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ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION

WorkAdvance Merges Sector Training and Postemployment Support

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August 5, 2013

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WorkAdvance Merges Sector Training and Postemployment Support

An evaluation of the early years of WorkAdvance, a skills-building model developed by the New York City Center for Economic Opportunity and MDRC, demonstrates the promise of this new model.

WorkAdvance was developed to help low-income adults prepare for, enter and succeed in high-demand career fields that offer opportunities for advancement. So far, the program has launched in New York City; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Cleveland and Youngstown, Ohio.

The WorkAdvance plan aligns initial training, all the way through postemployment guidance, with employer needs:

  • Intensive applicant screening
  • Sector-focused pre-employment services, such as career planning, preparing resumes and job interviewing skills
  • Sector-specific occupational skills training
  • Sector-specific job placement
  • Postemployment retention and advancement services, including ongoing coaching, follow up with employers and assistance with rapid re-employment, if needed

WorkAdvance programs differ in several ways, based on the needs of the sector and the local market:

  • Some providers offer training first and some provide two tracks: one for training first and one for placement first, when individuals qualify for a job without specific training beforehand
  • Most providers rely on partner institutions, such as community colleges, technical colleges and other training vendors, for training, while one provider offers training courses in-house
  • At least two providers have already changed their training approaches in response to a shifting labor market
  • To help ensure high completion rates, several providers have taken additional steps to support participants, including open houses to help families realize the commitment the participants are making as well as paid internships
  • Providers have found a variety of ways to engage employer partners, including advisory groups

Enrollment into the WorkAdvance study is scheduled to end this summer. The first full report on the program, which will focus on implementation issues, will be published in 2014.

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