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Workforce Development Sector Analysis Focusing on Workforce Development for Adults with Barriers to Employment in Charlotte-Mecklenburg

Prepared by: Carol Morris Consulting and The Lee Institute

August 2011

i


Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Workforce Development Board and J a c ob’ sL a dderJ obCent e r have jointly served as the sponsoring organizations for this analysis of the workforce development sector. They secured the funding from Foundation For The Carolinas, hired and guided the consultant team and plan to convene a multi-organizational leadership team to assure a sustainable and coordinated response to this study.

F ounda t i onF orT heCa r ol i na s ’ Communi t yCa t a l y s t Program provided the generous funding for this study. The Community Catalyst Program is dedicated to providing nonprofit agencies with support for strategic transformations, including innovative service models, collaborations, partnerships and mergers. Its intention is to enable nonprofits to reposition themselves to meet a future characterized by increased demands for services and diminished funding.

Carol Morris Consulting Carol Morris Consulting and The Lee Institute have served as the consultant team for this study. Both organizations have a rich history of working as researchers, project managers and facilitators for large community change initiatives in the greater Charlotte region, and bring a collaborative emphasis to their work.

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PREFACE

Goodwi l l I ndus t r i esoft heS out her nPi edmontI nc . , J a c ob’ sL a dderJ obCent erI nc . a ndt he CharlotteMec k l enbur gWor k f or c eDev el opmentBoa r dj oi nt l ya ppr oa c hedF ounda t i onF orT heCa r ol i na s ’ Community Catalyst Program for a grant in 2010 to explore opportunities for strengthening community services for adult job seekers, particularly those with traditional barriers to employment. The Community Catalyst Program is dedicated to providing nonprofit agencies with support for strategic transformations, including innovative service models, collaborations, partnerships and mergers. Its intention is to enable nonprofits to reposition themselves to meet a future characterized by increased demands for services and diminished funding. The three sponsoring organizations issued a request for proposal in the summer of 2010. The Lee Institute and Carol Morris Consulting jointly submitted a proposal and were contracted to undertake this important work starting in the fall 2010. The consulting team designed an inclusive process to gather data and perspectives from: Organizations that need and often fund employment and training services for their clients; Providers of employment and training services, including case managers and job developers; Clients who have a need for or have used employment and training services in the past; and Employers who have hired “ g r a dua t es ”ofe mpl oy menta ndt r a i ni ngpr og r a msorha v eot her unique perspectives on the public and non-profit workforce sectors. The consulting team completed 28 interviews and eight focus groups to learn about local needs, successes and ideas for improvement; developed a profile of the local workforce development sector summarizing services provided by each organization; scanned the literature and experiences of innovative communities around the country to surface possible strategies for local implementation; and designed and hosted three progressive gatherings of professionals working in the workforce development sector to share early findings, receive feedback and create momentum for local change. The result was: A comprehensive analysis of the public and non-profit workforce development sector serving adults with barriers to employment in Charlotte-Mecklenburg; Identification of opportunities for strengthening coordination, integration and leveraging of resources to better serve both job seekers and the businesses that employ them; and Workforce development organizations have begun to see themselves as a unified sector— more than a collection of agencies. An eight-member steering committee, consisting of professional and board leaders of the three sponsoring organizations, guided the work of the consulting team and met regularly from September 2010 through July 2011. The committee plans to convene a multi-organizational leadership team to assure a sustainable and coordinated response to this study, picking up on some of the short and long-term recommendations contained herein to capitalize on the momentum for collaboration built over the course of this study. The consulting team of The Lee Institute and Carol Morris Consulting is excited to present its findings in the pages that follow and grateful for the support and openness of the workforce development community to explore bold new ways of working together. iii


TABLE OF CONTENTS Executive Summary

i

Introduction

1

Employment Outlook for Charlotte-Mecklenburg: What can low-wage, low-skilled workers expect?

2

Job Seekers with Barriers to Employment: Who are they and what are their main barriers?

5

Overview of Local Workforce Development Sector

9

Who are the Current Players?

9

What is the Continuum of Employment and Training Service Offered?

11

How are employment and training programs funded?

16

How many adults are using workforce development services?

18

What are the collective outcomes of the workforce development sector

20

Perceptions of the Local Development Workforce Sector: What do key stakeholders say about it?

21

From One-on-One Consultant Interviews with Sector Leaders

21

From Focus Groups

23

Assessment of Local Workforce Development Sector: Conclusions of Consultant Team

25

Five Fundamental Weaknesses Limiting the Potential Impact of the Current Workforce Development Sector Consultant Team Recommendations: Shifting Gears for Sector-Wide Change

25 31

Five Recommended Structural Shifts

31

Guiding Principles for a Highly Effective Workforce Development Sector

32

How to Bring About Structural Shifts in the Workforce Development Sector

33

Moving to Action

54

Conclusion

56

Appendices Appendix I: Glossary of Terms Appendix II: People/Organizations Interviewed Appendix III: Service Matrix Appendix IV: Workforce Development S ec t or“ S t or y �f or20 16

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Low-skilled job seekers and entry-level workers with barriers to employment have been disproportionately affected by the recession. Already challenged to find quality jobs before the economy weakened, they are now struggling to compete in a much more highly competitive, knowledge-based labor market than existed even five years ago. The majority of job openings in the future will require some sort of post-secondary credential, leaving behind many low-skilled workers. Local workforce development organizations have been hard pressed to effectively keep up with the record-breaking demand for assistance from this challenged population since the recession began. This analysis, initiated by Goodwi l l I ndus t r i esoft heS out her nPi edmontI nc . , J a c ob’ sL a dderJ ob Center Inc. and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Workforce Development Board, tells the collective “ s t or y ”oft henumer ousg ov er nmenta ndnon-profit agencies and educational institutions that serve adults with barriers to employment in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. It reveals many of the issues, challenges and opportunities these organizations face as a sector and suggests how—working together—they might shift gears to deepen their collective impact on the employment outcomes of the many low-skilled and low-wage workers they serve.

A FEW FACTS ABOUT ADULTS WITH BARRIERS TO EMPLOYMENT Barriers to employment take many forms: language, educational and basic skills deficiencies; emotional and/or physical barriers; situational barriers such as poverty, homelessness and/or criminal records; and institutional barriers such as limitations of our public transportation system, impact of g ov er nment“ s i l os ”of t enwor k i nga tc r os s -purposes, and racial/ethnic stereotypes and biases. Unfortunately, many adults deal with multiple barriers to employment. In Mecklenburg County, nearly a third of all adults 25 and older have only a high school credential or less. Almost 23% of working adults are considered illiterate, and 16% of Spanish s pea k i nga dul t sdon’ ts pea ka nyE ng l i s h.I na ddi t i on, a ppr ox i ma t el y50, 000a dul t si n Mecklenburg County have a disability.

SNAPSHOT OF THE LOCAL WORKFORCE SECTOR  Charlotte-Mecklenburg Workforce Development Board (WDB)  NC Employment Security Commission (ESC)  NC Division. of Voc Rehab

Key Workforce Sector Players Government-Related Agencies Contracts

 CPCC  UNC Charlotte Continuing Education Program

Public Adult Educational Institutions

 Mecklenburg County Area Mental Health  Meck lenburg County Dept. of Social Services  Mecklenburg County Senior Center  Me c k l e nbur gCount yS he r i f f ’ sDe pt .  Me c kl e nbur gCount yWome n’ sCommi s s i on  Centralina Area Agency on Aging

Contracts Job Seeker Referrals

Employers

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Non-Profit and Faith-Based Organizations

 BRIDGE Job’ s Program  Center for Community Transitions  Charlotte Area Fund  Charlotte Enterprise Community  Friendship CDC  Goodwill Industries of Southern Piedmont J a c ob’ sL a dde rJ obCe nt e r  Latin American Coalition  Urban League of Central Carolinas  Autism Services  Easter Seals/UCP  Nevin Center  LifeSpan  InReach


Eight local and state government-affiliated agencies, including Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC), administer the majority of federal and state workforce development dollars that come into Mecklenburg County. In FY201, government funding amounted to a little over $15.1 million. CPCC, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Workforce Development Board, NC Department of Vocational Rehabilitation and Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services WorkFirst Program are the major local recipients of federal and state workforce development funding. Many of the government agencies do not provide direct workforce-related services to clients. They contract with non-profit organizations that specialize in employment and training. In a ddi t i ont oc ont r a c t i ngwi t hg ov er nmenta g enc i es , t hes ec t or ’ snon-profits are sustained through annual fund raising, grants and, in a few instances, income generated from social enterprises such a sGoodwi l l ’ sr et a i l s t or esa ndGood Work Staffing, a temporary staffing agency.

CONTINUUM OF WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT SERVICES AND SUPPORT

Accessibility of Services/Support for Adults in Charlotte-Mecklenburg

As illustrated in the diagram below, employment and training services represent a continuum spanning from pre-employment services to job retention and advancement, with support services provided at many points along the continuum. The shaded triangle depicts where the greatest concentrations of services and support currently exist. Aggregate data is not available to determine the number of unique individuals who have been utilizing the various workforce development services and programs. Many individuals are served by multiple organizations, and no tracking mechanism exists to establish an unduplicated count of sector participants.

Continuum of Employment and Training Services Pre-Employment Services

Hard Skills Training

Assessment and Evaluation

Remedial Education

Employment Support

Job Retention and Advancement

Work Experience

Job Coaching and Mentoring

On-the-Job Training, Apprenticeships, etc.

General Skills Training

Adult Basic Ed, GED,

Job Readiness Soft Skills, Job Search Skills, Basic Computer Skills, Workplace Norms

Job Development

Specific Occupational Skills Training

Job Placement

Career Exploration and Planning

Career/Wage Advancement Continuing Education

Work Supports Budget Assistance, Income Enhancements

Support Services—e.g. case management, transportation, childcare, clothing/uniforms, healthcare, etc.

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ASSESSMENT OF THE LOCAL WORKFORCE SECTOR Charlotte-Mec k l enbur g ’ swor k f or c edevelopment sector includes many agencies, organizations and individuals who are deeply committed to improving employment opportunities for adults with barriers to employment. Their individual efforts have been valiant in the face of double-digit unemployment, budget cuts and record-breaking demand for assistance from low-skilled and often marginalized job seekers. The lagging economy has forced many of these organizations to examine their modes of operation and identify ways they can more effectively serve their clients— independently and in partnership with others. Some are gearing up for change faster than others. Informed by best practice research and diverse input from key sector stakeholders—including the more than 50 stakeholders attending three collaborative partner building meetings held during the analysis process—the consultant team has identified five structural weaknesses it believes must be addressed for the local workforce development sector to become more effective and r el ev a nti nt oda y ’ schanging economy:

FUNDAMENTAL SECTOR-WIDE ISSUES IDENTIFIED BY CONSULTANT TEAM 1. The workforce sector generally operates as a patchwork of organizations working independently:  No coordinating leadership structure or network exists.  Government-funded programs are not coordinated or aligned across agencies.  The myriad of programs/services are confusing and difficult to navigate.  Mutual client information is typically not shared across organizations.  No mechanism is in place to determine sector-wide utilization of and collective impact of services. 2. Weak linkages exist between the sector and the employer/demand-side of workforce development:  The business community is largely disengaged from workforce development efforts focused on low-skilled workers.  The sector has limited knowledge of labor market needs and supply, particularly in high-demand industries and occupations. 3. Employment expectations for low-skilled workers are often too low, with entry-level jobs seen as the “ endg a me” :  Federally-funded programs have few incentives to focus on sustaining careers.  Job seekers have limited access to career exploration and planning.  Attention to career pathways and higher earning potential is generally limited. 4. Individualized needs of job seekers are often not identified, and resources to address them are limited:  In-depth assessments of job seekers needs are often lacking.  Available resources limit opportunities for one-on-one support.  Wraparound support is lacking for many job seekers with complex needs. 5. The continuum of services for job seekers is not fully developed in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.  An assortment of soft-skills training is offered, with little sector-wide agreement on best practices.  Job seekers have limited access to industry-specific hard skills training and post-secondary credentials.  Job development throughout the sector is fragmented.  Work experience opportunities for job seekers are scarce.  Limited resources are devoted to job retention and advancement after a person is hired.

The consultant team recommends that the local workforce development sector shift gears to address these structural weaknesses. A summary of the recommended shifts and opportunities for implementation follows. vii


SHIFTING GEARS FOR COLLECTIVE IMPACT: Recommended Structural Shifts and Implementation Opportunities to Consider

An integrated sector aligned with shared workforce goals and outcomes A. Coalition/leadership group B. Alignment of government funds C. Common definitions/standards D. Specialization for organizations E. Common database F. Query-based web portal G. T r a i ni ng“ a c a de my ”

Shift From

SHIFT

SHIFT

SHIFT

SHIFT

SHIFT

Shift To

Patchwork of agencies and programs working independently

Dual-customer focus serving both j obs eek er s ’ ANDempl oy er s ’ needs A. Industry sector partnerships B. Sector-specific training C. Employer involvement in program and training design D. Knowledge of labor market E. Career-ready certificate F. Dual customer database

Supply-driven sector primarily serving job seekers ’ needs

Career pathways approach that leads to living wage employment A. Career ladders B. Career exploration/planning C. Bridge training

Focus on entry-level jobs as “ e ndg a me ”f orma j or i t yof job seekers

Individualized, holistic guidance and wraparound support for job seekers A. Holistic assessment tool B. One-on-one counseling C. Partnerships with community organizations for support D. Cultural competency E. Specialized JobLink services

Limited individualized attention to job seekers with barriers

A fully developed continuum of workforce services and support A. Contextualized soft-skill straining B. Coordinated job development C. Transitional work opportunities D. Job retention/advancement

Primary focus on providing preemployment services

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MOVING TO ACTION As part of the assessment process, three collaborative partner meetings were held bringing sector professionals together to discuss key issues and findings. Input from these meetings contributed greatly to the cons ul t a ntt e a m’ sr ec ommenda t i onsf ors ec t orc ha ng ea nd, i nf a c t , c r ea t eda certain expectation for change. At the third meeting, the collaborative partners confirmed the need for the creation of a cross-organizational leadership team to spearhead sector change. With the completion of this assessment, the sector has now arrived at the critical juncture in the community change process—moving from thinking to doing—wher ei tpa y st o“ t a k ei ts l ow”t o g ett he“ r i g ht ”pe opl et ot het a bl ef oras us t a i na bl e , c ol l a borative implementation phase. The consultant team offers the following process tips to help sector leaders organize for change:  Recruitment: Recruit people for the leadership team who are passionate about their work and operate as effective connectors and communicators. Involve respected leaders with a history of embracing change.  Sustaining Energy: The leadership team will need to establish and sustain a sense of urgency to maintain momentum and a bias for action.  Building Community: People tend to stick with groups where there is a strong sense of belonging. Building relationships takes time, yet is the glue for collaboration to work.  Logistics: Staying highly organized s howsr es pec tf orpeopl e’ st i mea ndwi l l pr e v ent rework. Attention to meeting agendas, summaries, meeting space, refreshments and handouts, for example, may seem tedious, but actually is an investment, helping to keep t heg r oup’ sa t t ent i ononi t smi s s i ona ndobj ec t i v e s .  Facilitation: The leadership team will need to identify a chair or co-chairs. These individuals will share accountability for delivering results for which they may not have direct authority. As such, they may find that there are times when it is difficult to facilitate the collaboration while, simultaneously, owning the content. For some meetings, a neutral facilitator may be needed to free up the chair(s) to participate in the discussion as a member of the group.  Marketing: Create a clear mission and vision that the team embraces. The facts, figures and stories that compel leaders to join a team also make it easier for them to talk with others in the community about their important work.  Building Shared Ownership: Clear outcomes and a written plan for action are essential. The best plans use language that keeps the focus on desired outcomes for customers, in this case, job seekers and employers. The best plans also clarify how success will be measured. While this report challenges the workforce development sector to embrace significant structural shifts, neither t hewor k f or c ede v el opments e c t ornora nyot hers i ng l es ec t orc a n“ g oi ta l one. ” Ourna t i on’ swor k f or c ei st hepr oduc tofmul t i pl ea ndov er l a ppi ngs y s t e ms —including families, childcare, physical and mental health, education, transportation, social services and business and industry. All these systems are needed to prevent people from falling through the cracks. Jjob seekers, especially those with barriers to employment, need the workforce development sector to work seamlessly with all other sectors to help them succeed.

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INTRODUCTION The convergence of several forces makes 2011 an ideal time for a comprehensive analysis of Charlotte-Mec k l enbur g ’ swor k f or c edev el opments e c t ort ha tf oc us esona dul t swi t hba r r i er st o employment. Due to the recession, our entire population is now competing for fewer jobs than before the economy began to unravel a few years ago. But low-skilled and low-wage workers have been the hardest hit by job losses and unemployment. They are crowded into the back of the queue of more experienced workers, and many are giving up hope. National figures indicate an unemployment rate of 31% among our lowest wage workers.1 During this same time, our economy has become increasingly more knowledge-based, requiring higher levels of education and skills to fill available jobs. People without educational preparation and skills in-demand are being relegated to low-wage jobs without opportunities for advancement, assuming they are able to secure jobs at all. Continual advances in technology bring new demands for skilled, flexible workers while removing jobs for manual and other unskilled laborers from the marketplace. Nearly 60% of all projected job openings in North Carolina will require post-secondary education in 20182. Bottom line—the marketplace requires higher level skills than what worked for the average person in the past. Charlotte-Mecklenburg is home to dozens of public and private agencies working hard to tool up orr e t ool wor k er sofa l l a g e st oc ompet ei nt oda y ’ sma r k et pl a c e. T hey compete for limited public and philanthropic funds to meet the needs of a growing number of job seekers, many of whom are faced with multiple and complex issues that keep them from effectively competing for jobs. This analysis: Identifies common barriers to employment and describes the types of people who are

most likely to be experiencing those barriers;

Provides an overview and analysis of the existing workforce development sector by

identifying the service providers and their niches within the continuum of services for job seekers. Funding streams, service gaps and sector strengths, challenges and opportunities are also presented; and

Offers what a highly effective workforce development sector could look like and what it will take to get there, considering innovative practices here and elsewhere and the aspirations and wisdom of professionals across our community.

1

Andrew Sum and Ishwar Khatiwoda, Center for Labor Market Studies, Northeastern University, Labor Utilization Problems of U.S. Workers Across Household Income Groups at the End of the Great Recession, February 2010. 2

Anthony Carnevale, Nicole Smith and Jeff Strohl, Georgetown University Center on Education, Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018, June 2010.

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EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK FOR CHARLOTTE-MECKLENBURG What can low-wage, low-skilled workers expect? Economic turmoil and uncertainties over the last several years have resulted in significant layoffs and rising unemployment in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. In January 2007, thec ount y ’ sunemployment rate was 4.6 %. By January 2009 it had climbed to 9.2% and then reached a near high of 11.9% in 2010. Still high in January 2011 at 10.2%, the rate has slowly begun to come down; in April it was 9.8%.3 Although a good indicator of economic conditions, the unemployment rate can be misleading, as it does not include people who are no longer looking for employment. Consequently, the true unemployment rate, particularly for low-wage adults, is higher. This extremely challenging economic climate is expected to persist for the next several years, with obvious detrimental consequences for employment across all segments. Individuals already facing substantial employment barriers during good economic times will continue to be disproportionately affected by the loss of economic opportunities. Many jobs lost before and during the recession are not coming back—especially the blue collar jobs that required only a high school education or less. As a result of technological change and globalization, fewer good-paying jobs will be available for people with low skills in the future. The Georgetown University Center on Education and Workforce Development released a study in 2010 that projects job growth across the U.S. This study projects that in North Carolina4: 1.4 million new jobs will be created between 2008 and 2018 from new jobs and job openings due to retirement; 833,000 of these job vacancies (59%) will require postsecondary credentials, with 413,000 (29%) of projected jobs requiring a minimum of a high school education and only 172,000 (12%) of all jobs appropriate for high school dropouts; Change in Jobs in North Carolina by Education Level: 2008 and 2018 All Existing and New Jobs Education Level 2008 Jobs 2018 Jobs Difference High school dropouts 550,000 593,000 42,000 High school graduates 1,310,000 1,425,000 115,000 Postsecondary education/training 2,553,000 2,875,000 322,000 All Jobs (existing and new) 3,863,000 4,300,000 437,000

Bottom line, growth in the number of jobs requiring a postsecondary credential compared to those requiring a high school education or less will be substantially higher over the next decade. The types of jobs projected for 2018 and educational levels required for each are included in the following table from the Georgetown University study.

