Offers key principles for Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) using career pathways with disadvantaged populations, based on experiences of Workforce Innovation and Regional Economic Development (WIRED) grantees serving those populations.
"An increasing number of workforce investment boards (WIBs) and workforce providers have been applying career ladder principles to a rather different task: training the unemployed and hard-to-employ. This strategy has shown considerable promise as away of meeting the needs of this population. Based on the successful practices employed by a range of career pathways programs for low-skill, unemployed individuals, this Issue Brief presents a set of six principles that should be the basis for the development of any program intending to use career ladder strategies as a means of bringing hard-to-place individuals into the workforce and keeping them there" (p.1). (Abstractor: Author)

Major Findings & Recommendations

• Form or expand existing employer consortium(s) to inform and design customized career pathways for low-income workers. • Conduct employer surveys and/or regional labor market scans to create training that is based on real-time employer demand. • Maintain open and on-going communication with employers and/or consortia members with the frequency that best meets their needs (monthly, quarterly, as-needed) and in the venue (on-site or off-site) that’s most convenient for them. • Develop a tiered training scheme that offers immediate access or advancement opportunities for students who want to commit to longer-term training, even if they need substantive remediation first. • Provide multiple trainings that result in “stackable” credentials recognized by employers. • Where industry-specific career ladders are not possible, design short-term trainings in multiple and related occupations that offer the opportunity for lateral movement and direct advancement. • Provide case management jointly with organizations that have relationships with career ladder participants. • Integrate training and case management. • Offer case managers and WIB staff an overview of industry basics weekend classes. • Provide flexibility around course completion when students encounter unforeseen barriers. • Develop web-based training—offered online or out of mobile sites—for individuals in rural areas who may lack access to home computers and the Internet. • Provide career-specific ESL courses to introduce participants to the career pathways. • Subsidize training to permit low-income participants with pressing financial needs to participate (p.2-4). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)