MDRC in the News

WorkAdvance Puts Low-Wage Workers on Path to Higher Pay

The Plain Dealer


CLEVELAND, Ohio - If Northeast Ohio had a cohesive network of agencies collaborating to provide job training and other services to low-wage workers, fewer workers would potentially be stuck in dead-end jobs, says a recent report about a local workforce development program.

Comprehensive job coaching is also essential to giving these workers a chance at career advancement, according to the report on WorkAdvance. Northeast Ohio was one of four sites nationally that participated in the five-year workforce demonstration project, which sought to improve the status of low-skilled job seekers by offering them an array of programs and services aimed at preparing them for in-demand entry-level jobs that offered the chance for advancement. The WorkAdvance program in Northeast Ohio, which began in 2011, focused on health care and manufacturing jobs…..

…..Marvin Ambers, who completed CNC operator training through WorkAdvance in March 2013, now works as a fabricator. As an ex-offender, he had believed a career path, which offered the potential for a good-paying job, was shut off to him. Before becoming part of the program, Ambers said he could only find low-paying temporary jobs after serving an eight-year sentence for aggravated robbery…..

…..”There were real one-on-one checkups,” he said. “There was one-on-one help with interviews – what to do and what not to do. They gave guys like me confidence to go in and not worry about my past”…..

…..MDRC, a social policy research firm, based in New York spearheaded WorkAdvance, whose test sites also included two in New York and one in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Rizika said the issue of lower wages was more of a problem in Northeast Ohio than at the other sites. Some of the sites focused on other industries, such as information technology, that tend to be higher paying…..

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