3

Source: NC Employment Security Commission Anthony Carnevale, Nicole Smith and Jeff Strohl, Georgetown University Center on Education and The Workforce, Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018, State-Level Analysis, 2010. 4

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WHERE THE JOBS WILL BE IN 2018, BY OCCUPATION AND EDUCATION LEVEL High school dropouts

High School graduates

Some College

Management

11,000

41,000

51,000

23,000

94,000

42,000

262,000

Business operations Financial Specialist Legal Computer & Math Science Architect & Technicians Engineers & Technicians Life & Physical Science Social Scientists Community & social services Arts, design, entertainment, sports, media Education

3,000

16,000

20,000

12,000

42,000

15,000

108,000

<500

6,000

11,000

10,000

48,000

13,000

88,000

<500 1,000

2,000 6,000

3,000 18,000

2,000 13,000

4,000 52,000

14,000 21,000

26,000 110,000

<500

2,000

3,000

4,000

5,000

3,000

17,000

<500

5,000

7,000

7,000

22,000

8,000

50,000

1,000

3,000

3,000

2,000

13,000

13,000

36,000

<500 2,000

<500 8,000

1,000 12,000

<500 8,000

4,000 26,000

9,000 8,000

16,000 63,000

2,000

8,000

12,000

8,000

26,000

8,000

63,000

3,000

25,000

40,000

26,000

140,000

95,000

328,000

Healthcare Practitioners Healthcare support Food prep and serving Building & grounds maint. Personal care Protective services Sales Office and admin support Farming, fishing, forestry Construction & extraction Installation, maintenance, Transportation, material moving

2,000

22,000

36,000

75,000

72,000

70,000

277,000

19,000

67,000

70,000

23,000

10,000

3,000

191,000

108,000

163,000

83,000

26,000

31,000

6,000

418,000

56,000

72,000

25,000

10,000

8,000

1,000

171,000

12,000 3,000

42,000 33,000

37,000 34,000

14,000 15,000

16,000 21,000

3,000 2,000

124,000 108,000

43,000 37,000

158,000 224,000

139,000 225,000

46,000 94,000

138,000 109,000

24,000 18,000

547,000 706,000

12,000

8,000

2,000

1,000

1,000

<500

24,000

84,000

102,000

39,000

10,000

10,000

30,000

81,000

50,000

23,000

70,000

158,000

63,000

593,000

1,425,000

1,049,000

OCCUPATIONS Managerial and Professional Office

Science, Technology, Engineering Mathematics (STEM)

Community Services and Arts

Education Heathcare

Food & Personal Services

Sales & Office Support Blue Collar

Total*

As s oc i a t eâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; s Ba c hel or â&#x20AC;&#x2122; s Graduate Degree Degree Degree

Total

2,000

247,000

11,000

1,000

196,000

18,000

15,000

2,000

326,000

488,000

938,000

399,000

4,892,000

* Total jobs are a snapshot of the economy that shows where jobs are located by education type. They differ from job vacancies because total jobs are filled by people currently working in these positions who may not be leaving in the short-term to create a job opening.

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As projected in the Georgetown University study, the greatest number of jobs projected for high school dropouts and those with only a high school credential are listed below. Average entrylevel wages in these and other occupations for which the most number of jobs are projected for dropouts and high school graduates are as follows: Occupation Food preparation and serving Healthcare support Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance Sales Office and admin support Construction and extraction Blue collar production Transportation and material moving

Avg. Entry-level Hourly Wage $7.93 $9.17 $8.75 $8.71 $10.90 $9.75 $9.85 $9.24

Source: Georgetown University Center for Education and the Workforce

None of the above wages is considered a living wage for anyone other than a single adult in Mecklenburg County. Living and poverty wages for various family configurations in Mecklenburg County in 2008 are identified below. Living Wage for Various Family Configurations in Mecklenburg County One adult Living Wage Poverty Wage

$9.36 $5.04

One adult with one child $17.68 $6.68

Two adults $14.36 $6.49

Two adults and one child $22.69 $7.81

Two adults and two children $29.71 $9.83

Source: Poverty in America Living Wage Calculator, November 2008.

Most people earning poverty wages require some sort of government subsidy or other support to be able to live adequately, particularly when considering the rule of thumb for housing costs for individuals or families. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) indicates that individuals or families should not pay more than 30% of their income for housing costs, including utilities. For example, the monthly housing costs for a family earning an annual income of $15,000 should not exceed $375. In Charlotte-Meck l e nbur g , i t â&#x20AC;&#x2122; snea r l yi mpos s i bl et of i ndma r k e t rate housing that would match this 30% standard. Consequently, families earning this income typically depend upon public or subsidized housing or will double or triple up with others in shared housing. Bottom line: unless people with low skills and low wages can increase their earnings, they will stay perpetually trapped in poverty. For many of these workers, the only way they will rise above a life of poverty is to acquire a higher level of education and/or training that will enable them to compete in the workforce and earn more. As recommended later in this report, the local workforce development sector that serves this population of workers must aim higher in terms of earning expectations for the clients and students they serve.

4


JOB SEEKERS WITH BARRIERS TO EMPLOYMENT: Who are they and what are their main barriers? Whi l et oda y ’ sj obma r k e tpr es ent sc ha l l eng est oa l l t y pesofwor k e r si nt hef or mofl a y of f s , hi r i ng freezes, furloughs and expanded responsibilities for the workers who remain in their positions, those with specific barriers to employment are the most challenged to obtain sustainable employment. Barriers to employment take many forms, and people often face multiple barriers to getting ahead. The types of barriers to employment people experience generally fall within four basic categories, each one likely contributing to the others:    

Educational/basic skill deficiencies Emotional and physical barriers Situational barriers Institutional barriers

In Mecklenburg County: Nearly a third of all adults 25 and older

Educational/Basic Skill Deficiencies

have only a high school credential or less.

Low educational attainment, illiteracy, lack of basic skills, limited English proficiency and lack of work experience create significant barriers to employment for many adults. In addition to being less educated and having fewer technical skills, lower skilled workers are frequently more deficient in soft skills as well—those non-technical, intangible personality and behavioral related skills such as communication, teamwork and work ethic. People with post-secondary education, marketable skills and a progressive track record of work experience clearly hold significant advantages over those without such skills or experience.

(Source: American Community Survey 2005-2009)

Approximately 23% of working adults are

illiterate, and 11% lack basic prose literacy skills (Ranges from inability to read and understand written information to being able to marginally identify information but nothing advanced.) (Source: 2009 Mecklenburg County Literacy Index and 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy)

27% of adult native Spanish speakers

don’ t speak English well, and16%don’ t speak any English. (Source: American Community Survey 2005-2009)

Highest Educational Attainment for Adults 25+ in Mecklenburg County 28% 20%

11%

114,448 Adults

61,076 Adults No High Credential

High School Credential

20%

112,568 Adults Some College No Degree

5

8%

155,826 Adults

70,100 Adults

44,101 Adults Associates Degree

13%

Bachelors Degree

Higher Degree

Source: American Community Survey 2005-2009


The Georgetown University study on job projections reports a significant differential in potential lifetime earning expectations for education attainment levels5:    

$1.2 million in lifetime earnings for those with less than a high school degree $1.8 million for high school graduates $2.2 million for those with some college or an Associates Degree $3.4 million for those with a Bachelors Degree

In Mecklenburg County, the percentage of Black and Hispanic adults with no high school credential or only a high school credential is significantly higher than for Whites. By far, people of color comprise the largest client demographic of the employment and training organizations and programs serving adults with barriers to employment in Mecklenburg County. For example, of the 965 able bodied— mostly female—adults enrolled in the Mecklenburg County WorkFirst Program in FY2010, 85% were African American or Hispanic and 66% had no high school credential. Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC), the primary source of adult basic education in Mecklenburg County, reports that 82% of all a dul ts t ude nt senr ol l e di nt hec ol l eg e ’ sAdul tBa s i cE duc a t i on( r e medi a t i on)c our s esin 2011 th were African American or Hispanic. Many read below the 9 grade level when entering their programs. Highest Educational Attainment for White, Black and Hispanic Adults 25+ in Mecklenburg County (Percentage of Adult Population) Whites 333,590

Blacks 150,032

48%

Hispanics 46,046 41%

27%

28%

17%

27% 34%

14%

24%

17% 15%

Bachelors Degree or Higher

Some College or Assoc. Degree

High School Credential

No High School Crediential

Bachelors Degree or Higher

Some College or Assoc. Degree

High School Credential

No High School Crediential

Bachelors Degree or Higher

Some College or Assoc. Degree

High School Credential

No High School Crediential

7%

Source: American Community Survey 2005-2009

The racial/ethnic disparities found in educational attainment within the adult population are likely to continue well into the future. Although the overall high school graduation rate has risen in recent years in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS), graduation rates of African American and Hispanic 5

Anthony Carnevale, Nicole Smith and Jeff Strohl, Georgetown University Center on Education, Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018, June 2010.

6


students, particularly in high poverty schools, continues to lag behind those of White students. Slightly more than 50% of students a t t endi ngCMS ’ shi g hes tpov er t ys c hool sg r a dua t edi n2010 with th the cohort of students they entered 9 grade with four years earlier. Based upon current trends, nearly a third of CMS students who entered 8th grade in 2009—the majority of whom are poor and/or minority students—will also fail to graduate with their cohorts.6 Al t houg hi t ’ snotea s y , educational and basic skill deficits can be overcome with:    

Remedial education leading to GED or other degrees; Specialty training leading to certifications or licenses; Paid or unpaid internships offering first-hand experience in the workplace; and/or Soft skills training providing the job seeker with the ability and confidence to interview effectively, problem-solve on the job in productive ways and generally interact professionally with peers and supervisors.

However, overcoming these barriers requires an investment of time and determination on the part of the job seeker, which can be difficult for people with other barriers such as transportation issues, multiple responsibilities at home, physical disabilities or a job with an inflexible schedule. The daunting challenges adults often face in overcoming their educational and basic skills deficiencies underscores the importance of drop-out prevention and other efforts by CMS to improve the literacy, language and numeracy skills of young people before they leave high school.

Mental and Physical Barriers Mental and physical health barriers can take the form of chronic health problems, learning disabilities and behavioral health issues including mental illness and/or addiction disorders. These barriers can affect people of any age and can be Approximately 50,000 adults in short-term or lifelong issues for the job seeker. Mecklenburg County have a disability. For some people, mental or physical health problems will limit the choice of jobs that have Adults with disabilities in North Carolina special requirements related to safety, precision have a 40% employment rate vs. an or physical stamina. For others, these barriers can 80% employment rate for those without disabilities. be overcome or contained with proper medical care or therapeutic support, in which case access (Source: American Community Survey 2005-2009) to and compliance with care and support is essential.

Situational Barriers Situational barriers can be temporary or permanent in nature and range from poverty, homelessness and lack of transportation, to child care and elder care responsibilities, to a criminal record. People with criminal records face a particularly difficult circumstance; even if the conviction took place 20 years a g oa ndt heper s on’ sr ec or dha sbeenc l ea ns i nc e, t he 6

Source: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

7

In Mecklenburg County in 2009: 33,259 people ages 16+ were arrested Approximately 2,600 adults were

residents of Mecklenburg County Jail Nearly 5,700 adults were on probation (Source: NC Dept. of Corrections)


result can be exclusion from certain lines of work regardless of the skills or passion a person has for the work. For example, the consultant team met a woman in a focus group desperately seeking a position as a Certified Nursing Assistant. While she holds the credential, has spent years as a home health aide and loves the work, her conviction many years ago has blocked her from being hired as a CNA—and will continue to do so—duet oe mpl oy er s ’ c onc er nsa boutl i a bi l i t y . Sometimes individuals with criminal convictions Ex-offenders who are unable to get a job are able to qualify for temporary jobs without are three times more likely to return to being required to disclose their criminal record, prison than those who find steady but when they become eligible for conversion to employment. permanent positions, a background check is (Source: ABA Commission on Effective Criminal required and they lose their jobs, regardless of Sanctions, Second Chances in the Criminal Justice System: Alternatives to Incarceration and Re-entry) their performance. The variety of situational barriers that keep a job seeker unemployed can reinforce those very situations that keep the person out of a job. Without a job, an ex-offender is more likely to return to crime, a homeless person is more likely to stay homeless and the person living in poverty is more likely to remain trapped at the bottom of the economic spectrum.

Institutional Barriers Institutional factors stem from how our society is structured and/or how it operates. Limitations of public transportation represent one example of an institutional barrier. People without cars are reliant on the bus system for transportation to work, school, child care, groceries, health care and more. While the public transportation system is invaluable, it can be extremely timeconsuming for people to negotiate the variety of routes to get from one place to another, assuming there is a bus line that goes to the desired destination. For example, the logistics of getting to a bus stop with children, dropping children off with the child care provider, getting back on the bus—perhaps in the opposite direction—to the job site can require more time than is a v a i l a bl eorpr a c t i c a l .I t ’ sparticularly challenging for those who work the night shift when public transportation options are limited. Another institutional barrier can be the way in which federal poverty and workforce development programs are often fragmented and disconnected. Eligibility requirements associated with some of the federal workforce development funding streams are complex and difficult to understand and navigate. Often the people who would gain the most from these programs have limited access to them. And in some instances, when low-income people obtain even a low-paying job, it may disqualify them from receiving government subsidies or participating in income-based benefit programs that would otherwise help them remain stable until they can become selfsufficient. Discrimination in the workplace is yet another type of institutional barrier. Biases that some employers hold against hiring people of different backgrounds in terms of ethnicity, race, language or disability can be subtle, yet insidious when it comes to creating a level playing field for available jobs.

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OVERVIEW OF LOCAL WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT SECTOR Who are the Current Players? Multiple non-profit, government and education agencies and institutions assist adults with barriers to employment in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. As reflected in the diagram below, government agencies that manage federal and state funds often contract with local non-profit employment and training organizations to provide direct services to eligible job seekers.

Key Workforce Sector Players Government-Related Agencies Contracts Educational Institutions

Contracts Job Seeker Referrals

Non-Profit and Faith-Based Organizations

Employers

Government-Related Organizations Focused on Workforce Development for Adults Charlotte-Mecklenburg Workforce Development Board (WDB): A quasi-governmental non-profit organization that administers federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funds for operation and management of the local JobLink system, including five JobLink Centers and numerous Shared Network Access Point (SNAP) sites in the community. NC Employment Security Commission (ESC): Administers federal and state Department of Labor funds to provide employment services to employers and displaced workers, unemployment insurance and labor market information. NC Division of Vocational Rehabilitation: Administers Department of Health and Human Services funds to provide counseling, training, education, transportation, job placement, assistive technology and other support services for people with physical, psychiatric or intellectual disabilities. Mecklenburg County Area Mental Health: Administers Department of Health and Human Services and County funds to help individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities maintain long-term employment. Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services: Administers the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program called WorkFirst in North Carolina that provides parents with short-term training and other services to become employed and self-sufficient. Mecklenburg County Senior Center and Centralina Area Agency on Aging: Both operate Department of Labor Title V employment programs for low-income seniors. Mecklenburg County Sheriff â&#x20AC;&#x2122; sDepa r t ment :Operates a training center at Jail North for minimum security male inmates. Mec k l enbur gCount yWomenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; sCommi s s i on:Operates the County-funded New Beginnings employment and training program for displaced homemakers.

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Key Non-Profit and Faith-Based Organizations Delivering Employment and Training Services In Charlotte-Mecklenburg BRIDGE Jobs Program provides employment and training services to youth and young adults.

Friendship Community Development Corporation affiliated with Friendship Missionary Baptist Church on Beatties Ford Road provides employment and training services for church members and others.

Charlotte Enterprise Community operates the North Tryon JobLink Center.

Charlotte Area Fund administers federal Community Development Services Block Grant funds to provide employment and training services to low-income adults at its uptown location.

Center for Community Transitions provides employment and training services for ex-offenders at its North Davidson Street facility.

Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont provides employment and training services for low -income youth and adults at its Job Connection Center on Freedom Drive and operates the South Boulevard JobLink Center.

Urban League of Central Carolinas provides employment and training services to low-income youth and adults at its uptown location.

J a c ob’ sL a dderJ obCent erprovides employment and training services to low-income adults at its Plaza Road location and at Charlotte Hous i ngAut hor i t y ’ s Center for Employment.

Latin American Coalition provides employment and training support for Latinos at its Central Avenue center.

In addition to the above organizations, the following non-profit agencies provide vocational and other employment support services for individuals with disabilities. Vocational Rehabilitation and Mecklenburg County Area Mental Health contract with many of these organizations to provide employment services and related support for their clients. Autism Services Easter Seals/UCP Nevin Center

LifeSpan InReach (formerly RSS)

Several other non-profits such as Hope Haven and the McCloud Center provide employment services for their unique population of clients as well. Other non-profit organizations may provide employment and training services as well, but the ones identified above are the major players in the community.

Education Institutions CPCC is the primary public education institution in Mecklenburg County providing basic and postsecondary education opportunities for adults. T hec ol l eg e’ sMa i nCa mpusof f er saf ul l s pec t r umof courses and certification programs, while the other four campuses vary in their offerings. CPCC also contracts with a number of organizations to provide off-campus GED and other remediation classes. Relatively new on the scene, the UNC Charlotte Continuing Education Program now offers continuing education training and certification for various occupations. And although not an educational institution per se, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Main Library operates its Job Help Center providing free computer and other employment support services to the public.

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Employers Although employers are essential to the workforce development sector, they generally are only engaged by sector organizations at the end of the employment and training process when people are looking for jobs. CPCC and some of the other providers that offer hard-skills training gain advice from employers when developing some of their curricula, and business people serve on the boards of most organizations. However, no organized or consistent sector-wide approach to engaging employers or employer/industry groups currently exists, though those working on behalf of the disabled population have recently established a local affiliate of the National Business Leadership Network (BLN.) The BLN focuses on employment and advancement of youth and adults with disabilities. Its leaders continue to increase the number of participating businesses and envision the BLN becoming a significant force in connecting people with disabilities to employment opportunities in Mecklenburg County.

What is the continuum of employment and training services offered?

Accessibility of Services/Support for Adults in Charlotte-Mecklenburg

As illustrated in the diagram below, employment and training services represent a continuum of services and support spanning from pre-employment support to job retention and advancement after a person has begun work. (See Appendix I for glossary of terms.) A look at all the services currently offered by the various government and non-profit employment and training organizations and institutions in Mecklenburg County reveals that the majority of resources are focused on pre-employment services, with progressively fewer services provided toward the end of the continuum. The diagram below reflects this current state of resources.

Continuum of Employment and Training Services Pre-Employment Services

Hard Skills Training

Assessment and Evaluation

Remedial Education

Employment Support

Job Retention and Advancement

Work Experience

Job Coaching and Mentoring

On-the-Job Training, Apprenticeships, etc.

General Skills Training

Adult Basic Ed, GED,

Job Readiness Soft Skills, Job Search Skills, Basic Computer Skills, Workplace Norms

Job Development

Specific Occupational Skills Training

Job Placement

Career Exploration and Planning

Career/Wage Advancement Continuing Education

Work Supports Budget Assistance, Income Enhancements

Support Servicesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;e.g. case management, transportation, childcare, clothing/uniforms, healthcare, etc.

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A composite summary of the key workforce organizations and the services they provide along the continuum is provided on page 13. Important to note, this composite diagram does not reflect differences in levels of intensity, quantity and quality of services provided. For example, some organizations that provide soft skills training may only offer monthly workshops, while others have more rigorous multi-week training programs. A matrix of the specific services offered by each of the major employment and training providers in Charlotte-Mecklenburg is included in Appendix III and helps distinguish the differing levels of services among the workforce development organizations. The map on page 14 shows locations of organizations that provide employment and training services.

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Continuum of Employment and Training Services and Support Currently Provided By Charlotte-Mecklenburg Workforce Development Sector Serving Adults with Barriers to Employment*

Urban League of Central Carolinas, Inc.

UNC Charlotte Continuing Education Program

North Carolina Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

North Carolina Employment Security Commission

Mecklenburg Count yWome n’ s Commission-New Beginnings

Mecklenburg County Senior Center Senior Aid Program

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library Job Help Center

Latin American Coalition Employment Support

JobLink Centers (WIA Adult Program only)

J a c ob’ sL a dde rJ obCe nt e r , i nc .

Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont, Inc.

Cornerstone Career Development Center

Charlotte Area Fund Self-Sufficiency Program

Central Piedmont Community College

Centralina Area Agency on Aging Senior Program

(Additional services may be offered by organizations. This table represents the primary services provided along the employment and training continuum.)

Bridge Job’ sProgram

Key Services Offered

Center for Community Transitions

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Workforce Development Sector Organizations

Pre-Employment Services Assessment Individual service plan CPCC Online Career planning/counseling CPCC CPCC CPCC CPCC CPCC Online GED preparation CPCC CPCC CPCC CPCC GED testing CPCC CPCC CPCC Adult Basic Education Online Job readiness/soft skills Online Job search skills Basic computer skills Hard Skills Training** Refer Refer Refer Refer General skills training Refer Refer Refer *** Refer Job specific skills training Employment Support Work experience opportunity Job development Permanent Job placement Retention/Advancement after Employment 6 6 3 Limited 12 12 6 3 12 6 **** 6 12 Track Clients (max months) Limited Limited Limited Limited Limited Limited Job coaching/mentoring Limited Career/wage advancement Limited Limited Limited Limited Work supports * This table does not differentiate the level, intensity or quality of services offered by organizations. It merely reflects that some level of service is provided. ** Only organizations that provide and/or fund hard skills training are designated on this table. *** ESC training funds are limited; only available for eligible displaced workers qualifying for Trade Act Funds. ****Vocational Rehabilitation will track clients longer as needed. Typically clients are tracked up to three months or until stable. Information current as of 7-1-11

13


14


Legend for Workforce Development Service Locations Job Link Centers 1 South Boulevard JobLink Center 2 North Tryon JobLink Center JobLink Centers/Employment Security Commission (ESC) Offices 3 Albemarle Road JobLink Center/ESC Office 4 Nations Ford/Arrowood Road JobLink Center/ESC Office 5 Monroe Road JobLink Center/ESC Office JobLink Shared Access Network Point (SNAP) Sites 6 Davidson Housing Coalition 7 Charlotte Housing Authority (CHA) Center for Employment Services 8 Grier Heights Community Center 9 City of God Ministries 10 YWCA Women in Transition Program 11 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Main Library 12 Latin American Coalition 13 InnerVision 14J a c ob’ sL a dde rJ obCe nt e r Other Workforce Development Locations 15 Goodwill Industries Job Connection and Career Center 16J a c ob’ sL a dde rWes ta tCHA’ sCe nt e rf orE mpl oy me ntS er v i c e s 17 Center for Community Transitions 18 Charlotte Area Fund 19 BRIDGE Job Program 20 Cornerstone Career Development Center at Friendship Baptist Church 21 New Beginnings (Women Commission at Hal Marshall Center) 22 Urban League of Central Carolinas 23 NC Division of Vocational Rehabilitation 24 Latin American Coalition 25 Mecklenburg Senior Center Senior Aid Program 26 Centralina Council on Aging Senior Community Service Employment Program 27 Main Library Job Help Center Adult Education Institutions 28 CPCC Central Campus 29 CPCC North Campus 30 CPCC Harris Campus 31 CPCC Harper Campus 32 CPCC Levine Campus 33 UNC Charlotte Continuing Education Program (This program will move to new Uptown location at 320 E. 9th Street in September 2011.)

