Discusses a new skills-building model designed to help low-income adults prepare for, enter, and succeed in quality jobs in high-demand fields with opportunities for career growth.
“This brief discusses the origins of the WorkAdvance model, its major features, how it is being evaluated, and some early observations of how providers are operating the program” (p.1)…. “The theory behind WorkAdvance is that an employment program will be more effective in helping low-skilled individuals advance in the labor market the more it aligns its training, job preparation, job placement, and postemployment guidance with employers’ needs. This underlying principle drives all of the main features of the model”, which included intensive screening of applicants, sector-focused pre-employment services, sector-specific occupational skills training, sector-specific job development and placement, and postemployment retention and advancement services (p.3). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Major Findings & Recommendations

Preliminary findings of the evaluation illustrated the contours of early operational challenges and accomplishments: • “Providers had to invest more in recruitment than anticipated” (p.6). • “Overall, enrollees were better educated and had more work experience than participants in earlier employment retention and advancement programs. But they were still a low-income group and, in some sites, included a large number of ex-offenders or people with other serious employment barriers” (p.7). • “The WorkAdvance providers offered occupation-specific skills training courses” (p.7). • “At least two providers had already altered their training approaches to cope with a shifting labor market” (p.8). • “To help ensure high completion rates, several providers took extra steps to support participants” (p.8). • “It was challenging for providers to operate dual-track programs in which some participants go into training and others are placed directly into jobs” (p.8). • “Overall, career advancement guidance lagged behind other services, but was beginning to take hold” (p.8). • “Providers found a variety of ways to engage employer partners” (p.9). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)