approaches to employer engagement:

    • Carefully select and target employer partners. An intentional approach to identifying and selecting partners is important for assisting participants with significant barriers to employment. When prospecting, CBOs can look for employers that meet certain criteria, such as being community minded and having the desire to invest in workers.
    • Ensure service delivery reflects a strong knowledge of employer and job seeker needs. The organizations we visited talked about the intensive work they do to understand employer and job seeker needs and then design services to meet those needs. Staff said aligning and customizing “concierge-level” services was key to effectively engaging employers.
    • Build trusting relationships with employers by providing high-quality service and making good matches. CBOs assisting people with barriers to employment must make the best match. CBOs must learn the needs of job seekers and employers, make good matches between the two, and provide support to ensure matches are successful. Building trust with an employer is about high-quality service over time.
    • Help employers get beyond stigma. One of the biggest barriers job seekers face is the stigma employers attach to particular groups or communities and the CBOs that serve them. To move beyond this stigma, CBOs can focus on the assets of job seekers, expose employers to job seekers in nonhiring settings, use transitional jobs to open up access, and advocate for specific participants.
    • Leverage partnerships and community knowledge as an employer engagement strategy. CBOs used their knowledge of community and business needs to develop and strengthen their strategies for engaging employers. They seemed to understand the needs of their communities and employer partners and how to leverage partnerships to meet those needs.

    This report adds to our knowledge base by identifying the employer engagement strategies and approaches used by community-based organizations assisting people with significant barriers to employment. The goal is to help CBOs identify and implement effective strategies and to inform public and private funders about such approaches. (Author abstract) 

     

  • Individual Author: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    This project explores how the need for workers in healthcare professions can be partially met by hiring individuals with criminal records who do not pose a risk to public safety. The report is organized around the following five things to consider for employing certain individuals with criminal records in the healthcare sector:

    1. Growth in the healthcare sector has created a demand for healthcare employees that some individuals with criminal records are qualified to fill safely.
    2. Improved methods for screening an applicant’s criminal record are being successfully used throughout the country.
    3. Emergency Medical Technicians, Certified Nursing Assistants, and Community Health Workers are growing healthcare occupations that have been successfully filled by individuals with criminal records.                                                             
    4. The federal government, states, and communities are engaging in efforts to eliminate unnecessary occupational licensing requirements and focus on requirements that are needed for health and safety....

    This project explores how the need for workers in healthcare professions can be partially met by hiring individuals with criminal records who do not pose a risk to public safety. The report is organized around the following five things to consider for employing certain individuals with criminal records in the healthcare sector:

    1. Growth in the healthcare sector has created a demand for healthcare employees that some individuals with criminal records are qualified to fill safely.
    2. Improved methods for screening an applicant’s criminal record are being successfully used throughout the country.
    3. Emergency Medical Technicians, Certified Nursing Assistants, and Community Health Workers are growing healthcare occupations that have been successfully filled by individuals with criminal records.                                                             
    4. The federal government, states, and communities are engaging in efforts to eliminate unnecessary occupational licensing requirements and focus on requirements that are needed for health and safety.
    5. With appropriate screening, hiring individuals with criminal records can improve the healthcare workforce. (Author abstract)

     

  • Individual Author: Hendra, Richard ; Greenberg, David H.; Hamilton, Gayle; Oppenheim, Ari; Pennington, Alexandra; Schaberg, Kelsey; Tessler, Betsy L.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2016

    This report summarizes the two-year findings of a rigorous random assignment evaluation of the WorkAdvance model, a sectoral training and advancement initiative. Launched in 2011, WorkAdvance goes beyond the previous generation of employment programs by introducing demand-driven skills training and a focus on jobs that have career pathways. The model is heavily influenced by the positive findings from the Sectoral Employment Impact Study (SEIS) completed in 2010. A major component of the WorkAdvance model, in common with the programs studied in the SEIS, is formal training offering industry-recognized certifications, reflecting the hypothesis that skills acquisition is necessary for advancement. The model also requires providers to be far more employer-facing than traditional training programs, taking into account multiple employers’ changing skill requirements, employee assessment practices, and personnel needs. This report presents the implementation, cost, participation, and two-year economic impacts of WorkAdvance. The economic results are based on unemployment insurance...