15


How are employment and training programs funded? Employment and training programs for adults are funded through a variety of sources. Federal and state government agencies fund the largest portion of the workforce sector programs in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Many of the non-profit organizations within the workforce sector have been awarded contracts through these government entities to provide direct services to clients. In addition to their government contracts, non-profits within the workforce development sector are generally sustained through annual fund raising, grants and, in some instances, income g ener a t edf r om s oc i a l ent e r pr i s ess uc ha sGoodwi l l ’ sr et a i l stores and its temporary staffing agency. Fees for service are also sources of revenue for some of the employment and training organizations and institutions; however, such fees are insignificant in the overall funding scheme. As illustrated in the diagram below, approximately $15.1 million in federal and state funding was allocated for local workforce development efforts in FY2011. The eight local organizations identified in the diagram receive and administer this funding. (The amount does not include the slightly more than half a billion dollars ESC reports spending on Unemployment Insurance in Mecklenburg County over the last year.)

Ma j orGov er nmentF undi ng“ S i l os ”f orAdult Employment and Training Programs In Mecklenburg County in FY2011

TOTAL $15.1 Million

$3.43 Mil

$.72 Mil Federal Community Development Service Block Grant to Charlotte Area Fund

$4.4 Mil $2.8 Mil $1.6 Mil

$1.36 Mil Federal/State Funded WorkFirst Program to Mecklenburg County DSS

Federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA) to CharlotteMecklenburg WDB

$1 Mil

Federal/State Federal/State Federal/State Federal Title V Community Department of Department of Senior College System Health & Health & Employment and WIA Human Human Program to Funding for Services Services Mecklenburg Adult Basic Funding for Funding for County Senior Education to Vocational Mental Health Center and CPCC Rehabilitation to Centralina Area to Mecklenburg Agency on Aging NC Division of County Area Mental Health Vocational Rehabilitation

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CPCC received the largest amount of government funding in FY2011—approximately $4.4 million—for Adult Basic Education programs such as Adult Basic Education (remediation) courses, Adult High School, GED, ESL, Workplace Literacy and Compensatory Education, all of which are federal and s t a t ef unded.T hi st ot a l a l s oi nc l udes$137, 000f ort hec ol l eg e’ sPa t hwa y st o Employment Program that blends remedial education and specific short-term training for adults receiving public assistance. Most of these programs are available free-of-charge to students. The Workforce Development Board received the next largest amount of government funding for adult employment and training in FY2011 —$3.43 million. This comes from federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funds that support the JobLink system. Charlotte-Mec k l enbur g ’ sJ obL i nk system, currently consisting of five JobLink Centers and a growing number of community-based Shared Network Access Point (SNAP) sites, is part of a state-wide JobLink system overseen by the NC Department of Commerce. WIA funding is divided into two main programs for adults: 1) The WIA Dislocated Worker Program that provides training dollars for adults who have been terminated or laid off from their jobs and meet other eligibility requirement and 2) The WIA Adult Program that provides training dollars for adults who are within 125% of federal poverty guidelines and meet other eligibility requirements. Important to note, only 43% of the WIA funds ($1.46 million) is available for the WIA Adult Program. The rest is for dislocated workers. Most low-skilled workers with barriers to employment do not qualify for the WIA Dislocated Worker Program funds, and eligibility requirements for the WIA Adult Program are complicated, thus c l i ent sofGoodwi l l , J a c ob’ sL a dder Job Center, Center for Community Transitions and the other non-profit programs may not qualify for the training dollars. Consequently, for many low-skilled job seekers in Mecklenburg County, the only services currently available to them at the JobLink Centers are various workshops and resource centers (self-directed for the most part) that provide computerized assessments, resume development and other job search software. As with the WIA Adult Program funds, the combined $4.4 million allocated to Vocational Rehabilitation and Area Mental Health in FY2011 for employment support and training is very restrictive and can only be used for adults with diagnosed physical, mental or developmental disabilities. Similarly, WorkFirst employment and training dollars can only be used for parents who are already WorkFirst clients. In all three cases, the government entity receiving the funds contracts out with non-profit organizations to provide some, if not all, of the direct workforce development services to their clients. Two separate senior employment programs serving Mecklenburg County are funded through Title V Senior Employment Program Funds. The Senior Aid Program, operated by the Mecklenburg County Senior Program, received approximately $500,000 in FY2011, and the Senior Community Service Program, operated by the regional Centralina Area Agency on Aging, received approximately $490,000 for Mecklenburg County seniors. These programs assist adults who are 55 or over, have incomes within 125% of the federal poverty guidelines and have barriers to employment. The majority of Title V program funds are used to provide subsidized, part-time “ i nt er ns hi ps ”f ors eni orwor k er sa sa stepping stone to more permanent employment. 17


Cha r l ot t eAr eaF und, Me c k l enbur gCount y ’ sdes i g na t e dc ommuni t ya c t i ona g enc y , a nnua l l y receives a federal Community Development Services Block Grant (CDSB), a portion of which— $720,000 in FY2011—is devoted to employment and training services and support (SelfSufficiency Program.) Only job seekers who meet the income eligibility (within 100% of federal poverty guidelines) and other program requirements may benefit from the CDSB funds. In addition to the more significant government funds described above, several other organizations received government funding for employment and training initiatives in FY2011: 

Mecklenburg County provided $112,000 to match state dollars to operate the Mecklenburg County Women’ sCommi s s i onNe wBeg i nni ng spr og r a mf ordi s pl a c ed homemakers. This program is housed at the Hal Marshall Center.

Mec k l enbur gCount yS her i f f ’ sDepa r t mentr ec ei v e sa ppr oximately $100,000 from Mecklenburg County and Inmate Phone Funds to help operate the Vocational Center for medium security inmates at Jail North.

Hope Haven, a non-profit organization that provides residential substance abuse aftercare for homeless individuals and families, received $50,000 from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Continuum of Care Grant to fund its on-site employment program for residents.

Through the years a number of organizations have applied for and received federal and state grants for employment and training-focused initiatives. However, these funds typically are time-limited and not sustaining.

How many adults are using workforce development services? Data is not available to determine the total number of unique individuals who have been participating in the various workforce development-related programs and services that are available in Mecklenburg County. Many individuals are served by multiple sector organizations, and no tracking mechanism exists to follow people from one organization to another. Therefore, any attempt to quantify program and service utilization sector-wide would result in significant duplication in numbers. At best, a look at the following number of adults enrolled in or served by the majority of the adult education, employment and training-related programs in FY2011 may help illustrate a sense of magnitude, but these numbers should not be considered an accurate account of the current demand for and utilization of services. Each organization tracks client data in its own way, using differing definitions ofwha ti tmea nst obe“ s e r v ed”a ndv a r y i nglevels of detail for other data collection. This lack of consistency in tracking further compounds the task of developing aggregate client data across the sector.

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Participation in Workforce Development Programs in FY2011 Organization

Students/Clients Served in FY2011*

CPCC Adult Basic Education Courses Adult Literacy Services GED Adult High School Limited English Workplace Literacy

(Summer, Spring, Fall enrollments-duplicated) 3,605 students 462 students 82 students 450 students 291 students 25 students

JobLink WIA Adult Program

395 individuals received WIA Adult Training Program Funds (Unduplicated # of individuals using JobLink Center resource centers is not available but estimated at over 40,000.)

NC Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

1,983 clients on case load

Mecklenburg County DSS WorkFirst Employment Program Participants

1,462 participants (1,400 single parents)

Mecklenburg County Area Mental Health Employment Programs

338 participants

Centalina Area Agency on Aging Senior Community Service Program

127 participants

Mecklenburg County Senior Center Senior Aid Program

50 Senior Aids

Me c k l e nbur gCount yWome nâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; s Commission New Beginning Program

733 customers

BRIDGE Jobs Program

600 (includes clients under age 18)

Charlotte Area Fund

1,480 recruited

Goodwill Industries

10,529 served

J a c obâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; sL a dde rJ obCe nt e r

681 clients oriented and/or participated in workshop activities

Center for Community Transitions

1,031 served

Urban League

200 served

Friendship CDC Cornerstone Program

76 participants

* The above numbers may include individuals who do not have significant barriers to employment.

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What are the collective outcomes of the workforce development sector? Aggregate outcome data is also not available for Charlotte-Mec k l enbur g ’ swor k f or c e development sector serving adults. Organizations report varying levels of detail related to the numberofpr og r a m“ c ompl et er s ”a nd job placements. Some, often dictated by government funding requirements, report on the average wages earned by clients when placed in jobs, as well as three, six and/or twelve-month retention rates. However, the majority of sector organizations do not have the resources or evaluation expectations to follow up in any significant way on the retention rates and wage gains of their clients/students after they leave their programs. Additionally, few to none look at the quality of jobs obtained by their clients, i.e. benefits received or opportunities for advancement. Absent this critical evaluative data, and given the differing standards of measurement across organizations, the s ec t or ’ strue collective impact on the employment success of program participants can not currently be measured.

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PERCEPTIONS OF LOCAL DEVELOPMENT WORKFORCE SECTOR What do key stakeholders say about it?

From One-on-One Interviews with Sector Leaders In November and December 2010, the consultant team interviewed leaders from 28 organizations that provide or contract with others for employment and training services in Mecklenburg County. (Please see Appendix II for a list of interviewees.) The themes that emerged from the interviews represent the opinions and ideas most frequently heard fr om t he s epr of es s i ona l sa boutwha t ’ s working well within the workforce sector, the major challenges the sector faces and where opportunities for improvement may exist.

What ’ sworking well? When asked about wha t ’ sworking well in the workforce development sector, three key themes emerged: Partnerships between the sector and employers; Relationships across agencies within the sector, with employers and with community agencies; and Increasing advocacy on behalf of job seekers for workforce development needs.

Although those interviewed acknowledged the need for greater attention to relationship building and advocacy, these themes suggest that agencies now have a heightened—and growing— awareness of the need to connect with one another and employers to overcome the complex and multiple barriers experienced by many job seekers. What ar et hes e c t or ’ sk e yc hallenges? The most commonly identified challenges were: Limited funding to accommodate the diverse

needs of the growing number of job seeker, especially those with complex barriers to employment;

For many job seekers, basic needs go unmet

such as housing, childcare and transportation which only make the challenge of securing and holding on to a job more difficult;

Fragmented, confusing and agency-centric

support systems that are not designed to facilitate access for the customer;

Lack of one-on-one relationships with clients

often leads to “ cookie-cutter”approaches by agencies; 21

“ Many providers do not know what the services of others are. It would be helpful for our case managers t ok nowt hi s . ” “ T oomanyage nc i e sar ej us tf oc us e don running people through their programs so they meet their numbers. Programs go where the funding is, rather than being organized ar oundwhatpe opl er e al l ynee d. ” “ Ge ne r at i onal pov e r t yr e qui r e sas hi f ti nhow services are typically provided. People need mor eofa“ we ’ r egoi ngt os t i c kwi t hy ou” approach with supportive services, life skills training and coaching in one-on-one r e l at i ons hi ps . ”


Lack of cultural sensitivity and language differences, such as the growing number of local

workers for whom Spanish is their first language; and

Lack of opportunities for older workers.

The pressures of time and money appear to contribute greatly to the frustrations of professionals working in this field. With more and more people to serve in an environment where jobs are increasingly scarce, using individualized approaches to provide job seekers with the supports and resources to break through traditional barriers is all the more important, but at the same time, more costly.

What are some opportunities for improvement? When asked about service gaps and what they would like to see change about the way services are provided, agency leaders identified several opportunities for exploration. The five mentioned most often were: Create a common assessment tool that job seekers would complete one time and that would

be shared across agencies;

Develop an on-line system for making and

“ We ’ dl i k et oi mpl e me ntac ommonas s e s s me nt based on life domains to be a tool across organizations. Everyone does their own as s e s s me ntnow. ”

tracking referrals so that agencies could avoid duplicating services for clients and stay informed about what happens to clients after they make referrals;

Undertake a “ dua l c us t omer ”approach to

job development that would coordinate job development activities among agencies and show businesses the sector is unified and working on behalf of employers as well as job seekers.

Create an on-line resource book that keeps

“ Be t t e rt e s t i ng&t r i ageont hef r onte nds ot hat the person can get the best match for hi s / he re x pe r i e nc e . ” “ We ’ dl ov eanaut omat e dwayt omat c hj ob t owor k e r s . ” “ Weall need to understand and know who all is out there to serve our clients, including who the ne wpl ay e r sar e . ”

information on local resources for job seekers up-to-date and easily retrievable by both service providers and job seekers directly; and

“ Wr apar ounds e r v i c e sf ormor ehol i s t i cs uppor t . ”

Develop individualized plans for clients that

“ T r uec as emanage me nti sne e de dwhe r et he r ei s

are tailored to the unique needs and s t r eng t hsofa ni ndi v i dua l a ndt a k ei nt oc ons i der a t i ont hemul t i pl edoma i nsofaper s on’ sl i f e that will make or break a plan, such as housing, childcare, transportation, mental health and disabilities.

These frequently mentioned sector opportunities attest to the desire on the part of those interviewed to find ways to become more effective in their work, which includes finding ways to be more informed and more holistic i nt hes e c t or ’ sa ppr oa c heswi t hj obs eek er s .Other sector opportunities raised by the leaders of local employment and training programs were:

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Develop creative entrepreneurial initiatives

such as food and craft cooperatives and social enterprises that serve as training grounds for job seekers while meeting a business need;

Of t e nhe ar df r om c l i e nt s …. “ I ’ v egott opayt hel i ghtbi l l ne x twe e k . I c an’ taf f or dt ogoi nt oanunpai dt r ai ni ng pr ogr am! ”

Develop more on-the-job-training programs

that enable people who cannot take time out for training without getting paid to learn new skills;

Standardize elements of a core curriculum, such as soft skills, to reduce duplication across

agencies and to assure that a curriculum that has proven to be the most effective for jobs seekers is recognized as the community standard; and

Find ways to reduce the negative impact of criminal records. For many job seekers, a

criminal record, especially a drug conviction, is a non-starter for certain careers such as health care. The liability risk is not one that many employers are willing—or able—to take.

Focus Group Responses In addition to the one-on-one interview with agency leaders, the consulting team conducted eight focus groups with a diverse mix of stakeholders including: 

A group of clergy affiliated with H.E.L.P. (Helping Empower Local People);

Case managers from both employment and training programs and agencies that contract with employment and training programs;

Recruiters from several large corporations;

Job developers employed by employment and training programs;

Job seekers who have participated in employment and training programs (two groups; 28 people in total); and

Wal-Ma r t&L owe ’ shuma nr e s our c ess t a f fr epr es ent a t i v es .

With more than 70 people cumulatively participating in these focus groups, the consultant team was able to hear from a broad base of people in a format that engages participants in conversation inspired by questions asked by the facilitators. Many of the themes that emerged from the interviews were also heard in the focus groups, in particular, concerns about: 

Job seekers being held back by past criminal records;

Difficulties for job seekers trying to navigate the workforce development and social service systems; and

The need for individualized approaches that match job seekers with effective training and supportive services that move them from unemployment to sustainable jobs and careers

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Picking up on the theme of individualized approaches, focus group participants specifically mentioned: The need for continuous coaching on soft skills.

Breaking old habits and developing new competencies in how to communicate, dress and present oneself in a room with others require more than one class session.

“ Whati sne e de di smor eongoi ngs uppor t to help people learn life skills –including someone coming into the home to support&r e i nf or c et hes of ts k i l l s . ”

Mock interviews and other coaching to help job seekers prepare for interviews are highly

valued. Mock interviews reinforce the sorts of soft skills that job seekers are learning as well as supply them with the tips and techniques that are second-hand for others.

More real-time job leads that are current and realistic are needed. Job seekers expressed

f r us t r a t i ona boutha v i ngbe ens entt oe mpl oy er swi t h“ s t a l e”j obl ea dswher et he r ewa s actually no current job opening. These are individuals who already tend to be very di s c our a g eda ndwhoha v e n’ tnec e s s a r i l yha dt hepa t t er nofs uc c es s f ul l i f eex per i enc est ha t foster optimism.

Face-to-face opportunities with employers. For some, the prospect of an on-line application

i sda unt i ng , es pec i a l l yf orpeopl ewhodon’ t“ l ookg oodonpa pe r . ”J obs ee k e r sex pr es s ed their desire to meet prospective employers in person where they believe they will have a better opportunity to make their case about being the best match for a position.

Greater flexibility in class times and locations, including access to virtual resources for in-

home use. For people with complicated lives and difficulties with transportation and childcare, for example, flexibility and choices are necessary.

Job seekers and the case managers who work with them described the value of providing

support after training is completed and after starting a job. I t ’ seasy for a person to become discouraged. Having a professional reach out in “ Hav epe opl ewhoar ehi r i ngorwhoar ei nt he a way that keeps the job seeker motivated and same predicament we are--but who have had connected to job opportunities can go a long wa yt owa r daper s on’ se mpl oy ments uc c e s s . some success—come talk with us. We need And support and coaching after starting a job is encouragement. Everyone has something of great importance, not only to the employee, to offer.” but to the employer for whom job turnover can “ Wene e dme nt or swhowi l l pr ov i det he be costly. encouragement and support needed t ohe l puss uc c e e d. ”

The bottom line from job seekers:

encouragement is critical for success! All of the strategies noted above are elements of what can cause the job seeker to feel supported. Everyone thrives on encouragement—job seekers are no different.

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ASSESSMENT OF LOCAL WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT SECTOR Conclusions of the Consultant Team Charlotte-Mecklenburg’ swor k f or c edev el opments e c t orincludes many agencies, institutions and individuals who are deeply committed to improving employment opportunities for adults with barriers to employment. Their efforts have been valiant in the face of double-digit unemployment, budget cuts and record-breaking demand for assistance by low-skilled and often marginalized job seekers. The lagging economy has forced many of these organizations to examine their modes of operation and identify ways they can more effectively serve their growing client base—independently and in partnership with others. Some are gearing up for change faster than others. The following assessment—informed by the interviews and focus groups and considering best practice research—attempts to provide an objective view of the key underlying issues that may be limiting the sector’ sul t i ma t eef f ec t i v ene s sand capacity to achieve more positive employment outcomes. The consulting team has identified the following five fundamental weaknesses it believes must be addressed for the local workforce development sector to become more effective a ndr el ev a nti nt oda y ’ schanging economy.

FIVE FUNDAMENTAL WEAKNESSES LIMITING THE POTENTIAL IMPACT OF THE CURRENT WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT SECTOR 1. Lack of sector-wide coordination/collaboration: Despite recent efforts to better coordinate and collaborate across some agencies, the local workforce sector serving adults with barriers to employment generally operates as a patchwork of agencies and programs working independently.

No coordinating leadership structure or network in place to focus on sector-wide

outcomes/impact: The lack of such a unifying structure makes it difficult for the workforce development organizations and institutions to regularly share information and ideas, coordinate efforts and otherwise function collectively as a sector.

Government-funded workforce development programs not coordinated or aligned across

agencies: Each has complex rules and limitations that reinforce a non-i nt eg r a t ed, “ s i l o” approach and discourage collaboration and efficient use of resources toward broader strategies. Differing definitions of success and reporting requirements also make it difficult to track education and training outcomes for public dollars spent across the community. In addition, government-funded workforce programs frequently use their performance data exclusively to report on their efforts, rather than using the data as a source of information to improve how they deliver workforce programs.

Myriad of programs and services confusing and difficult for job seekers and service

providers to navigate: This complaint was commonly heard about the sector. People are not clear about which agencies provide what services as well as the eligibility requirements for funding and program participation. 25


Clients may access services from multiple organizations without such information shared

or service delivery coordinated: This lack of information often results in duplication of effort and missed opportunities for connecting job seekers to the appropriate services and support.

Data—quantitative and qualitative—not available to determine the full utilization of

services and collective impact of the sector: No mechanisms are in place to collect or analyze such sector-wide data, and common measures of success or desired outcomes have not been established.

2. Weak linkages with employer/demand side of workforce development: In helping job seekers prepare for employment, many organizations within the local workforce development sector are not addressing the specific skill and talent needs of area employers. This major disconnect limits possibilities for job seekers and the relevancy of the sector in meeting the needs of employers. 

Lack of business community involvement: Charlotte-Mec k l enbur g ’ sbus i ne s sc ommuni t y remains largely disengaged from workforce development efforts for low-skilled workers. Its lack of involvement or interest has been exacerbated by the recent recession and current glut of available job seekers, including many workers with higher levels of skills and experience and no significant barriers to employment.

Limited knowledge of local labor market needs: Agencies that provide employment and training services generally lack knowledge of the local labor market, especially reliable information on cur r enta ndpr oj ec t edj obg r owt ha nds k i l l needsi nt her eg i on’ shigh growth industries and occupations. Although the Charlotte Regional Partnership, ESC, Charlotte Chamber, the WDB and others provide some labor market information, specific information about high-demand occupations and the skill competencies required along different career pathways is lacking. In addition, little analysis of the labor supply is being undertaken—e.g. number of people trained each year in specific fields and occupations, including those receiving training vouchers from the various government-fundedpr og r a ms .Cons equent l y , i t ’ sdifficult to determine whether training dollars are helping fill skill gaps or contributing to an oversupply of workers for specific fields and occupations. This lack of knowledge of the labor market demand and supply not only impacts the ability of workforce development organizations to share up-to-date labor market information with their clients, it also reduces the likelihood that their training curricula and program offerings are directly responding to current industry needs, making their relevancy to employers questionable. Clearly, the workforce development sector cannot address this issue on its own. It must work closely with business, industry, economic development and educational organizations for collective action.

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3. Low expectations for job seekers: Entry-level jobs are too often viewed a st he“ end g a me ”f orj obs e ek e r spa r t i c i pa t i ngi ne mpl oy menta ndt r a i ni ngpr og r a ms .Although many low-skilled workers may have to take any job to survive, moving from minimum wage job to minimum wage job traps people in poverty with no way out.

Few incentives for job seekers to focus on more ambitious goals: Getting a job—any job—most often satisfies the performance measurements of government-funded and other workforce development programs. Few incentives exist to promote movement of people into living wage work. In addition, the mindset of some working with job seekers i st ha t“ pe ople are just lucky to get a job”and therefore, they do not encourage their clients to set more ambitious employment goals.

Limited career exploration and planning available to job seekers: The strengths and interests of job seekers are often not explored within a context of career and occupational planning, thus limiting their options and aspirations. The s ec t or ’ sov er a l l lack of knowledge about career pathways and industry-specific skill needs of employers contributes to the lack of career exploration and planning along with resource limitations.

Not enough focus by sector on career pathways approach: When helping job seekers prepare for employment, many local employment and training programs are not taking a career pathways approach—helping people understand and connect with sequential education and training opportunities that could help them progress to higher paying, family-sustaining jobs. Much of this can be attributed to the fact that career pathways or ladders have not been developed for the region’ shi g h-demand industry sectors, again pointing to the disconnect between the demand and supply-sides of workforce development. Limited funding and opportunities for more specialized training are also factors deterring some agencies from promoting career advancement or pathways.

Time and other limitations of job seekers: The reality of many low-skilled job seekers is that they do not have the time, resources or other support required to obtain the education, training or credentials to pursue more advanced, higher paying positions. Also, for many with significant remediation needs, the on-ramp to specialized training can be long, thus possibilities for obtaining skills for a higher paying job may seem out of reach.

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4. Individualized needs of job seekers often not identified or addressed: The needs and challenges of job seekers with barriers to employment vary widely—from childcare to dental care to mental health services. Agencies and institutions working with these job seekers may not be fully aware of the needs and/or do not have the capacity to help address them. 

Assessment of needs: Organizations within the sector use a variety of assessment tools to identify how they can best support their clients. Some assessments primarily focus on education and training-related needs, while others are more holistic, focusing on client needs across various life domains. Without a comprehensive assessment that looks at the holis t i cnee dsofj obs eek er s , i t ’ sdifficult for organizations to grasp how they can best help their clients achieve employment success. In addition, job seekers accessing services from multiple organizations are often required to be assessed by each organization; this duplicates the effort of the job seeker and the organizations (time and money.)

One-on-one attention to job seekers often lacking: Limited resources often restrict the ability of organizations to provide one-on-one connections with job seekers. For some job seekers, most of their interactions are with c omput er s .T heyha v el i t t l eorno“ f a c et i me ” with workforce professionals. Assessments are often completed on-line as are many of the training components. This approach works for some job seekers, but does not work well for others who need more individualized attention and support.

Limited resources for much needed wraparound support for job seekers with barriers: Many low-skilled job seekers will not succeed with their training and employment unless their underlying issues such as homelessness, poor health or need for childcare are addressed. Most organizations serving people with barriers to employment do not have the funding, staff resources or expertise to adequately address their clients’ nonemployment specific needs. For example, CPCC is an educational institution. Leaders f r omt hec ol l eg e’ sa dul tba s i ceduc a t i onpr og r a msc i t et hel a c kofwr a pa r ounds uppor tf or their many students with barriers as one of the main reasons students fail to complete and/or advance in their courses. Unless CPCC and other employment and training organizations partner with DSS and other community organizations to provide wraparound support, they have no means of helping their clients address some of their barriers to employment.

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5. Continuum of services not fully developed: The continuum of workforce development programs and services currently offered in Charlotte-Mecklenburg is weak in certain key areas and needs to be more fully development to expand the capacity and collective impact of the sector.

Limited sector-wide agreement on soft skills competencies and best practices: Finding and hiring job seekers with good soft skills, regardless of skill level, is a clearly stated priority for employers. Recognizing this need, many of the local employment and training providers devote considerable time and resources to soft skills development. Some offer workshops, while others provide more intensive soft-skills training. Most offer soft skills training as a discipline to be taught instead of integrating the teaching of soft skills through a contextualized learning approach—a best practice identified in the field. Because soft skills are of the highest importance to employers when hiring workers, sector organizations must get the delivery of soft skills training right if they want to add real value to the business community. To this end, little or no discussion has transpired among service providers across the sector—with input from employers— about the expectations and competencies for soft skills and the best approaches to teaching them.

Need for more industry-specific hard-skills training: Best practice research points to the importance and effectiveness of industry-specific hard-skills training programs to increasing the earnings of low-skill job seekers and incumbent workers. Most of the employment and training organizations in Charlotte do not have the capacity to directly provide hard-skills training and therefore, must refer their clients to others for such training. Larger organizations, including CPCC, Goodwill Industries and the Urban League, provide valuable industry-specific training targeted for low-skilled workers. Additional hard-skills training programs that are flexible and otherwise specifically tailored to lowskilled, low-income job seekers are needed, particularly when developed within a context of career pathways. Greater sector-wide education about the value of and opportunities for program participants to connect with hard-skills training provided by others is needed as well.

Fragmented approach to job development: Most of the larger workforce development organizations have in-house job developers who develop relationships with employers to promote the hiring of their program clients and develop job leads for them. Smaller organizations without those resources rely on ESC, monster.com and other employer banks to identify leads for their clients. Employers often complain they are being bombarded by job developers from various agencies and are frustrated with the apparent lack of coordination among job developers. There have been some efforts by the staffdriven Employers ’ Roundtable, and more recently from the Business Leaders Network serving people with disabilities, to share information and resources. However, no specific plans have been developed to improve and streamline job development across the sector. In the meantime, developing and uncovering job leads continues to be a redundant task by most of the workforce development organizations.

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Related to this issue, no mechanism is fully developed in the sector for readily matching job seekers and their skills with employers and their workforce needs. The CharlotteMecklenburg WDB has developed and successfully piloted an on-line database tool that provides employer/job seeker matches for one corporate client. Eventually, the WDB plans to take this tool to scale for use with other employers and for wider application with job seekers.  Work experience opportunities for low-skilled workers often scarce: Adults with barriers to employment, particularly younger adults and those with a criminal record, often lack work experience. It becomes a “ catch 22”for them.T he yc a n’ tg ett he experience, but without the experience, they are often not considered for jobs. Transitional work experience, such as that provided by Goodwill Industries in their retail stores and their temporary staffing agency, provides opportunities for job seekers to gain experience in a work environment and also get paid for it. Unfortunately, there are not enough transitional work experience opportunities available in the community to help job seekers with barriers to employment gain real work experience. 

Limited attention to job retention and advancement after a person is hired: The chances of a person staying in and/or advancing in a low quality job without some type of follow-up support and/or continuous training are not great. Turnover in jobs, particularly entry-level ones, is a major and costly problem for employers. The majority of programs and services provided by the local workforce sector focus are pre-employment services. Few offer meaningful retention services after a person has been hired, and none, to speak of, assist their clients advance to higher paying jobs. Most of the federally funded programs have a perfunctory three, six and/or 12-month follow-up requirement, often amounting to a quick check-in to see whether their former program participants are still working. They typically provide no active job retention support. Some of the non-profit organizations maintain an open-door policy whereby their clients can always call or come back to them for assistance after they are employed, but again, the follow-up support is minimal and spotty. Agencies acknowledge that their lack of retention support is primarily due to lack of funding and staff resources available for this critical dimension of the continuum of services. They also acknowledge that former clients who lose or quit their jobs often end up coming back to their agencies or go to another agency to obtain more preemployment support and/or other training services.

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CONSULTANT RECOMMENDATIONS: Shifting Gears for Sector-Wide Change

The consulting team believes that for the local workforce development sector to: a) achieve more positive outcomes in helping adults with barriers to employment gain long-term employment success and b) become more relevant to employers, it must make some structural, systemchanging shifts. Five such structural shifts are recommended, each corresponding to the issues described in the previous section of this report. Movement toward some of these shifts has already begun through changes occurring in some of the sector organizations.

Recommended Structural Shifts to Improve Employment Outcomes For Adults with Barriers to Employment in Charlotte-Mecklenburg

SHIFT

 SHIFT

 SHIFT

 SHIFT

 SHIFT

Shift From

Shift To

Patchwork of agencies and programs working independently

An integrated sector aligned with shared workforce goals and desired outcomes

Supply-driven sector primarily serving job seeker needs

Dual-customer focus serving bot hj obs e ek er s ’ AND empl oy er s ’ needs

Focus on entry-level jobs as “ endg a me”f orma j or i t yof job seekers

Greater focus on career pathways that lead to living wage employment

Limited individualized attention to job seekers with barriers

More individualized, holistic guidance and support for job seekers with barriers

Primary focus on providing pre-employment services

Focus on providing a FULL continuum of workforce services and support

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The consultants presented and discussed the underlying issues and associated structural shifts with the more than 50 sector representatives participating in the series of collaborative partner meetings held during the assessment process. The group accepted the recommended shifts, which led to general endorsement by the group of the following guiding principles for how a highly effective workforce sector should function. These principles are in the order deemed most important by the collaborative partners.

Guiding Principles for a Highly Effective Workforce Development Sector 1. Work as a sector/system, more than a collection of programs. 2. Maintain strong alliance with business and industry to ensure relevancy and value. 3. Undertake and support innovation through collaborative initiatives and use of technology. 4. Focus on life-long employment/career advancement for workers, not just jobs. 5. Serve dual customersâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;job seekers AND employers. 6. Strategically align public, private and community resources to maximize access and utilization by customers. 7. Assure shared accountability for sector results for employers and job seekers. 8. Understand and effectively communicate high-quality labor market information, needs and occupational/career pathways requirements 9. Implement promising practices and evidence-based best practices throughout the entire sector. 10. Advocate for eliminating fiscal, eligibility and other regulatory requirements and policies that create barriers for job seekers.

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How to Bring About Structural Shifts in the Workforce Sector The workforce sector cannot shift gears overnight. Most likely, these shifts will occur gradually by the sector taking small, but deliberate steps along the way. The consulting team has identified a number of implementation opportunities to help build momentum and move the sector toward the five recommended structural changes. Most of these opportunities were discussed by workforce sector representatives during the collaborative partner meetings. Opportunities the group perceived as have the greatest potential impact and/or for which they had the greatest energy for taking action—at least preliminarily—are so noted with an asterisk (*) below.

Implementation Opportunities to Consider

SHIFT

Shift From

Shift To

Patchwork of agencies and programs working independently

An integrated sector aligned with shared workforce goals and desired outcomes

A. * Form a coalition, leadership group or other form of collaborative entity that brings together members of the workforce development sector and other stakeholders for the purpose of coordinating, collaborating, planning and otherwise working collectively to achieve shared goals and outcomes. Such a group might only focus on issues and opportunities related to adults with barriers to employment, or it could broaden its focus to address workforce development issues relating to both older youth and adults—with or without barriers to employment. Many of the issues, needs and opportunities are the same or similar, regardless of age or population need, and many of the workforce development organizations and institutions serve both older youth and adult populations. Later in this report, more specific suggestions are provided for forming this much needed collaborative. The Chicago Jobs Council consists of 100 community-based organizations, civic groups, businesses and individuals committed to helping disadvantaged Chicagoans move out of poverty and into the workforce. It has: a) developed the Workforce Information and Resource Exchange (WIRE), an on-line data resource; and b) created the Frontline Focus Training Institute that delivers trainings and resources to help frontline workforce professionals build their capacity to better meet the employment needs of disadvantaged job seekers and low-income workers. The Council meets regularly to discuss issues related to creating enhanced employment and training opportunities for disadvantaged job seekers and working poor families; and focuses on advocacy and research issues http://www.cjc.net

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The DC Jobs Council is a coalition of job training providers, advocates, employers, labor representatives, research institutes, social service agencies and funders who advocate for the DC workforce system. It: 1) provides policy materials, advocacy to policy makers and city agencies, public education, organizing and coalition building; 2) serves as a nexus for the various components of the workforce system, including K-12 education, adult education, literacy, workforce readiness, job development, job creation, and selfsufficiency; 3) convenes the broadest network of organizations concerned with workforce development; and 4) facilitates a coordinated effort to change and strengthen systems, structures, regulations, and laws t ha ta f f e c ta ni ndi v i dua l ’ sa bi l i t yt of i nda ndk e e pag oodj ob.I ta l s oof fers a professional development series for front-line workforce development professionals. http://www.wowonline.org The New York City Employment and Training Coalition includes 200 community-based organizations, communi t yc ol l eg esa nda f f i l i a t e duni ont r a i ni ngpr og r a msa ndi st hepr i ma r yc onne c t i onpoi ntf ort hec i t y ’ s fragmented workforce system. It began in 1998 as a volunteer collaboration aimed at promoting effective employment and training practices and sharing experiences about best practices with state and local workforce development policymakers. In 2001 the Coalition was incorporated and a professional staff hired. Its core competencies include: 1) advocacy for effective workforce development policies, adequate program funding and sustaining an environment that supports high-quality workforce development efforts; 2) connecting members to policy makers, employers, best practices and more through forums, conferences and other outreach; and 3) communications, serving as a key resource for news, analysis and information that is important to its members and the broader workforce development community. http://www.nycetc.org The Greater Cincinnati Workforce Network was formed in 2008 to serve as a regional coordinating entity for the workforce development system. The Network consists of philanthropic funders, local and state government agencies, employers, chambers of commerce, secondary and post-secondary educational institutions, service providers, and workforce investment boards in the Tri-state region. The Greater Cincinnati Foundation served as the lead entityt ol a unc ht heNe t wor k .I t ’ snow managed by the United Way of Greater Cincinnati. A Leadership Council serves a sa n“ ex e c ut i v ec ommi t t ee ”oft hel a r g e rWor k f or c e Network and provides strategic planning, oversight and advice on investments. The Council consists of a diverse group of representatives from each sector from across the Tri-state region. It focuses on four main tasks: 1) bring together all stakeholders in the workforce system to better align resources and strategies; 2) close the skills gap in three priority industries by developing/implementing career pathways education and training initiatives; 3) improve and coordinate support services for low-wage workers; and 4) advance critical policy interventions to reduce barriers to employment for disadvantaged workers. http://www.cincinnatiworkforce.org

B. Identify/pursue opportunities to align and leverage government funds for workforce development. F eder a l a nds t a t er eg ul a t i onsr ei nf or c et hec r ea t i onof“ s i l os ”wi t hi n government-funded workforce development programs. It ’ sdifficult, if not impossible in some cases, to co-mingle funds from different federal funding sources. Nonetheless, more could be done at the local level to align the various government-funded programs and leverage federal and state funds to attract private and philanthropic dollars to fill gaps in service. Currently, there is little exchange among the key local recipients of federal and state workforce development funds. Leveraging federal dollars is important—first because such overall funds are limited, and second, when not well-aligned, the government-funded programs may be duplicative, work at cross-purposes and generally nots er v et hec ommuni t y ’ sneedsa sopt i ma l l y as they could. A proactive first step would be for all the organizations that receive government funding for employment and training services to come together to: 1) share funding requirements and client eligibility rules for the various funding sources; 2) determine how these funds are currently being spent in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, and explore any flexibility in using these 34


funds differently to meet particular community gaps; 3) figure out ways to better align government funding to support agreed-upon workforce development goals; 4) strategize on seeking private and/or philanthropic grants or other funds to leverage federal dollars; and 5) identify policy and/or program waivers needed from appropriate state agencies to help support creative leveraging of federal dollars at the local level. C. * Develop some common definitions and evidence-based standards of practice or curricula that can help guide the work of sector organizations and raise the bar on service quality and expectations across the sector. For example, what does it mean for a job seeker to be c ons i der ed“ j obr e a dy ”ort oobt a i n“ s el f -sustaining employment?”Reg a r di ngs t a ndards—as with any industry—i t ’ swi s eto establish some quality expectations based upon evidence-based practices to guide service delivery. This could mean, for example, that the sector might endorse some basic evidence-based curricula components of soft skills training that sector organizations would be encouraged to incorporate in their programs. Having a common understanding and a g r ee mentonc r i t i c a l t er msa ndba s i cs t a nda r dsofqua l i t ywi l l notonl yhel pt hes ec t or ’ swor k with individuals, but will enhance the credibility of the sector with the business community and other community stakeholders. D. Capitalize on/leverage individual organization strengths through specialization. Most of the workforce programs offered for adults with barriers to employment offer similar services such as assessments, soft skills training and job search skills. Some provide more intensive occupational skill development. However, every organization cannot do all things well. For smaller organizations with few resources, i t ’ sparticularly challenging to cover all the preemployment bases, causing them to go “ wide vs. deep”in their service delivery. For the sake of improved outcomes for job seekers, it makes sense for sector organizations to work collaboratively to identify what organizations do best and leverage those strengths by exploring specialized services that, through articulation or other partnership agreements, sector organizations can provide through cross-referrals. Specialization may not work for all organizations, but for those struggling to effectively provide the full spectrum of services job seekers need, it may be worth pursuing. The focus should always be on how to best serve clients, not on how to best serve the organizations. E. * Develop a common client database. The need for a common client database was commonly voiced during the assessment process. Clearly, there are legal limitations to some of the client information that can be shared, but with agreement from clients, much of their data could be appropriately shared and used across agencies and systems to more efficiently and effectively serve clients. Not only would a common database better serve clients, it would also reduce duplication and overall cost of services and enable the sector to track and analyze cumulative data on all job seekers included in the database. F. * Develop a real-time, query-based referral web portal that enables job seekers and those working on their behalf to identify and connect with appropriate resources. Making it easier for people to navigate the complex array of services would be of great value and could be accomplished relatively easily. Charlotte-based socialserve.com has designed such web portals for affordable rental housing resources in other communities and provides a local example of such a web portal. The Workforce Information and Resource Exchange (W.I.R.E.), developed by the Chicago Jobs Council, is a good example of a workforce-specific web portal.

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Socialserve.com is an easy-to-use, on-line system where users enter key information about their housing needs—location, zip code, # bedrooms, # bathrooms, smoking, proximity needed to public transit, rent price range, Section8v ouc he rornot . T heus e r ’ ss pec i f i c a t i onss e r v ea sf i l t e r st ha t narrow and personalize the housing options suitable for the individual. The search yields options with basic information for each, including contact information. There are also descriptions of agencies under the categories of health, education, legal services, basic needs, with area served and eligibility information –thus more than a housing resource. Socialserve.com is a service to landlords, seekers of housing and case managers. http://www.socialserve.com The Workforce Information and Resource Exchange (WIRE-Net) wa sdev e l ope dbyt heChi c a g oJ ob’ s Council in 2007 to provide timely and relevant information to stakeholders in the workforce development community in Chicago in their efforts to ensure that disadvantaged job-seekers and lowwage workers have access to employment and career advancement opportunities. I t ’ sdesigned to serve as a portal to important information in workforce development and closely-related fields by centralizing data and information, as well as making it accessible and relevant to providers and other stakeholders. As an information portal, the WIRE is a dynamic resource that continuously updates data, adds new information and features and makes improvements based on the feedback of users. It features a provider directory that maps the locations of services and links the user to descriptive detail about the population served, services provided, the geographic area served and contact information for the provider. Providers can directly update their service information through a password-protected feature. http://www.wire.cjc.net

G. Establish a formal sector-wide forum and/ort r a i ni ng“ a c a demy ”to teach best practice approaches to local workforce development professionals. One possibility to explore may be to partner with the recently created ReEmployment Bridge Institute located at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College to provide professional development opportunities. MeckCARES, Mec k l enbur gCount y ’ ss y s t emofc a r e for children with serious mental health issues, has established a training institute for local providers that could serve as a model for the workforce development field.