    This report summarizes the two-year findings of a rigorous random assignment evaluation of the WorkAdvance model, a sectoral training and advancement initiative. Launched in 2011, WorkAdvance goes beyond the previous generation of employment programs by introducing demand-driven skills training and a focus on jobs that have career pathways. The model is heavily influenced by the positive findings from the Sectoral Employment Impact Study (SEIS) completed in 2010. A major component of the WorkAdvance model, in common with the programs studied in the SEIS, is formal training offering industry-recognized certifications, reflecting the hypothesis that skills acquisition is necessary for advancement. The model also requires providers to be far more employer-facing than traditional training programs, taking into account multiple employers’ changing skill requirements, employee assessment practices, and personnel needs. This report presents the implementation, cost, participation, and two-year economic impacts of WorkAdvance. The economic results are based on unemployment insurance earnings records and a second-year follow-up survey.

    The WorkAdvance program operations and evaluation are funded through the federal Social Innovation Fund (SIF), a public-private partnership administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service. This SIF project is led by the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and the NYC Center for Economic Opportunity in collaboration with MDRC.

    Key Findings

    • All providers translated the WorkAdvance model into a set of concrete services, but it took time — more than a year for some components and providers — and a substantial amount of technical assistance and support. As a result, at some sites, later study enrollees were more likely than earlier ones to experience a fully implemented and “mature” WorkAdvance program.
    • Overall, WorkAdvance resulted in very large increases in participation in every category of services, as well as in training completion and credential acquisition, compared with what would have happened in the absence of the program. Expenditures for the operation of WorkAdvance fell between $5,200 and $6,700 per participant at the four providers delivering the program.
    • WorkAdvance providers increased earnings, with variation in results that closely matched the providers’ experience in running sector-based programs and the extent to which the services they offered were demand driven. The most experienced sectoral provider, Per Scholas, had large and consistent impacts on both primary and secondary outcomes. Madison Strategies Group and Towards Employment, providers new to sectoral training, had promising but less consistent results that grew stronger for later enrollees. One provider, St. Nicks Alliance, did not produce positive impacts. The results did not differ dramatically across subgroups, though encouragingly, WorkAdvance was able to increase earnings among the long-term unemployed.

    The evaluation as a whole provides important information for workforce development providers interested in pursuing a sector strategy. The analysis considers the role played by providers’ sector-specific training and preparation and the role played by the nature of the sectors themselves. Future priorities that emerge from the results are (1) understanding how to help the more disadvantaged access the programs and (2) learning how to build service capacity, given how complex the model is to run. (Author abstract)

     

  • Individual Author: Bird, Kisha; Amaechi, Andrea; West Bey, Nia; Taliaferro, Wayne
    Reference Type: Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 2016

    Youth of color are full of promise; they are courageous, intelligent, creative, curious, bold, and resilient. An investment strategy placing them at the center and addressing the structural barriers that keep them locked out of social, emotional, and economic prosperity because of their race/ethnicity, gender, and/or zip code is both fiscally responsible and socially responsible. Leaders at all levels and in all sectors--from law enforcement to education and in the public and private sectors--must value the lives of young men and women of color and acknowledge implicit biases that promulgate negative stereotypes. Public policy reforms to expand youth justice and diversion strategies should not be based on a single program model, rather public policy should build the community capacity to create and/or strengthen a comprehensive delivery system for youth, whereby justice, workforce, education, mental health, and community-based partners are indispensable. This paper represents a first step towards a more powerfully linked agenda for justice reform. In particular, the paper...

    Youth of color are full of promise; they are courageous, intelligent, creative, curious, bold, and resilient. An investment strategy placing them at the center and addressing the structural barriers that keep them locked out of social, emotional, and economic prosperity because of their race/ethnicity, gender, and/or zip code is both fiscally responsible and socially responsible. Leaders at all levels and in all sectors--from law enforcement to education and in the public and private sectors--must value the lives of young men and women of color and acknowledge implicit biases that promulgate negative stereotypes. Public policy reforms to expand youth justice and diversion strategies should not be based on a single program model, rather public policy should build the community capacity to create and/or strengthen a comprehensive delivery system for youth, whereby justice, workforce, education, mental health, and community-based partners are indispensable. This paper represents a first step towards a more powerfully linked agenda for justice reform. In particular, the paper proposes policy strategies that envision work and educational opportunities, along with health and mental health supports, as part of the formula needed to dismantle structural barriers that push youth of color out of school and into detention and incarceration; prevent them from obtaining employment and entering careers with family sustaining wages; and lock them perpetually out of opportunity. The goal of this paper is to provide a framework for recommendations to expand youth justice reform and diversion strategies based on these core ideas of education and employment pathways along with health and mental health supports that can prevent youth of color from entering the juvenile or criminal justice system in the first place, and better support them during and after detention, placement, and/or incarceration. (Author abstract)

     

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