The Chicago Jobs Council created the Frontline Focus Training Institute that delivers trainings and resources that help frontline workforce professionals build their capacity to better meet the employment needs of disadvantaged job seekers, low-income workers and employers. Through interactive and hands-on workshops, professionals: Learn best practices from the field; Hear from industry experts and employers; Plan practical next steps to start integrating new ideas into your own work; and Network with other workforce pros who share your passion for the work. The Frontline Workforce Association was also formed in 2010 to enable professionals to stay in touch outside training through bi-monthly meetings and a web-based connection. http://cjc.net/frontline-focus

36


SHIFT

Shift From

Shift To

Supply-driven sector primarily serving job seeker needs

Dual-customer focus serving both j obs e ek er s ’ AND empl oy er s ’ needs

A. * Build, promote and participate in industry partnerships with individual employers, employer/industry associations and local and regional economic development entities to ensure the workforce development sector is providing relevant employment and training services and ef f e c t i v el yr es pondi ngt oempl oy er s ’ nee ds .A growing body of evidence-based research in the workforce development field underscores the high value to communities of developing industry partnerships to: a) gain an understanding of the specific employment requirements of industries and b) promote meaningful employer engagement that will lead to more responsive training and service programs, high quality job placements and the identification of career pathways for worker advancement. Industry Partnerships and Workforce Intermediaries— Addressing the Mutual Needs of Workers and Employers

Workers Need Improved Skills to Earn Higher Wages

Higher Wages

Employers

Partnerships

Workers

Higher Productivity

Businesses Need Skilled Staff to Improve Their Bottom Line

Illustration adapted from the Philadelphia Job Opportunity Network http://www.joincollaborative.org

Industry partnerships are typically managed by regionally-focused workforce intermediaries that work with employers and conduct labor market research to assess the workforce needs and opportunities of industry businesses; serve as brokers or coordinators to link various partners and funding streams; promote public policies that support sector partnership goals and initiatives; and engage in strategic planning and service design, measurement and evaluation. Connecting entry-level positions to opportunities for advancement in the labor market through development and promotion of career ladders is included in the role of many workforce intermediaries.

37

The Jobs and Workforce Initiative (JWFI) established by The Greater Cleveland Growth Association (GCGA), a regional chamber of commerce, established a workforce intermediary to link employers with labor market stakeholders and resources. Research had shown that strong employer connections were key to helping emerging and incumbent workers find jobs with a future. With foundation support, the JWFI launched literacy and job training initiatives in several industry sectors, as well as a work-readiness program adapted from WorkLink in St. Louis. http://www.gcpartnership.com


The National Fund for Workforce Solutions i sac ol l a bor a t i onbe t we e nt hena t i on’ st opf ounda t i onsa nda nationwide network of companies, workforce intermediaries, government agencies, and foundations to provide seed money to regional sites that have developed workforce partnerships to effectively assist low-income individuals obtain and advance in careers paying family-sustaining wages and benefits. It also ensures that employers have the high quality human resources that will enable them to succeed in this dynamic and competitive economy. Since the National Fund launched in 2007, over 25 regions have received a total of $24 million in seed money to help develop and/or support existing workforce partnerships. These regional partnerships are taking a variety of approaches to enable the National Fund to evaluate efforts, identify best practices and advocate changes to state and local policies that may impede workforce development efforts relating to job seekers with barriers to employment. Lessons learned are being shared across the network and can provide valuable insights for Charlotte-Mecklenburg. http://www.nfwsolutions.org A few examples of the partnerships follow: The Greenville (SC) Workforce Collaborative camet og e t heri n2008t oa ddr e s st hea r e a ’ ss k i l l sg a ps . T he participating organizations include the Greater Greenville Chamber of Commerce, Greenville County Workforce Development, Greenville County Workforce Investment Board, Greenville Technical College, Goodwi l l I ndus t r i e sofUps t a t e/Mi dl a ndsofS C, S CE mpl oy me ntS ec ur i t yCommi s s i on’ sGr ee nv i l l e Workforce Center, SHARE City of Greenville L.A.D.D.E.R. Program, and the United Way of Greenville County. The Greenville Collaborative pooled its expertise with that of economic development organizations, industry associations, employers, and public policy organizations to become well-versed in unde r s t a ndi ngt hene e dsofGr e e nv i l l e ’ sempl oy e r sa ndl ow-skilled workers. The Collaborative seeks to accomplish the following: 1) low-skilled workers develop in-demand, marketable skills; 2) workers find and retain empl oyment with sustainable salaries, benefits and career ladders; 3) valued employers in growth industries find and retain skilled workers; 4) capacity and resources for education and skills training are enhanced; and 5) public policies that improve economic opportunity are promoted and secured. http://www.unitedwaygc.org/workforce The Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative has worked to seed a mature a set of sector‐ based workforce partnerships in biotechnology, construction and health care to take advantage of growth opportunities for moving low and no-wage workers into jobs that can lead to careers and provide family sustaining wages. Key features of these partnerships include: 1) a priority on the training and placement of low‐ income city residents; 2) strong relationships with employers to determine industry needs; and 3) bridge programs that offer contextualized numeracy and literacy so applicants meet program entry requirements. To date, approximately $4 million in local matching dollars have been committed. http://www.abagrantmakers.org The Workforce Solutions Collaborative of Metro Hartford provides direct financial support to workforce partnerships in health care, manufacturing, and energy/utilities. Each workforce partnership provides career advancement services to lower-skilled adults and assists employers in addressing their needs for workers with mid-level skills. Each workforce partnership will: 1) have a combination of public/private funding streams; 2) have a steering/advisory committee comprised of business, trade, and providers, with business representing at least 25 percent of the overall membership; 3) provide for a broad range of supports and services to help reduce barriers on a long-term basis (18-24 months minimum); 4) have flexible scheduling to accommodate the worker participants; and 5) have a structure in place to manage the business of the partnership. Success is determined, in part by the commitment and engagement of employer partners. The funding collaborative plans to award an average of $175,000 per year, aiming to engage 30 employers (10 in three targeted sectors) and serve 360 individuals. http://www.capitalworkforce.org

38


Locally, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg WDB has identified the creation of industry partnerships as a top five-year priority. A WDB ad-hoc committee has been meeting to investigate the first partnership within the energy sector. When developed, the energy sector partnership model will be used by the WDB to establish partnerships in other targeted sectors over the next several years. In addition, the Alliance for a Competitive Workforce, an alliance of workforce development boards and education and training institutions within the-16 county Charlotte region, received a state Department of Commerce grant to assist employers and local workforce development organizations in developing and promoting career pathways in several allied health occupations. Although these are notable and encouraging efforts, they are both challenged to move quickly and forcefully due to funding limitations. In communities where sector partnerships have evolved, private and philanthropic funding has been critical to their success. B. * Develop/offer more sector-specific training that prepares low-skill job seekers for employment in occupations in-demand. A number of the local employment and training agencies and CPCC are already offering sector-specific hard skills training and certifications. However, the sector, as a whole, should focus on addressing specific skill gaps and needswi t hi nt her eg i on’ shi g hdema nds e c t or sa nd provide additional opportunities to connect lowwage workers to post-secondary training and certifications in those fields.

A 2008 evaluation of six sector employment training initiatives by Public/Private Ventures found that the near 500 low-skill participants graduating from the six programs: Increased their wages and earnings, from an average median income of $10,465 two years prior to training to $18,875 after training Had decreases in poverty (from 65% to 34%) Accessed higher quality jobs with health benefits (from 49% two years prior to training to 73% after training)

In our knowledge-based economy, such training ma ybet heonl y“ t i c k et ”s omel ow-wage job seekers will have to move out of poverty. Changing Source: Public/Private Ventures, Targeting labor market demands require that organizations Industries, Training Workers and Improving currently providing sector-specific training Opportunities, 2008. continuously gauge the market to ensure their training programs are still relevant and/or if c ha ng esa r eneede d.Anoc c upa t i onma yha v ebeen“ hot ”f i v ey ea r sago, but today the market may be saturated with candidates in the field. To best serve their clients, workforce development organizations must move with and respond to labor market trends. An Effective Workforce Development Sector Strategy: Targets a specific industry or cluster of occupations, developing a deep understanding of the interrelationships between business competitiveness and the workforce needs of the targeted industry; Intervenes through a credible organization or set of organizations, crafting workforce solutions tailored to that industry and its region; Supports workers in improving their range of employment-related skills, improving their ability to compete for work opportunities of higher quality; Meets the needs of employers, improving their ability to compete within the marketplace; and Creates lasting change in the labor market system to the benefit of both workers and employers. From Sectoral Strategies for Low-Income Workers: Lessons from the Field (Conway, Blair, Dawson, Dworak-Munoz 2007).

39


C. Involve employers in program design and delivery. When employers are involved in the design of training, provide information about the application of skills in an industry and offer insights about workplace culture and how to adapt to it, job seekers are much better served. In addition, when employers are involved in program design and delivery, they have more at stake and are more apt to continue supporting workforce development programs and their participants. Organizations that can clearly demonstrate consistent program quality and results are more likely to attract employer involvement than those that do not report measurable outcomes.

The Center of Excellence in Skilled Trades and Industries in Milwaukee, Wisconsin partners with employers, unions, training providers, and community-based organizations to design and deliver pre-employment certificate programs to address skills shortages identified by local employers and labor unions. In developing a pre-employment certificate, the center establishes a steering committee for the trade or industry that is jointly composed of employers and labor to design a program to meet thet a r g e ti ndus t r y ’ ss k i l l sshortage. The steering committee helps to assess the specific skills required for the identified job openings and assists in overseeing the curriculum development and instruction. The committee reviews the curriculum and approves the preemployment certificate as a qualification for hiring. http://www.wrtp.org

Employer Involvement in Sector Training Initiatives Evaluated by Public/Private Ventures (P/PV) The findings ofP/ PV’ sev a l ua t i onofs i xs e c t ort r a i ni ngi ni t i a t i v esi ndi c a t esthat the programs that had the most success in placing participants in training-related jobs developed trust and buy-in among employers by involving them in their programs in several ways: Creating employer advisory boards that served multiple functions, including: Talking with staff about advancements in the field to keep training curricula current with

e mpl oy e r s ’ ne e ds ; Informing staff of hiring practices and certification requirements to ensure that graduates

were able to compete in the job market; and

Discussing issues related to employee turnover and helping programs develop ways to

address these issues either in training or in one-on-one counseling. Using employers as guest speakers in informational sessions to help participants understand

the targeted occupation and the environment at potential work sites. These guests played many roles, including: Participating in practice interview sessions with participants; Tutoring students; Serving as mentors; Participating in job fairs; and Hosting trainee internships or providing clinical rotation sites for training. From Public/Private Ventures Targeting Industries, Training Workers and Improving Opportunities (Anne Roder with Carol Clymer and Laura Wyckoff 2008)

40


D. * Expand workforce development professionals’ k nowl edg ea ndunde r s t a ndi ngabout the labor market and current and future workforce needs of employers, particularly in highdemand sectors. Program managers working in employment and training organizations need to have information about the current and emerging skill needs of employers to ensure their programs are relevant and responding to market demand. Front-line staff also needs this knowledge to effectively serve and help guide job seekers. Rather than each organization attempting to develop this base of knowledge, the sector as a whole—working with employers, sector partnerships and other stakeholders—should develop a forum to effectively communicate with and educate workforce professionals about the labor market demands and opportunities. The WDB, CPCC, the UNC Charlotte Continuing Education Program or the regional Re-Employment Bridge Institute created by Rowan-Cabarrus Community College could be tapped to lead this effort. E. * Promote sector-wide use of a career/work readiness certificate to assess an i ndi v i dua l ’ s readiness for entry-level work as defined by employers. These are portable, evidence-based credentials that measure essential workplace skills and are a reliable predictor of workplace success. This credential is used across all sectors of the economy and measures a range of skills. Career/work readiness certification gives job seekers an advantage in the job market by demonstrating their level of competency to employers. Employers favor this certification because it helps them screen applicants, interviewing only those with the skills required for a job. Currently only a few of the local workforce development organizations use career/work ready certifications. F. * Develop a dual-customer database and/or other software tools to help match job seekers and their skills with employers and their workforce needs. The WDB has developed and piloted such a database with Siemans USA. It has shown favorable results for the company and job seekers in identifying and screening potential applicants for available job openings. Plans are underway to expand the database for use by other area companies. This database tool could have broad application to the entire workforce sector. In addition, NC ESC operates the on-line NC JobConnector to help match job seekers and employers.

41

Regional Talent Communities The Milwaukee Workforce Investment Board (WIB) has contracted with Find.ly, a leading company in the social media career space, to use the c ompa ny ’ ssocial media recruitment platform that enables organizations to easily implement a full suite Talent Community to connect with, engage and hire job seekers. The technology allows job seekers to join a Talent Community in a single click, using their existing social profile (LinkedIn, MySpace or Facebook). The technology turns the job seeker's social profile into a professional resume which can be ranked, filtered, and searched by participating Find.ly employers or job developers. The Milwaukee WIB has obtained the license to use the technology to build a talent community of job seekers that internal staff and participating employers can search to identify, engage and hire. http://www.milwaukeewib.org


SHIFT

Shift From

Shift To

Focus on entry-level jobs as “ endg a me”f orma j or i t yof job seekers

Greater focus on career pathways that lead to living wage employment

A. * Develop and promote career pathway approach with low-skilled workers. To succeed in the new economy, low-skilled workers must do more than find a job; they must gain the skills that enable them to build a career. Leading researchers addressing workforce development for lowskilled workers agree that development and promotion of career pathways is critical to the longterm employment success of low-skilled workers. Using a pathways approach enables people to climb from low-paying work to jobs with a future. Career pathways are a series of connected education and training strategies and support services within specific occupational sectors. Career ladders developed for various occupational areas show job seekers the skill competencies and the education/training required for each step on the ladder or career pathway. To date, CPCC has developed eight career pathway programs with several in the works. A few career ladders have been developed for several allied health occupations by the Charlotte r eg i on’ sAl l i a nc ef oraCompet i t i v eWor k f or c e, a ndwor kha sbeg unbyt heWDB to develop career ladders within the energy industry. Efforts to develop career ladders for occupations within the Cha r l ot t er eg i on’ shi g hde ma ndi ndus t r i esshould accelerate to provide this valuable information to job seekers. Creating career ladders will require leadership and partnerships among employers, workforce development agencies, community colleges and other community stakeholders. Characteristics of Leading Career Ladders The most successful career ladders: Identify avenues of advancement for workers within local labor markets by matching the skills acquired at one level of employment or education and training with the skills required by higher levels of employment; Help participating employers identify potential candidates for employment; Clarify the skill needs of employers to exert an employer-driven influence on the training efforts of workforce development systems; and Address the needs of workers for pre- and post-employment training by utilizing a range of educational options, from on-the-job training to contracted training from local providers. Beyond these common elements, career ladders vary in important ways, including: The occupations and number of occupational tiers they include Howi ndi v i dua l sg e tt ot he“ f i r s tr ung ; ” The extent to which employers modify human resource practices; The range of workforce development services offered; and The organization responsible for operating the career ladder From the Workforce Innovations Network Career Ladder Guidebook for Workforce Intermediaries 2003

42


The Greater Cincinnati Workforce Alliance developed a Competency Skills Model for a priority industry (advanced manufacturing) that will be applied to other priority sectors. The model is based upon two tiers of competencies: 1) employability competencies that include such dimensions as integrity, interpersonal skills, dependability, willingness to learn and basic communication and 2) entry-level competencies that focus on such dimensions as applied math and science, safety, teamwork and problem solving. With such workforce competencies in hand, providers can better direct job seekers and ensure employers are getting good candidates for jobs from workforce organizations. http://www.cincinnatiworkforce.org The Baltimore Alliance for Careers in Healthcare is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to eliminating the critical shortage of qualified healthcare workers in Baltimore by working with local agencies, healthcare institutions and other organizations to create opportunities for residents to pursue careers in health pr of e s s i ons .Mor et ha n80pa r t ne r ss uppor tt heAl l i a nc e ’ sef f or t s , i nc l udi nghe a l t hc a r eproviders, foundations, educational institutions, federal agencies and many other nonprofit organizations. Initiatives of this Alliance include: 1) Career Coaching for which the Alliance pays one-quarter to onehalf of the salaries of career coaches in grantee hospitals in an effort to improve retention and advancement of frontline workers in entry level skilled healthcare jobs; 2) Career Mapping that diagrams career opportunities in Baltimore hospitals and outlines the education and experience needed for advancement or entry into particular healthcare occupations; 3) 1st Span Training Program, a workbased learning model for training unskilled hospital employees—first as nursing assistants and then as nurse extenders and advances an acute-care-based CNA curriculum for State of Maryland approval; and 4) Pre-Allied Health Bridge that trains incumbent employees and job seekers interested in the healthcare field, but who also need short-term remediation prior to entering into healthcare; and 5) Summer Internship Program (SIP) that provides rising high school seniors a six-week, career-building workshop and paid work experience in a hospital setting. http://www.baltimorealliance.org

B. Provide job seekers with greater access to career exploration and planning to help educate and motivate them to pursue more ambitious employment goals. Adults with little prior paid work experience and/or working in low-wage jobs often have had little access to career exploration and planning services. Consequently, they have a limited knowledge of the range of careers available, labor market data and career pathways—including the qualifications required to advance. Career exploration and planning helps job seekers and low-wage workers gain a more realistic picture of how to secure a job and/or advance in a career, and thus can help motivate a person to consider a particular job and undertake ongoing education and training. Career exploration and planning tools designed for more educated and savvy job seekers may not be effective for low-skilled job seekers. The materials and approach should take job seeker resources, life circumstances and experiences into account. C. Develop additional bridge training programs and promote them to low-skilled workers. Bridge training programs prepare adults who lack adequate basic skills to enter and succeed in postsecondary education, leading to career-path employment. They combine specific occupational education through contextualized learning and training. Bridge programs are well suited for adults—with or without a high school diploma or GED—who have reading and mathematics skills below the ninth-grade level and who have generally not been successful in traditional education settings or have been out of school for some time.7 CPCC ‘ spa t hwa y programs incorporate the bridge model.

7

Women Employed with Chicago Jobs Institute and UIC Great Cities Institute, Bridges to Careers for Low-Skilled Adults, 2005

43


Educational Pathways to Careers for Adults Including Bridge Training Illustration from Bridges to Careers for Low-Skilled Workers by Women Employed with Chicago Jobs Initiative and UIC Great Cities Institute

Managers/ Technical Professionals

Graduate/Professional Degree

Baccalaureate Degree

Skilled Technicians

Entry-Level Technicians

Associate Degree

Advanced Certificate

Entry-Level Skilled Jobs

Intensive GED Prep Higher-Level BridgeTraining

Semi-Skilled Jobs

Lower-Level BridgeTraining

Key: Strong connection to jobs Learning while earning

Intensive Work Readiness + Follow-up

Strong connection between education levels

44

Unskilled Laborer Jobs

Career-long Learning/ Professional Development


Shift From

SHIFT

Shift To

Limited individualized attention to job seekers with barriers

More individualized, holistic guidance and wraparound support for job seekers with barriers

A. Develop a common, holistic screening and assessment tool to better understand and address individual job seekers’ needs. All employment and training providers assess the needs of their clients using various assessment tools. Some focus primarily on employment needs, while others are more detailed and investigate needs across life domains. Because many clients use cross-agency services, developing a robust and holistic assessment tool that all sector organizations would be encouraged to use should be considered by sector leaders. A holistic assessment tool should i dent i f yj obs ee k er s ’ s t r eng t hs , i nt er es t s , l e a r ni ngs t y l e sa nd barriers, as well as their development and support needs. Having this detailed client information will enable job seekers, assisted by workforce professionals, to develop individualized plans aimed at achieving personal employment goals, including strategies to address barriers to employment. An assessment tool should also be transportable, meaning that job seekers only have to complete an assessment one time, and the information can be shared across organization to reduce duplication of effort. Other assessment tools may be needed to determine specific literacy, basic education or occupational skill levels, but having a single up-front assessment that captures the holistic needs of job seekers would add considerable value to the employment and training process. B. Provide more one-on-one career counseling and other individualized support to help job seekers with barriers to employment stay motivated and focused on achieving their employment goals. Staff resources often limit the ability of organizations to provide in-depth one-on-one support for their clients. Enrolling mentors to support job seekers and entry-level workers and/or establishing peer networks of support should be considered. C. Develop more strategic partnerships between employment and training organizations and community-based organizations that serve specific populations with barriers to employment. E mpl oy menta ndt r a i ni ngs er v i c e st y pi c a l l ya r enotpr ov i ded“ i n-hous e”byt hes eorganizations, yet the need is significant for many of their program participants. Through partnerships, the different strengths of organizations can be combined to better serve disadvantaged workers. For example, Charlotte Housing Authority has established pa r t ner s hi pswi t hs e v er a l or g a ni z a t i ons( J a c ob’ sL a dde r , WDB and City Dive) to provide employment and training andot he rs uppor tf orpubl i chous i ngr es i dent sa tCHA’ snew Employment Center on the west side. In addition, the WDB is developing partnerships with community organizations and public facilities to establish Shared Network Access Point (SNAP) sites throughout the community. SNAP sites create the opportunity for organizations that serve specific population groups, including those with barriers to employment, to enhance their services through employment and training resources. Examples include the 45


YWCA Women in Transition Program, Davidson Housing Coalition and InnerVision, a nonprofit organization that assists adults with mental illness. Supportive Housing Employment Collaborative (SHEC) in San Francisco Bay Area: Seven non-profit supportive housing agencies, under the leadership of the Community Housing Partnership, formed this collaborative to strengthen job-related services they offer to their tenants. The SHEC provides outreach, assessment, counseling, job placement, and job retention services to formerly homeless tenants who live in affordable housing. It also provides a network of referrals to the training and education programs offered by the member agencies, including adult basic education and GED preparation, life skills and job readiness training, computer skills training, and on-the-job training programs. SHEC also offers volunteer opportunities, internships, and referrals to short-term job opportunities for those who need to build job readiness skills or are unable to maintain regular employment, but benefit from occasional participation in the workforce. SHEC organizations work together to share resources and to coordinate their fundraising and advocacy efforts. http://www.chp-sf.org Opportunity Chicago: Led by the Chicago Jobs Council, this is a collaborative of government agencies, foundations, non-profits and employers committed to connecting public housing residents to jobs through skills training and education. The focus is on providing job readiness training, transitional jobs programs, contextualized literacy programs, customized skills training and bridge programs and targets career pathway jobs in high-demand sectors. All programs emphasize career advancement vs. job placement. T hi si ni t i a t i v e ’ spubl i c / pr i v a t es e c t orf undi ngs t r uc t ur eha senc our a g e dc r os s -sector collaboration to leverage multiple funding streams. The priorities for Opportunity Chicago are: 1) expand and enhance the existing workforce service delivery system to maximize employment opportunities for Chicago Housing Authority residents; 2) promote innovative employment skills and training programs; 3) engage employers in the design and execution of sector- or industry-based partnerships; 4) advocate for public policies that support sustainable improvements to the public workforce development system; and 5) evaluate the i ni t i a t i v e ’ se f f e c t i v e ne s sa ndde t e r mi net her e l e v a nc eofi t smode l f orot he rl ow-income communities and populations. CareerAdvance in Tulsa Oklahoma: Funded by the Kaiser Family Foundation and a grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services, this sector-driven pilot program is designed specifically for y oungpa r e nt sofc hi l dr e ne nr ol l e di nt woofT ul s a ’ sHe a dS tart programs. It provides a dual-generational approach to poverty reduction that strengthens the investment in early childhood development by equipping Head Start parents with workforce training and gainful employment opportunities. It provides parents with intensive individualized employment and training services and financial support for careers in the healthcare sector. Basic educational and training services offered through this program are contextualized within the healthcare field.

D. Promote greater cultural competency in services and support. Lessons learned from the Anni eC. Ca s e yF ounda t i on’ sgroundbreaking Jobs Initiative—a decade-long experiment in six cities to develop and evaluate strategies to help low-skilled workers secure family-supporting wages—found that issues of race, ethnicity, class and culture arise along every point on the continuum of workforce development. Furthermore, their research shows that paying attention to these issues enhances the likelihood that workforce development efforts will achieve their desired results. The Jobs Initiative has identified a number of tools and strategies to promote greater cultural competence along the workforce continuum. They include:8

8

ABT Associates, Inc., Cultural Competence in Workforce Development: The Jobs Initiative Experience, Annie. C. Casey Foundation, 2006.

46


Developing effective ways to reach out to communities of color to engage and recruit adults to employment and training programs. For example, as part of its recruitment effort, the New Orleans affiliate of the Jobs Initiative c r ea t ed“ pa r t i c i pa ntc ouns el or s ” who come from a similar background to reach out to individuals in low-income neighborhoods. In Denver, the Jobs Initiative dev el opeda“ c ommuni t yc oa c hes ”model using area residents to assist fellow residents in their employment journey. Undertaking an assessment of a workforce development or g a ni z a t i on’ sc ul t ur a l competence and providing training and other support to ensure that staff understands how to effectively support clients with barriers to employment. In CharlotteMecklenburg, several workforce development organizations have had their staff participate in the Bri dg e sOutofPov er t yModel ™t ha thelps middle-class people better understand the sources and impact of generational poverty on families and communities. All organizations within the workforce sector should consider using the Bridges Out of Poverty Model with their staff and boards. Creating common ground with employers by building relationships to better understand empl oy er s ’ l a borne edsa swel l a shelping them address cultural issues that may be affecting their willingness to hire clients and other low-skilled workers. In Milwaukee, for example, the Jobs Initiative provides positive attendance workshops on job sites to reinforce good attendance practice, and in Denver, the Jobs Initiative created a cultural competence training module for supervisors working with entry-level and other lowskills workers. Developing relationships with faith and community-based organizations attempting to provide employment support for their members. Often these types of organizations know how to connect well with people in generational poverty but lack the capacity to provide a deep level of employment support. E. Consider establishing a JobLink Center that focuses specifically on job seekers with significant barriers to employment and/or provide specialized services within JobLinks. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg WDB plans to consolidate the majority of its WIA Adult and Dislocated Worker funds to create a single, oneof-a-kind workforce center near the Center City. This new center will provide services for all levels of job seekers. Consideration should be given to: 1) operating an additional JobLink Center that specifically focuses on serving individuals with more significant barriers to employment by providing enhanced case management and other support services; and/or 2) providing specialized services within the new center for job seekers with significant barriers to employment.

47

The JobNet One-Stop Career Center in Boston provides enhanced services such as one-onone case management, benefits counseling, individualized job referrals, post-secondary placement support and navigator services (for disabled) for homeless and other individuals with significant barriers. WIA funding is used to operate the center blended with HUD Shelter Plus Care funding and other grant funding for specific populations. The St. Louis Metro Employment and Training Center has recently added work/income support services and asset-building services for job seekers, complementing its existing workforce development program. Participants can now receive a range of vital services, including, for example, tips on improving their credit rating, help with transportation or child care or help with how to dress on the job.


SHIFT

ď&#x201A;?

Shift From

Shift To

Primary focus on providing pre-employment services

Focus on providing a FULL continuum of workforce services and support

Accessibility of Services/Support for Adults in Charlotte-Mecklenburg

Ideally, the local workforce development sector would provide a wider array of services and support along the entire workforce development continuum. The illustration below shows how access to services might look with greater attention to employment support, retention and advancement as compared to the current continuum and concentration of resources illustrated on page 11.

Ideal Continuum of Employment and Training Services Pre-Employment Services

Hard Skills Training

Assessment and Evaluation

Remedial Education

Employment Support

Job Retention and Advancement

Work Experience

Job Coaching and Mentoring

On-the-Job Training, Apprenticeships, etc.

General Skills Training

Adult Basic Ed, GED,

Job Readiness Soft Skills, Job Search Skills, Basic Computer Skills, Workplace Norms

Job Development

Specific Occupational Skills Training

Job Placement

Career Exploration and Planning

Career/Wage Advancement Continuing Education

Work Supports Budget Assistance, Income Enhancements

Support Servicesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;e.g. case management, transportation, childcare, clothing/uniforms, healthcare, etc.

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Creating a more fully developed continuum does not suggest that pre-employment services are not important. In fact, the dominant research on workforce development relating to low-skilled workers indicates that effective job readiness and soft skills training are most critical in helping low-skilled workers with barriers achieve short-term employment and retention success. However, longer-term employment retention rates are highest when participants receive both soft and hard skills training, as well as supportive services. Furthermore, the research shows that when low-skilled workers have access to meaningful work experience opportunities and are able to connect with quality jobs that pay benefits, retention rates are higher, and when they receive some type of retention, continuous training and/or financial work supports after they are hired, their rates of retention and wage increase accordingly. With limited resources, Charlotte-Mec k l enbur g ’ swor k f or c edevelopment sector may not be able to provide the ideal continuum of services and support to low-skilled adult workers. However, i t ’ s a vision to work toward. To this end, the consulting team has identified a number of implementation opportunities to help create a more robust continuum of services and support over time. Some of the previously described strategies—e.g. a holistic assessment tool, greater attention to career exploration and planning, more sector-focused hard skills training and cultural competency—directly relate to strengthening the continuum, but in the context of this assessment, they correspond more closely with the structural shifts already outlined. Service providers would agree that continuous improvement is needed within all dimensions of the continuum. However, the consulting team suggests that particular focus be devoted to the following: A. * Promote use of contextualized learning approaches in soft and hard skills training to help learners relate subject matter content to real-world, work-based situations and to motivate them to make connections between knowledge and application. Education and workforce development research shows that soft and hard skills training that uses contextualized learning and exposes job seekers to the culture of work is most often the more effective approach. Hard Work on Soft Skills: Creating a Culture of Work in Workforce Development, a publication of Public/Private Ventures (Oct. 2001) showcases four highly regarded workforce development pr og r a ms , c onc e nt r a t i ngonhowt he yc ul t i v a t e“ emot i ona l i nt e l l i g e nc e ” —how they prepare trainees for the cultural demands of the workplace. All of these programs approach the task in many ways, mixing and matching their tactics to the needs of particular groups of trainees. Lessons from these four programs are: 1) integrate soft skills training into every element of the curriculum; 2) create work or work-like tasks and establish teams to complete them; 3) putt r a i ne e si nt heempl oy e r ’ sr ol e from time to time, so that by managing they can learn to be managed; 4) establish the discipline of the workplace in all aspects of the program; 5) recreate the physical environment of work to the fullest extent possible; and 6) give participants lots of opportunities to get to know successful people. Support services and soft skills are not the same, but they go hand in hand. Each of the programs profiled in the study maintains some network of supportive services, counseling, child care, health and other resources that people will need if they are to get a job and keep it. http://www.ppv.org.

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Skills to Live By: Participant Reflections on the Values of their Sectoral Training Experience, 2006. As a follow-up assessment of the impact on its participants, researchers interviewed 26 participants in three sectoral training programs four years after graduating from training. The original training program i nc or por a t e da nunde r s t a ndi ngofpa r t i c i pa nt s ’ l i f es i t ua t i ons , whi c hwa sc r i t i c a l t opr og r a mc ompl e t i on. Length, structure and supports needed to succeed in training and specific strategies to foster sense of community among trainees build confidence and motivation were priorities. The study found that: 1) respondents reported that learning skills in environments that simulated situations they might encounter . at work was key to their ability to incorporate new skills and concepts; 2) contextualized learning helped to build confidence that they could do the job and succeed; this was especially important for those with very limited work experience. Breaking learning and skill development into manageable units allows people to progress at a pace that suits them and keeps people engaged and creates opportunities for bringing a diverse group along—especially important for those who have experienced failure in earlier work/learning experiences; and 3) integrating soft skills learning into a hard skills curriculum makes lessons long-lasting. The best occupation-specific learning environments provide context for practical application of new skills— soft and technical. http://www.aspeninstitute.org The Michigan Adult Education and Professional Development Project published a monograph called Preparing Students for the Workplace and Beyond, in 2009 that highlights contextualized instruction in local programs. Among the initiatives featured is the following from The Center for Occupation Research and Development (CORD) www.cord.org. It provides the following questions regarding whether or not contextual teaching is occurring in a classroom. Are you teaching contextually? Are new concepts presented in real-life (outside the classroom) situations and experiences that are familiar to the student? Are concepts in examples and student exercises presented in the context of their use? Are new concepts presented in the context of what the student already knows? Do examples and student exercises include many real, believable problem-solving situations that students can recognize as being important to their current or possible future lives? Do examples and student exercises cultivate an attitude that says, "I need to learn this"? Do students gather and analyze their own data as they are guided in discovery of the important concepts? Are opportunities presented for students to gather and analyze their own data for enrichment and extension? Do lessons and activities encourage the student to apply concepts and information in useful contexts, projecting the student into imagined futures (e.g., possible careers) and unfamiliar locations (e.g., workplaces)? Are students expected to participate regularly in interactive groups where sharing, communicating, and responding to the important concepts and decision-making occur?

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B. * Better coordinate job development activities across the sector to reduce duplication with employers and provide appropriate leads for all job seekers accessing workforce development s er v i c es .J obde v el oper sdon’ tha v ea nea s y job. They juggle the needs of the agencies they represent, job seekers and employers. It can be a competitive field that naturally promotes the guarding of information and relationships with employers. Consequently, coordination and sharing of information among job developers may be challenging, but not impossible. It may be prudent to retain someone with good facilitative skills to work with area job developers in identifying and discussing mutual interests and areas of potential overlap and coordination, with the ultimate goal of serving the best interests of all job seekers and employers in the community.

Chicago Jobs Council WIRE-NET has developed a system to identify and keep track of employer membe r s ’ ne e dsa ndha si mpl e me nt e da n account management system. Thirteen staff membe r sa r ea s s i g ne d10t o12“ k e ye mpl oy e r a c c ount s , ”whomt he ya r er es pons i bl ef orc a l l i ng once a month to check on needs and issues. Employers are also visited twice a year; staff ask them a common set of questions to keep up with labor market trends, employer needs and ways that WIRE-Ne tc a na s s i s t . “ T heCompa ny DAT AS HE E T ”helps staff remain current and consistent with employers. This employer database includes issues that require action, such as the need for training, which are referred to the appropriate staff member. http://www.wire.cjc.net

C. Develop more transitional job opportunities for low-skilled workers with barriers to employment. Increasingly, workforce development organizations, particularly non-profits, are pursuing innovative strategies to provide transitional jobs that help their clients gain entry into the labor market and build work experience. Transitional jobs may also provide a level of flexibility that enables job seekers to care for family members and/or pursue education and training.9 In addition to subsidized employment that entails providing government subsidies to help cover the wages paid to participants by employers, two types of transitional job opportunities are generally being created through:  Alternative Staffing Organizations that, in many ways, resemble for-profit staffing agencies. They charge fees and serve as brokers for temporary jobs with employers, but focus on specific groups of workers and often provide support services such as basic skills, mentoring and transportation assistance. Research on alternative staffing organizations indicates that those organizations that provide supportive services produce better outcomes for workers.10 Goodwill Works Staffing, a subsidiary of Goodwill Industries of Southern Piedmont is a local example.  Social enterprises that produce real products/services for customers, compete in the marketplace and pay a competitive wage. The difference between other business enterprises is that social purpose is at the very heart of what they do, and the profits they make are reinvested toward achieving that purpose. King’ sKi t c hen, Goodwi l l I ndus t r i es ’ retail stores a ndHopeHa v en’ sCa t er i ngbus i nes sa r el oc a l examples of social enterprises.

9

Joshua Freely, Sheila McGuire and Shayne Spaulding for Public/Private Ventures, A Foot in the Door: Using Alternative Staffing Organizations to Open Up Opportunities for Disadvantaged Workers-Report on the Alternative Demonstration 2005-2008. 10 Ibid.

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Bright Endeavors in Chicago operates a candle making business that provides young women, ages 16 to 25, with the guidance necessary to develop a successful work history, focusing on skills like teamwork and communications. Most of the women are referred to Bright Endeavors by the juvenile justice system and local programs for young mothers. Through a combination of on-the-job experience, personal support and one-on-one coaching and job placement, Bright Endeavors prepares its young participants for i nde pe nde nc e . T he yl e a r nhowt oma k eBr i g htE nde a v or ’ s line of eco-friendly candles, to work as a team and to feel proud of the products they are making. Those products also provide some revenues for the program. During the six to eight months they typically stay with Bright Endeavors, the women also receive on-going personal support. This may involve everything from a reassuring phone call when a child is sick in the middle of the night to advice on securing permanent housing. Bright Endeavors takes a highly structured approach to the job search, working with the women to determine areas of interest, identifying specific jobs and preparing them for interviews. http://www.brightendeavors.org Workforce, Inc. in Indianapolis operates Remaking Our Resources, a social enterprise that provides transitional jobs for recently released offenders. The business focus is on keeping electronic waste out of landfills and recovering the waste in a way it can be re-used in industry. The City of Indianapolis contracts with Wor k f or c e , I nc . t oha ndl ee l ec t r oni cwa s t ec ol l e c t e da t“ T oxDr op”e v e nt s , a ndt hes t a t es e ndsa portion of its end-of-life electronics to the company to recover. Employees of this social enterprise work six to seven hours a day, with two hours of release time to attend basic education classes, substance abuse treatment or other activities to address their barriers to employment. They are also encouraged to work on community projects. In addition to being paid, the employees gain marketable skills related to small tools, material handling, problem solving, loading and unloading trucks and palettes and forklift safety. Employment last for up to six months. More than 70% of those who completed the 6-month employment program have transitioned to permanent employment. http://www.work-force-inc.com

D. * Provide greater support for the retention and advancement of low-skilled workers after they become employed. Effective soft and hard skills are intended to improve retention rates and wages of job seekers. However, for some job seekers, additional support may be needed after they begin working to help them stay motivated and address challenges—on and off the job—that may be threatening there employment status. The sector should look at ways it can continue to support individuals in keeping and advancing in jobs. Some options to consider include: Helping job seekers access information and linkages to work supports such as childcare, food stamps and earned income tax credits and raising the awareness of employers about these types of support so they can share the information with their low-wage workers; Developing teams of mentors or job coaches to provide one-on-one support when needed; Creating peer networks of program alumni to provide a forum for workers to share and discuss their issues, challenges and successes; Developing incentives for workers to remain employed; Building relationships with employers to partner in retention and continuing education; and Contracting with employers to deliver retention services to low-wage employees and/or their supervisors.

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Employer-Supported Retention Practices Ma r r i ot tI nt er na t i ona l ’ sAs s oc i a t eRes our c eL i neis a toll-free resource and referral service that gives the c ompa ny ’ se mpl oy ee sc onf i dent i a l c ons ul t a t i ona ndr e f e r r a l onpe r s ona l i s s ue s , i nc l udi ngf a mi l y , c hi l d care, and elder care issues. TheAs s oc i a t eRe s our c eL i nei spa r tofMa r r i ot t ’ sWor k L i f ei ni t i a t i v est ha t include programs such as on-site child development centers and education and training for employees. It began in 1996 to provide a resource and referral service that could meet the needs of lower-income employees who might not be well-served under a typical employee assistance program. The Associate Resource Line is available 24 hours per day and in more than 150 languages to all Marriott associates. It is staffed by social workers who use a case management approach and who are familiar with the social service programs available to lower-income individuals and families. The resource line is also a valuable tool for frontline managers who reported spending between 25 percent and 50 percent of their time he l pi nge mpl oy ee swi t h“ s oc i a l wor k ”i s s ue sbef or et her e s our c ea ndr e f e r r a l s e r v i c ewa si mpl e me nt e d. The company estimates that it has earned a 4-to-1 return on its investment in the resource line by reducing turnover and absenteeism. Marriott funds the Associate Resource Line, and Ceridian Work-Life Services administers the resource and referral service. http://marriot.com The Employer Resource Networks (ERNs) is an innovative, employer-based model that pulls together a consortium of small-to mid-size businesses to provide job retention services, work supports, and training opportunities for entry-level employees, many of whom are receiving public assistance. ERNs have been implemented in over six sites in Michigan and Wisconsin. The concept was birthed when Cascade Engineering, a large manufacturer in Grand Rapids, Michigan, formed a partnership with the local TANF agency in response to retention issues they were experiencing with the large number of TANF recipients working for the company. They began co-locating a welfare case manager at the employer worksite to address the personal and family challenges that were contributing to job turnover. While the success of this venture inspired other local businesses to consider adopting similar strategies, the smaller ones lacked the capacity to do so. Their solution was to come together collectively as an Employer Resource Network (ERN), pooling existing resources to provide job retention services, access to additional work supports, and job advancement opportunities to their new and incumbent workers. The primary focus is on retention, butt he yha v eas t r ongs e c onda r yf oc usone mpl oy eea dv a nc e me nt .T he ypr ov i de“ hi g ht ouc h”c a s e management, job and life skills training and other specialized resources and support. Businesses decide on the types and intensity of services to be provided. With the success of the first ERN called The Source in Grand Rapids, the model continues to be replicated elsewhere. The capacity of ERNs are enhanced through partnerships developed with public, non-profit and community organizations, as well as community colleges. A distinguishing feature of ERNs from other job retention initiatives is that they are employer-driven—governed and supported by a consortia of local businesses in collaboration with public agencies and community partners. http://www.westmichiganteam.org

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MOVING TO ACTION The three collaborative partner meetings held between February and May 2011 contributed g r ea t l yt ot hec ons ul t a ntt e a m’ sr ec ommenda t i onsf ors hifting gears in the workforce development sector. At the third meeting of the group, the consultant team shared a visionary “ story”of what the sector might look like in 2016 if specific shifts and correlating actions were to occur within the sector. (See Appendix IV for the story.) This story reflected back to the collaborative partners many of their ideas and in some ways, tested the energy within the sector for taking on ambitious goals. Following the discussion of the story, the collaborative partners confirmed the need for the creation of a cross-organizational leadership team to spearhead sector change. This was viewed as the top and most immediate priority for moving to action. Several individuals have since come forward expressing their interest in being part of such a team. This is the critical juncture in any community change endeavor—moving from thinking to doing—where i tpa y st o“ t a k ei ts l ow”t og ett he“ r i g ht ”pe opl et ot het a bl ef oras us t a i na bl e , c ol l a bor a t i v e implementation phase. The consultant team offers the following process recommendations to organize for change:  Recruitment: Recruit people for the leadership team who are passionate about their work and operate as effective connectors and communicators. Involve respected leaders with a history of embracing change. This does not mean that members need to think alike; on the contrary, it will be useful to find people who offer different perspectives. Err on the side of being open and inclusive, considering the different dimensions of diversity—race, age, geography, professional background, etc. To be effective, the leadership team will need regular meetings and likely some investment of time between meetings; be clear up front about the time commitment required.  Sustaining Energy: The leadership team will need to establish and sustain a sense of urgency to maintain momentum and a bias for action. Let those being recruited know that their participation is critical to the success of the effort and how they can contribute. The analysis in this report is intended to serve as a call to action, but keeping the attention of leaders within and outside the sector will require continuous communication of facts and figures as well as real and compelling stories of people relying on the workforce development sector for support. Groups stay energized when they experience short-term wins on their way to bigger accomplishments. Recognizing and celebrating even small accomplishments keeps a team together when the going gets tough.  Building Community: People tend to stick with groups where there is a strong sense of belonging. Leaders who check in with colleagues between meetings about their experience in the group will build the connection that keeps people engaged. Making s pec i a l ef f or t st os howa ppr ec i a t i onf orpe opl e’ st i me, c r ea t i v i t ya ndc a ndorpa yof fi n terms of producing more of the same. Building relationships takes time and yet, is the glue for collaboration to work.

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 Logistics: Staying highly organized s howsr es pec tf orpeopl e’ st i mea ndwi l l pr e v ent rework. Attention to meeting agendas, summaries, meeting space, refreshments and handouts, for example, may seem tedious, but actually is an investment, helping to keep t heg r oup’ sa t t ent i ononi t smi s s i ona ndobj ec t i v e s . Cons i derbudg et i ngf ort hes el og i s t i c s in advance and be clear about who is responsible for these important details. If funds allow, consider hiring a person to take this off the shoulders of team members.  Facilitation: The leadership team will need “ Collaborative leaders inspire to identify a chair or co-chairs. These commitment and action; they lead as individuals will share accountability for peer problem solvers; they build broad delivering results for which they may not based involvement; and they sustain have direct authority. As such, they may hope and participation.” find that there are times when it is difficult Chrislip and Larson, 1994. to facilitate the collaboration while, simultaneously, owning the content. For some meetings, a neutral facilitator may be needed to free up the chair(s) to participate in the discussion as a member of the group. A facilitator assures an inclusive and fair process and is responsible to the group as a whole without a vested interest in the outcome. Whether or not there is a separate facilitator, the chair(s) need to plan for a ndut i l i z et e c hni quesf org e t t i nga l l me mber s ’ voices heard and identify a decision-making process for the group and stick to it. Making decisions by consensus in a cross-agency collaboration will help to build community and keep members engaged.  Marketing: Create a clear mission and vision that the team embraces. The facts, figures and stories that compel leaders to join a team also make it easier for them to talk with others in the community about their important work. Taking the time to develop shared talking points a nd“ s hoppi ng ”new ideas and implementation strategies to stakeholders outside the team are important roles for team members when building support and resources to create change.  Building Shared Ownership: Clear outcomes and a written plan for action are essential. The best plans use language that keeps the focus on desired outcomes for customers, in this case, job seekers and employers. The best plans also clarify how success will be measured. Hear all voices. Encourage creativity and safety for people to disagree. This can be accomplished by staying focused on the interests behi ndpe opl e’ spos i t i onsa nd finding win-win solutions. In addition, large groups often assign goals to subgroups, giving them a specific charge. Subgroups work best when their task and level of authority are clear. Many collaborative teams find their best work is done in smaller subgroups that bring their recommendations back to the full group for endorsement.

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CONCLUSION This analysis of the workforce development sector has focused on the opportunities available to the patchwork of agencies if they were to work in a more integrated fashion for the benefit of job seekers and employers. The consultant team expects to see great strides in the effectiveness of the sector as a whole as it shifts to:  Alignment around shared goals and outcomes;  A dual-customer approach that focuses onbot hj obs e ek er s ’ a nde mpl oy er s ’ nee ds ;  Using a career pathways approach that helps low-skilled job seekers aim higher than entry-level work and increase their earning potential;  More individualized, holistic support for job seekers for whom traditional approaches to education and training have not worked, including using contextualized learning approaches; and  A more fully developed continuum of workforce services with more emphasis on long-term retention in higher quality jobs. The interconnectedness of services within the field of workforce development is mirrored, in fact, by the interconnectedness across sectors. Due to the complex nature of the barriers to employment carried by many job seekers, the workforce development sector will produce more positive outcomes if it finds new ways to collaborate with the education, social service, business and health sectors. After all, our society as a whole has a vested interest in the gainful employment of our citizenry. Successful recruitment and retention of workers in jobs with livable wages, locally and nationally, strengthens our county, state and country—and is a positive reflection on all sectors that have a hand in preparing our workforce. When it comes to an economically healthy and globally competitive community—and nation—preventing or intervening early on to address problems that can result in barriers to employment later in a per s on’ sl i f eis imperative. While this report challenges the workforce development sector to embrace significant structural shifts, neither the workforce development sector nora nyot hers i ng l es ec t orc a n“ go it alone. ” Ourna t i on’ swor kforce is the product of multiple and overlapping systems—including families, childcare, physical and mental health, education, transportation, social services and business and industry. All of these systems are needed to prevent people from falling through the cracks. Job seekers, especially those with barriers to employment, need the workforce development sector to work seamlessly with all other sectors across the community to help them achieve a more positive and prosperous future.

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Bibliography ABT Associates, Inc., Cultural Competence in Workforce Development: The Jobs Initiative Experience, Annie. C. Casey Foundation, 2006. Autor, David and Houseman, Susan, Do Temporary Help Jobs Improve Labor Market Outcomes for LowSkilled Workers? Evidence from Random Assignments, Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 05-124, 2005. Blair, Conway, Dawson, Dworeak, Monoz, Sector Strategies for Low-Income Workers: Lessons from the Field, Aspen Institute, Summer 2007. Carnevale, Anthony, Smith, Nicole and Strohl, Jeff, Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018, Georgetown Center on Education and The Workforce, 2010. Clymer, Carol, By Design, Engaging Employers in Workforce Development Organizations, Public /Private Ventures, December 2003. E be r t s , Ra nda l l a ndO’ L e a r y , Chr i s t ophe r , Employment and Training Policy in U.S. During the Economic Crisis, Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 10-161, 2010. Fischer, David, Workforce Intermediaries: Powering Regional Economies in the New Century, Center for an Urban Future, May 2005. Freely, Joshua, Maguire, Sheila and Spaulding, Shayne, A Foot in the Door, Using Staffing Organizations to Open Up Opportunities for Disadvantaged Workers, Report on the Alternative Staffing Demonstration 2005-2008, January 2009. Grote, Mae Watson, Fixing a Flat at 65 MPH, Restructuring Services to Improve Program Performance in Workforce Development, Public/Private Ventures, June 2003. Holcomb, Pamela and Martinson, Karin, Innovative Employment Approaches and Programs for Low-Income Families, Urban Institute, February 2007. Houg ht on, T e da ndPr os c i o, T ony , Ha r dWor konS of tS k i l l s , Cr e a t i nga“ Cul t ur eofWor k ”i nWor k f or c e Development, Public/Private Ventures, October 2001. King, Christopher and Looney, Sarah, Expanding Opportunities for Businesses and Workers: Promising Practices for Workforce Intermediary Initiatives, Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources at University of Texas at Austin, February 2005. Klein-Collins, Rebecca, Workforce Intermediary Collaboration: A Strategy for Greater Impact and Sustainability, Council for Adult and Experiential Learning for the Annie C. Casey Foundation, August 2008. Martinson, Karin, Partnering with Employers to Promote Job Advancement, Urban Institute, September 2010. Mills, Jack and Prince, Health, Career Ladder Guidebook for Workforce Intermediaries, Prepared for Workforce Innovations Network, December, 2003. Roder, Anne with Clymer, Carol and Wyckoff, Laura, Targeting Industries, Training Workers and Improving Opportunities, Public/Private Ventures, 2008.


Theis, Audry PHD with Chrisman, Forrest, Guide to Adult Education for Work, Transforming Adult Education to Grow a Skilled Workforce, National Center on Education and Economy, 2009. Sum, Andrew and Khatiwoda, Ishwar, Center for Labor Market Studies, Northeastern University, Labor Utilization Problems of U.S. Workers Across Household Income Groups at the End of the Great Recession, February 2010. Bridges to Careers for Low-Skilled Workers, Women Employed with Chicago Jobs Council and UIC Great Cities Institute, October 2005. Work Supports and Low-Wage Workers, The Finance Project, 2005.


APPENDICES Appendix I: Appendix II: Appendix III: Appendix IV:

Glossary of Terms People/Organizations Interviewed Matrix of Workforce Development Organizations and Their Services Workforce Development Sector “ S t or y ”f or2016


Appendix I: Glossary of Workforce Development-Related Terms Adult Basic Education (ABE): Instructional programs that provide the basic skills to adults who are performing below the ninth-grade instructional level in reading, writing, computation, computer literacy, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills. Assessment: A systematic process of measuring the strengths and needs of job seekers as it relates to preparation for (re)entering the workforce. A wide range of assessment instruments and methods is available, from structured interviews to computerized tests. Basic Skills Training: Training offered individually or in groups to help individuals improve fundamental academic skills, such as reading, writing and simple math. Bridge Program: Programs that prepare adults with limited academic or limited English skills to enter and succeed in credit-bearing postsecondary education and training leading to career-path employment in high-demand, middle- and high-skilled occupations. The goal of bridge programs is to sequentially bridge the gap between the initial skills of individuals and what they need to enter and succeed in postsecondary education and career-path employment Career Counseling: Facilitated exploration of occupational and industry information that will lead to a first, new, or better job for the job seeker. Career Development: The outcome of actions on career plans as viewed from both individual and organizational perspectives. The outcomes desired by individuals range from status to job f l ex i bi l i t yt omone t a r yr ewa r ds , dependi ngont hes i t ua t i on. Or g a ni z a t i ons â&#x20AC;&#x2122; de s i r e dout c omes include achieving the best match between people and jobs. Career Pathways/Ladders: A series of connected education and training strategies and support services that enable individuals to secure employment within a specific occupational sector and to advance over time to successively higher levels of education and employment in that sector. Each step on a pathway is designed to prepare the participant for the next level of education and employment. Case Management: A client-centered approach in the delivery of services designed to prepare and coordinate comprehensive employment plans and service strategies for participants, connecting the client to necessary workforce development and supportive services. Competency: The requisite ability to perform a specific task or qualify for a specific role; a functional qualification as opposed to a credential-based qualification. Competencies relate to knowledge, skills, and abilities plus other characteristics such as values, motivation, initiative, and self-control.


Contextualized Learning: Developing skills, knowledge, and attitudes drawn from the context in which they will be used, using real-life materials and situations. Credential: A degree or certificate which is recognized at the national, state or local level and indicates possession of specific training, knowledge, or skill. Dislocated Worker: An employee who has been laid off from his/her job because of a business cutback or plant closure. Employability Plan: A written plan usually prepared by a workforce professional with a job seeker that outlines an individualized mix of training programs and services leading to a specified career or personal goal, also known as an "Employment Development Plan" or "Individual Service Strategy." English as a Second Language (ESL): Instructional programs that provide basic educational services to adults who are not native speakers of English; the primary goal is proficiency in English. Entry-Level: Jobs or occupations for which employers hire workers with little or no previous work experience or with relatively minimum training or education. GED (General Educational Development): An exam developed and distributed by the General Educational Development Testing Service. A GED credential documents the attainment of high school-level academic skills. About 96 percent of U.S. employers accept the GED credential as equal to a traditional high school diploma. Incumbent Workers: Individuals who are already employed. Industry: A group of businesses that engage in similar activities. Job Club/Peer Network: A type of self-directed job search program in which clients meet regularly as a peer support group to learn job-search techniques and to telephone potential employers and arrange interviews. A staff member often acts as an instructor and "cheerleader" for the group. Job Coaching: Mentoring a job seeker or new employee for development of the capabilities to successfully perform a specific job. Job Development: An organized effort to encourage employers or business organizations to make jobs available to a specific set of potential workers. Job Placement Services: Services that help people identify and secure paid employment that matches their aptitude, qualifications, experiences, and interests.


Job Readiness Services: Services that prepare individuals with basic information and resources to search for, find and keep a job. Programs typically teach resume writing, interviewing skills, customer service, personal appearance, job search, computer literacy, and other basic information that new workers need in order to be successful in work. Living Wage: The hourly rate individuals must earn to support their families if they are the sole providers and are working full-time (2,080 hours per year.) Postsecondary Education: Education beyond high school, including community college, technical colleges, universities, colleges that offer baccalaureate degree and higher, and private technical schools, as well as certified apprenticeships and on-the-job training. Postsecondary education and training can be provided in traditional classrooms, at worksites, and/or via distance learning facilities. Poverty Wage: Derived from the U.S. Census Bureau 2008 Poverty Thresholds by Size of Family and Number of Children. Occupational Skills: Skills needed to practice a particular occupation or career. Typically these are "hard skills" (such as welding) rather than "soft skills" (such as punctuality), also called "Vocational Skills." On-The-Job Training: A type of vocational training in which the trainee learns skills at the work site while earning a wage. Often, employers are offered cash training reimbursements or other incentives to hire hard-to-employ people and train them on the job. Sector: T het er ms“ c l us t er s ”a nd“ s ec t or s ”a r es ome t i mesus edi nt er c ha ng ea bl y . Whi l e“ s ec t or s ” more often refers to groupings of industry divisions or occupations by type (examples: Manufacturing; He a l t hCa r e) , “ c l us t e r s ”of t enr e f er st og r oupsofr el a t edoc c upa t i onswi t ha common focus (products; markets; training needs; labor pools) in a particular geographic area. Soft Skills Training: A form of pre-employment training that prepares job seekers who have few job skills or little workplace experience. It provides job seekers with information on what it takes to be hired and to keep a job. Typical components in this training include the importance of a strong work ethic, punctuality and reliability, a positive attitude, dressing for success, effective interview techniques, budgeting, conflict resolution and how to get along with supervisors and coworkers. Supported Employment: Support to help people with severe disabilities (e.g., psychiatric, mental retardation, significant learning disabilities, or traumatic brain injury) find work in an integrated setting where they might not otherwise be able to do so. The supports can include job coaches, transportation, assistive technology, specialized job training and individually tailored supervision.


Support Services: Non-employment related assistance provided to help clients overcome barriers of employment. Common examples include transportation passes, childcare assistance, healthcare and substance abuse treatment. Transitional Jobs: A combination of temporary, wage-subsidized jobs, supportive services and skills training for job seekers with few skills, little workplace experience or multiple barriers to employment. Workforce Development: Assisting individuals, employers and communities achieve occupational competencies necessary for competitive advantage in the marketplace. Workforce Intermediaries: Networks of individuals who work as brokers, facilitators, and/or interpreters to strengthen the connections between and integration of workforce training and education the needs of employers, workers, and communities. Work Supports: Benefits such as earned income tax credits, child care subsidies, health insurance, and food stamps that can help families close the gap between low earnings and basic expenses.


Appendix II:

28 Interviews Completed Rodney Adams, Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services Dorothy Alexander, Mec k l enbur gCount yWomen’ sCommi s s i on Karen Brackett Browning, Charlotte Area Fund Robin Bryan, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Job Help Center Chris Campbell, Charlotte Housing Authority Myra Clark, Center for Community Transitions Randall Darnell, Employment Security Commission Mary William Davies, Charlotte Mecklenburg Senior Centers Michael Elder, Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont Natalie English, Charlotte Chamber of Commerce Jess George, Latin American Coalition Deborah Gibson, Charlotte Mecklenburg Workforce Development Board Patrick Graham, Urban League of Central Carolinas Paulette Griffin, Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont Holly Gryder, UNC Charlotte Continuing Education Program Georgia Gulledge, NC Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Kimberly Hammond, NC Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Alice Harrison, Hope Haven, Inc. Kimberly Harrison, Friendship Community Development Corporation Pat Heard, BRIDGE Jobs Program Kathy Jackson, Nevins, Inc. Lisa Martinez, Church of God Senior Services Ligia Mason, YWCA Central Carolinas Sue Merkin, Charlotte Mecklenburg Workforce Development Board Linda Novak, InReach, formerly Residential and Support Services J. Marc Phillips, Autism Services of Mecklenburg County Ron Reeve, Mecklenburg Disability Action Collaborative Kristen Sikkelee, YWCA Central Carolinas Karen Simon, Mecklenburg County S her i f f ’ sDepa r t me nt Bobby Sutton, CPCC Adult Education Steffi Travis, J a c ob’ sL a dde rJob Center Mary Wilson, Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services


APPENDIX III: DIRECT PROVIDERS OF EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING SERVICES FOR ADULTS IN CHARLOTTE-MECKLENBURG Non-Profit & Government Organizations and Public Institutions (Information Current as of July 1, 2011) Employment Assessment & Preparation

BRIDGE Job Program Target Population: Youth and young adult (16-24) high school drop-outs and unemployed/underemployed Location: 2732 Rozzelles Ferry Road, Charlotte, NC 28208 Contact Information: 704-377-5371 www.bridgecharlotte.org

Center for Community Transitions Target Population: Adult job seekers with criminal records Location: 2226 N. Davidson Street, Charlotte NC 28205 Contact Information: 704-374-0762 www.centerforcommunitytransitions.org

Job Training

     

Assessment Career inventory Individual service plan Soft Skills One-on-one counseling 8-week GED preparation classes  Computer room

 Referrals to training

 Assessment  Individual service plan  Job Ready/Soft Skills LifeWorks: Two-week

Referrals to training

Job Development & Placement

 6 month follow-up after

providers

providers

Employment Retention, Support & Advancement completion of 8-week class

Unpaid work experiences Job development

90 day follow-up 6-12 month follow-up

Employment roundtable Connections with employers Referrals to jobs and placement programs Participant volunteer program

work readiness class

Cognitive based interventions

Basic computer training Entrepreneur class

 Career development planning

Centralina Area Agency on Aging Title V Senior Community Service Employment Program Target Population: Job seekers over the age of 55 and within 125% of federal poverty guidelines Location: 525 N. Tryon Street, Charlotte NC 28209 Contact Information: 704-348-2713 www.centralinaaging.org

 Computer room  Resource room  On-line Assessment  Remedial Skills GED training/testing

Referrals to training providers

Paid on-the-job training in non-profit or government organizations

through CPCC

ESL through CPCC Computer ski lls through community resources

 Job Ready/Soft Skills

Job search skills through community resources One-on-one interview coaching Workplace norms  CRC Training through CPCC

Job Club (quarterly)

90 day follow-up 3-6 month follow-up 6-12 month follow-up Can provide money for uniforms and other workrelated needs after a person is employed


Employment Assessment & Preparation

Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) Community Development Programs Target Population: Adults with low-level education, literacy and skills Locations: (Programs and courses vary by location) Central Campus 1201 Elizabeth Ave., Charlotte NC Cato Campus 8120 Grier Rd., Charlotte NC Harper Campus 315 Hebron St., Charlotte NC Levine Campus 2800 Campus Ridge Rd., Matthews, NC North Campus 11930 Vernhoff Dr., Huntersville, NC Contact Information: 704-330-6129 www.cpcc.edu/community_development/bas ic-skills-programs

Charlotte Area Fund Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Self Sufficiency Program Target Population: Unemployed/underemployed adults within 100% of federal poverty guidelines Location: 901 N. Tryon Street Charlotte, NC 28206 Contact Information: (704) 372-3010 www.charlotteareafund.org

 Testing, Academic Advising

and Referral Services  Career counseling (limited)  Access to College Career ServicesRemedial Education Career & Occupational Prep Lab for adults th functioning below 9 grade level Educational planning for Adult High School Adult High School Diploma Adult Basic Education Family Literacy Program GED training/testing ESL training Tutoring Compensatory Education for adults with disabilities  Job Ready/Soft Skills Workplace norms Job search skills  Basic computer skills  Computer lab  TABE assessment  Vocational assessment  Individual service plan  Case management by career specialist  Remedial Education On-site GED training and testing through CPCC On-site ABE training and testing through CPCC Adult literacy training through CPCC  Job Ready/Soft Skills Job Search and Retention Skills Workplace norms Appropriate Behavior

Job Training

Pathways to Employment

Program that integrates basic skills training with credit-bearing, short-term occupational training in: Pharmacy Tech Developmental Disabilities Office Admin. Systems Medical Office Admin Heating/Air Conditioning Welding Green Systems Tech. ESL Technical Career Ladder for non-native speakers More than 100 credit and degree-bearing occupational training programs open to all qualifying students

Refer to and pay for short-

term hard skills training by others Paid Internships for career exploration

Job Development & Placement

Job bank Co-op classes for some Students Job fairs Employer interviews

Paid apprenticeships Marketing Coordinator meets with employers to discover/develop job opportunities Provides job listings and referrals

Employment Retention, Support & Advancement

90 day follow-up for some cohorts

6-12 month follow-up for some cohorts

Provides small

quarterly stipend for client staying employed for up to a year

 3, 6, and 12 month followup by case managers  Provides for paid limited support services, e.g. workrelated clothes, tools, employer required medical exams, vocational assessments for certifications, etc.


Employment Assessment & Preparation

Job Training

Job Development & Placement

Employment Retention, Support & Advancement

 Money Management &

Cornerstone Career Development Center offered through Friendship Community Development Corporation (Friendship Baptist Church) Target Population: Open to anyone 18+ Location: Friendship Baptist Church, 3301 Beatties Ford Road, Charlotte, NC 28216 Contact Information: 704-391-6695 www.friendshipcdc.org/cornerstone

Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont, Inc. Target Population: Adults and Youth seeking employment and career training. Mecklenburg County Location(s): Career Development Center 2122 Freedom Drive Charlotte, NC |704-372-3434 South Boulevard JobLink 125-A South Boulevard Charlotte, NC | 704-527-3195

www.goodwillsp.org

Financial Literacy Budget Development and Counseling Life Skills  Job Search Skills  Basic computer training and certification  Computer lab  Remedial Education GED preparation provided through CPCC  Job Ready/Soft Skills Two-week soft skills training: First week MonThurs half-day on soft skills; second week MonThurs half-day basic computer skills  One-on-one coaching  Basic assessment & general interests  Vocational evaluation  Situational & community based assessments  Individualized service plans  One-on-one career coaching  Remedial Education GED provided through CPCC Adult Basic education through CPCC Compensatory education  Job Ready/Soft Skills Workshops Job search skills Workplace norms Resume reviews Workplace dress & etiquette Life skills  Basic computer skills

Refer to training providers for skill training

On-site training and

certification: Banking and customer service Hospitality and Tourism Construction Skills Electrical, HVAC, carpentry, plumbing, automotive/small engine repair provided through OMITT Life skills Referrals to other training Intermediate and advanced computer skills training Employment Skills Training Specialized Skills Training Horticulture Art Mock interviews

Job listings developed and emailed to participants each week

 Job developers find leads for jobs for clients  Broker jobs for clients  Job placement through Good Works Staffing— temp agency  Work experience at Goodwill retail stores  Job fairs  Work experience with community based employers

Informal communication and support after completion of two week course via email, phone calls and/or face-toface

30, 60 and 90 day follow-

up; 12 month follow-up for limited clients Long term vocational support On-the-Job Training Employment re-assessment for future job goals, changes or advancement


Employment Assessment & Preparation  Computer lab  Mentoring  Assessing resource centers

J a c ob’ sL a dderJ obCent er , I nc . Target Population: Open to anyone 18 + Location: 2304 The Plaza, Charlotte, NC 28299 (#4 bus line) and Satellite Location: J a c ob’ sL a dde rWE S T at Charlotte Housing Authority's Center for Employment Services, 2201 Caronia Street, Charlotte, NC 28208 (in the Arbor Glen community). Contact Information: Plaza: 704.332.5822 WEST: 704-714-4051 www.jacobsladdercharlotte.org

 Variety of assessments  Remedial Education GED provided on-site through CPCC three days a week at both locations Literacy referred out  Job Ready/Soft Skills 4-week, 5 days a week comprehensive course  Job coaching and mentoring through staff and volunteers  Life Skills and Work Ethics training provided by professional volunteers from the Human Resources community and/or Life Coaches Federation  Basic computer training taught twice a week at Myers Park Baptist Church a ndda i l ya tJ a c ob’ sL a dde r West  Computer labs at Myers Park Baptist, Plaza Road s i t ea ndJ a c ob’ sL a dde r West site  Resource room  Professional clothing closet at both locations

Job Training

Refer to training providers

Job Development & Placement

Ongoing recruitment of employers to hire participants

On-s i t e‘ mi ni ’ j obf a i r s Participation in annual

community -sponsored job fairs Quarterly employer events Work Experience fairs and “ J obF i ndi ngDa y s ”i n conjunction with DSS Work First Program

Employment Retention, Support & Advancement

Newly employed

clients followed monthly for up to 6 months of new employment; can work with staff, participate in monthly calls, and/or be assigned a personal volunteer mentor


Employment Assessment & Preparation

JobLink Centers (Overseen by CharlotteMecklenburg Workforce Development Board through contracts with Employment Security Commission (ESC), Goodwill Industries and Charlotte Enterprise Community Target Population: Anyone has access to resource centers at JobLinks; WIA funding only available for eligible dislocated workers and low income job ready adults Five Locations/Contact Information: Albemarles Road JobLink Center 5601 Executive Center Drive, Suite 100 Charlotte, NC 28212 704-566-2870 Monroe Road/Matthews JobLink 10801 Monroe Road, Matthews, NC 28105 704-847-2660 Nations Ford/Arrowood Rd. Center 7140 Forest Point Blvd., Charlotte,NC 28217 704-565-6865 South Boulevard JobLink

 Self assessment software  Adult basic education assessments for WIA eligible customers only  Assessment if eligible for WIA funds for career interest and aptitude  Remedial Education Referrals to others  Job Ready/Soft Skills On-line software in resource centers Workshops Resources in Career Center: books, pamphlets, etc.  Basic computer training for WIA eligible clients  Employment case management for WIA eligible clients

Job Training

Referrals to and payment for hard skills training by others for WIA eligible clients only

Job Development & Placement

Use ESC job developers and use ESC Job Bank

Job fairs Piloting web portal to

Employment Retention, Support & Advancement

30, 60 and 90 day follow-

up of with WIA clients post training; no personal retention support

match employer needs with skills of job seekers

125-A South Boulevard Charlotte, NC 28217

704-527-3195 North Tryon JobLink 4045 North Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28206 704-597-8057 www.joblinkcenter.org

Latin American Coalition Location: 4938 Central Avenue, Suite 101 Charlotte, NC 28205 Contact Information: 704-531-3848 www.latinamericancoalition.org

 Remedial Education

ESL –beginner and intermediate  Job Ready/Soft Skills Weekly Tuesday class on job readiness and employee victimization prevention (2hrs)  Small business class  Basic Computer Class 8 weeks- no certification

Referrals to training providers

Weekly job listings

developed for those who complete Tuesday class

Labor rights program helps

address victims of wage theft recuperate unpaid wages.


Employment Assessment & Preparation

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library Target Population: Available for all job seekers Location: Computer and Job Readiness Workshops at Main Library and other locations. All services at Main Library Job Help Center Contact Information: Main Library Job Help Center 704-416-0500 jobhelpcentercml@gmail.com

Mecklenburg County Senior Center Senior Aids Program (Title V) Target Population: Job seekers over the age of 55 and within 125% of federal poverty guidelines Location: Senior Center, 2225 S. Tyvola Road Charlotte, NC 28210 Contact: 704-817-5466 www.cmseniorcenters.org/Employment.htm

Job Training

Job Development & Placement

Employment Retention, Support & Advancement

 Remedial Education

Offer on-line computer skills, resume prep, and GED prep and testing through Learning Express  Offer computer classes in Spanish Offer monthly computer basics and WORD classes One on one tutoring in computer skills  Job Search Skills Provide assistance for on-line applications and basic computer skills to complete Have a job search blog with job listings and info on local employers Provide mock interview and other interview prep workshops Provide workshops and presentations on job search skill topics Bring Career Cruiser to other library locations  Assessment  Individual service plan  Remedial Education referrals to CPCC/others  Job Readiness/Soft Skills Day long workshops taught twice a month  Basic computer training-4 to 5 weeks Vocational case management Computer lab

Refer to training providers

Place clients in paid, on-

the-job training at public and non-profit organizations

 Use ESC job bank and maintain monthly job listings in binder Short-term job coaching after on-the-job training is completed

Long-term job coaching post employment

 3, 6, 12 + month follow-up  May provide funds for uniforms and other workbased needs


Employment Assessment & Preparation

Me c k l enbur gCount yWomen’ s Commission New Beginnings Program Target Population: Displaced homemakers Location: Hal Marshall Center, 700 North Tryon Street, Charlotte NC 28209 Contact Information: 704-432-6933 www.charmeck.org/mecklenburg/county/ CommunitySupportServices/WomensCommis sion

North Carolina Employment Security Commission (ESC)* Target Population: Unemployed and underemployed citizens of Mecklenburg County Locations and Contact Information: Albemarles Road JobLink Center 5601 Executive Center Drive, Suite 100 Charlotte, NC 28212 704-566-2870 Monroe Road/Matthews JobLink 10801 Monroe Road, Matthews, NC 28105 704-847-2660 Nations Ford/Arrowood Rd. Center 7140 Forest Point Blvd., Charlotte,NC 28217 704-565-6865 www.ncesc.org * One of the main functions of ESC is to administer Unemployment Insurance for North Carolina

 Assessment  Remedial Education Refer to others  Job Ready/Soft Skills Life skills-week long, half-day course taught by CPCC Workshops Job search skills Workplace norms  Basic Computer Training  On-site career exploration through CPCC  Computer Room  Resource Room  Clothing Closet  On-line access to NC Career Resource Network-self assessments, career exploration, job search skills  Veterans job seeker specialists assist veterans in job search

Job Training

Job Development & Placement

Customer service class and

Develops weekly job

Provide training funds

Develops and distributes

certification (one week halfday classes) Provides funds for CNA and medical technical classes at CPCC Referrals to training providers

through Trade Act Assistance Program for eligible workers separated from employment due to impact of U.S. Free Trade Agreement.

board

labor market data

Operates state-wide, on-line job bank-NC JobConnector Conducts job fairs

Employment Retention, Support & Advancement

30, 90 and 120 day follow-up


Employment Assessment & Preparation

North Carolina Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Target Population: Citizens with diagnosed physical, mental and/or developmental disabilities who need assistance in preparing for and obtaining employment and otherwise meet eligibility requirements

 Assessment  Employment plan  Job counselor work

Job Training

Fund training through other service providers

Target Population: Individuals who are looking to grow and advance within their chosen career; individuals looking to change careers; and individuals looking to gain new skills or improve current skills and build knowledge for their professional and personal development. Location: 320 E. 9th Street , Charlotte, NC 28202 (September 2011) Contact Information: 704-687-8900 http://continuinged.uncc.edu/ http://workforce.uncc.edu/

Maintain job bank Job developers recruit Employers for job leads

individually with clients on job readiness skills and preparation and other case management needs

Subsidized wages for internships (up to 3 months)

Placement in supported employment for those with severe mental and/or developmental disabilities

Location: 5501 Executive Center Drive, Suite 101 Charlotte, NC 28212 Contact Information: 704-568-8804 http://www.ncdhhs.gov/dvrs

UNC Charlotte Continuing Education Program

Job Development & Placement

 Academic Advising/Support  Career Advising  Mentorship Program*  Interview Practicum*  Writing Lab*  Resume Development*  Access to University Career Center*

 Computer Training*

*Provided as part of selected certificate programs.

Certificates in: Basic Web Design Business Analysis* Business Process Management EMS Management Institute Fire & Rescue Management Forensic Accounting Human Resources: Advanced* Human Resources: Generalist* Internal Auditing* Learning & Development* Medical Coding* Medical Office Administration Meeting & Event Planning* Organization Development* Paralegal * Project Management* *May lead to state or national certifications Many other classes for professional and personal development.

Maintain job bank for internships, volunteer opportunities, and jobs

Employment Retention, Support & Advancement

90 day follow-up then case

closed if clients stable; otherwise job coach continues to provide support

Ongoing job coaching with supported employment clients Pay for clothes, medical, dental and other short-term costs to maintain employment

6 month follow up CE courses are designed to provide for career growth and advancement

Networking


Urban League of Central Carolinas, Inc. Target Population: Low-income African Americans who are unemployed or underemployed. Serves both adults and youth. Location: 740 W 5th Street Charlotte, NC 28202 Contact Information: 704/373-2256 www.urbanleaguecc.org

Employment Assessment & Preparation  Assessment  Individual service plan

 Remedial Education

Reading and math support  Job Ready/Soft Skills Professional Adult Employment Program (PEP)-8 week (M-F) job ready program Career readiness certification 2-week paid internship  One-on-one counseling as needed  SedDeSaber“ E ng l i s hf or E v e r y one ”Pr og r a mt ohe l p with language issues for Spanish speakers and helps prepare participants for work in construction and hospitality industries  Financial literacy through Wells Fargo  Resource room  Computer room  Clothing closet for men

Job Training

Job Development & Placement

National Certification Training

Job development staff works

in:

Advanced Microsoft training

Broadband and Fiber Optics training

Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

Weatherization and Energy Audit

with various companies in areas of training Networking and job clubs Work experience

Employment Retention, Support & Advancement  6-12 month follow-up  Job coaching as needed  Clothing and other support as needed


Appendix IV: IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Cha r l ot t eMec k l e nbur g ’ sWor k f or c eDev el opmentS ec t ori n2016 I t ’ s2016.I nj us tf i v ey ea r s , t hewor k f or c ede v el opme nts ec t ori nCha r l ot t eMe c k l enbur gha s emerged as a community admired across the nation for its innovation and determination to improve outcomes for low-skilled job seekers in a very difficult economic environment. As we look back to 2011, Charlotte was still recovering from the recession that crippled businesses and propelled the local unemployment rate to as high as 12.2%. It was also the year that marked t hebeg i nni ngofama j ors hi f ti nt hec ommuni t y ’ spubl i ca ndnon-profit workforce development sector and its ability to help the growing number of low-skilled unemployed and underemployed workers re-enter or advance in the workforce. Workers of all skill levels struggled to bounce back from the recession, but those with the least education, skills and experience faced the greatest challenges. Cha r l ot t e’ sor g a ni z a t i onst ha thel ps uc hi ndi v i dua l spr epa r ef ora ndobtain employment were overwhelmed with the demand for assistance. They were serving hundreds of job seekers every month with interview preparation, resume writing, career skills and more—with limited success given market conditions and the complex challenges faced by so many job seekers. Recognizing the need for change, Goodwill Industries, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Workforce Development Board and J a c ob’ sL a dderJ obCent erj oi nt l ya ppl i edf ora ndwer ea wa r dedaCa t a l y s tGr a ntf r omF ounda t i on For The Carolinas in the fall of 2010. With this funding, consultants were hired to complete an assessment of the local workforce development sector, identify sector needs and opportunities for change and convene leaders from sector organizations to launch a collaborative process. After the consultants completed their work in June 2011, a core group of sector leaders stepped upt ot hepl a t e, f oc us i ngt hes ec t or ’ scollective attention on making key fundamental shifts in the way the sector was doing business. The first thing they did was share the study with their boards to gain their commitment for being involved in the change efforts recommended in the study. Then they picked a handful of priorities they believed the sector could realistically accomplish over the next five years and developed a plan of action, including a much needed strategy to coordinate and leverage federal funding streams for workforce development programs. Because of the inherent challenge of having providers with full-time jobs organize and drive a sustained change effort, the group formed work teams guided by talented leaders accountable for specific action items. It also established an open channel of communication across the entire s ec t or .I t ’ sbe enat r a ns pa r entpr oc es sf r omt heout s e t , wi t h many opportunities for the entire sector to plug in along the way.

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As a result of these collaborative efforts, job seekers now have much greater access to information about where to get the employment and training help that best suits their needs. A new on-line web portal has been created that, not only provides information about available employment and training programs and services, but also has an individualized assessment tool that helps job seekers, and those working on their behalf, assess their strengths, basic skill levels and full range of needs related to successful employment. By using this tool, agencies are more effectively triaging clients and guiding them to the most appropriate resources, including support services in the community. The best thing about this assessment tool is that clients only have to fill it out once. I t ’ st r a ns por t a bl e, c ul t ur a l l ys ens i t i v ea ndi ndi v i dua l i z ed. T hes e c t or ’ sc ommi t mentt opr omot i ngsustainable employment for its clients—versus just getting any job—is also beginning to show results. Several non-profits, collaborating with Central Piedmont Community College, have piloted programs designed to help their clients focus on career pathways when preparing for and seeking employment opportunities. Though these clients might start out in entry level positions, they understand these jobs are stepping stones to living wage empl oy ment . T he y ’ v ede v e l opedpl a nst oa dv a nc eov e rt i met hr oug hs hor t -term training and mentoring that help address barriers that stand in their way. The sector continues to watch and learn from these pilot programs and hopes to expand the model in the near future. Pr oba bl yt hebi g g es t“ g a mec ha ng er ”f ort hes ec t orha sbeeni t sa g g r es s i v eef f or tt oengage and build strong partnerships with businesses, particularly those within high-demand industries. This ha sbeent hes e c t or ’ st oppr i or i t y :r es pondi ngt ot hewor k f or c eneedsofbus i ne s s esa ndf i g ur i ng out how the sector can better prepare job seekers to respond to those needs. Bottom line, i t ’ s been about bui l di ngempl oy er s ’ f a i t hi nt hes e c t ort odel i v err el i a bl ewor k e r sa ndc r ea t i ngs ol i d connections to job opportunities for clients. Progress is evident. The Business Leader Network, a business-led organization formed to promote and support the hiring of people with disabilities, has mushroomed in its growth over the last several years, convening and educating employers about the value of hiring people with disabilities and other barriers. The Workforce Development Board has successfully established industry sector partnerships a l i g nedwi t ht her eg i on’ shi g hde ma ndi ndus t r i es .Through these partnerships, businesses, economic development groups, training providers and others now understand their mutual needs and challenges and have developed and published specific career ladders that map out the progression of workplace competencies, skills and earning potential for occupations, from entry level positions on up. With advanced knowledge of the labor market and its needs, the workforce development sector is now much better positioned to offer relevant soft and hard skills trainings that help clients succeed in the job market. The Workforce Development Board has also expanded the web-based employer recruitment tool it piloted in 2010 to match skills of job seekers with the workforce needs of specific companies. Over 40 businesses are now using this database to help recruit new employees; more will be added over the next year.

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While strides have been made to strengthen relationships with the business community, the sector has also been busy working on ways to improve its overall performance. One of the most prudent steps it has taken was to work with the UNC Charlotte Workforce Development Department to establish a t r a i ni ng“ a c a demy ”that provides a progression of learning opportunities for professionals in the local workforce development sector. The training prepares professionals to teach soft skills and other pre-employment needs modeled on best practice curricula, including contextualized learning techniques. It also reinforces the common definitions and standards of excellence adopted by the sector. I nt eg r a t i ngt hes ec ommons t a nda r dsi nt hes ec t or ’ swor kdoes n’ tmea nt ha te v er y onedoest he same thing or teaches in the same way. It means that teaching and coaching of job seekers is grounded in individualized approaches that have been proven to produce the best results. In fact, the Department of Social Services, Charlotte Housing Authority and others who contract with sector organizations have now made it a policy to contract only with agencies whose trainers have compl et ed“ a c a de my ”t r a i ni nga nduse best practice curricula. Needless to say, coming to agreements about definitions and standards was not easy! But it was well worth the effort. In the process of debating the standards, several organizations realized they c oul dn’ tdoe v er y t hi ngwel l a ndwer es pr ea di ngt hems el v est oot hi nl y .T heydec i dedt os pec i a l i z e— to focus on what they do best. This led to their establishing formal agreements (MOUs) with other sector organizations to provide their specialized services to their clients. At first, these partnering organizations hit some bumps in the road in identifying who would get“ c r edi t ”f ort hec l i e nt outcomes, but eventually, they worked out the means to share credit for good outcomes, a ndi t ’ s now working well. Another important step taken by the sector was to promote sector-wide use of the Career Readiness Certificate (CRC). This tool helps job seekers determine their level of job readiness, identify additional training they may need and demonstrate their level of competency with employers. Both job seekers and employers find the CRC a helpful tool. Clearly all t hes eef f or t sha v ea ddedc r edi bi l i t yt ot hes ec t or ’ swor ka nd are continuing to raise the bar for sector organizations. The best part is that when the leadership collaborative, work teams and businesses saw the early benefits of web-based tools, tighter partnerships with employers, adoption of best practices curricula and specialization of providers, new energy emerged to build on those successes with additional initiatives. For example, one of the sector work teams created a coordinated job development system that enables job developers from multiple agencies to i de nt i f y , k eept r a c kofa nds ha r ee mpl oy er s ’ needs. Through this collaboration, businesses have come to rely on job developers as a key r es our c ei nf i l l i ngpos i t i onswi t ht he‘ r i g ht ’ pe opl ea ndr et a i ni ngt ha tt a l ent .

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And recognizing that some of their clients will always be challenged to gain work experience, several organizations have decided their specialty niche will be entrepreneurial in nature—creating innovative ways to provide transitional work experiences for their clients. Through a collaborative effort, these organizations, and a few investors from the community, launched a highly successful “ c ot t a g e ”i ndus t r yt ha tpr ov i deson-the-job paid training for clients. The press has loved reporting on this popular new endeavor. Other social enterprises are in the planning stages, and one sector organization is now specializing in micro-enterprises that build on and showcase the unique and marketable talents of individuals. The leadership collaborative has also recently launched a focus on job retention, capitalizing on the stronger relationships with businesses. As part of this effort, several employers have agreed to work with a small team of sector leaders to help develop and test a job coaching model for lowwage workers they hire and who have been affiliated with sector programs. Through this model, the workers receive both internal and external support from staff and volunteers. The results have been favorable thus far, and more human resource professionals are working with sector organizations to use the model in their places of business. Y e s , Cha r l ot t e’ swor k f or c edev el opments ec t orha sc omeal ongwa yi nf i v ey ea r s .As we look back on its progress and the many challenges it has faced, i t ’ se v i dentt ha tg e t t i ngor g a ni z edea r l y , tapping dedic a t edl e a der s , t a k i ngons ome“ l owha ng i ngf r ui t ”f ors hor t -term wins, investing in resources to stay highly organized and to measure outcomes, cultivating relationships and staying positive are a mongt hek e yl es s onsl ea r ned.I t ’ sa l s oc l ea rt hes ec t or ’ swork is far from complete. But with the strong foundation that has been laid over the last five years, momentum for change— and positive results for job seekers and businesses— continue to build.

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Workforce Development Sector Analysis: Char-Meck  
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