In this commentary originally published by WorkShift, Deondre’ Jones describes how the WorkAdvance initiative helped reduce racial employment disparities for Black and Latino adults. He also explains important components that program providers may want to include to better support participants of color.
Sectoral strategies train people for industries with strong local demand. This report summarizes the Year 7 findings of an evaluation of WorkAdvance, a sectoral training initiative launched in 2011. Overall, the results show that sector programs can increase earnings in the longer term and can lead to career advancement gains.
Implications for Research and Evaluation to Inform Programs Serving Low-Income Populations
This paper discusses several ongoing trends in the labor market and their potential effects on the nature of work over the next 10 to 15 years for low-income populations. The trends are used to highlight potential questions to inform research and evaluation agendas on this topic.
A Toolkit for SNAP E&T Programs
This toolkit offers state Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) agencies a systematic approach—with accompanying examples and worksheets—for employing human-centered design and behavioral science to address problems that may be limiting engagement and participation in SNAP Employment and Training programs.
Unemployed or underemployed parents have trouble paying child support. In the Families Forward Demonstration, child support agencies sought to help parents get better jobs and increase their earnings by teaching job skills needed by local employers. The questions arising from the project may help other agencies evaluate prospective job training partners.
Meeting the Needs of Workers and Employers
Low-wage workers have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, experiencing greater levels of unemployment than their higher-wage-earning peers. Training programs that focus on moving workers into skilled jobs in industries with strong local demand could reposition them for 21st-century success.
A Synthesis of Findings on Sector Strategies
Job seekers with low incomes face numerous hurdles to finding and keeping high-quality jobs. Sector strategies address those hurdles by matching job seekers with skills training for specific industries or occupations where there is a growing demand. This review examines a cross-section of strategies, highlighting successes and areas for improvement.
An Interview with Karen Pennington and Dawn Slinkard
Tulsa Community WorkAdvance is a sector-based training and career advancement program that prepares people for jobs in the health care field. Executive Director Karen Pennington talks about the impact of COVID-19 on operations and future opportunities in health care, and graduate Dawn Slinkard describes her experience in the program.
Next Steps for Research
The paper summarizes past and ongoing research, identifies gaps in knowledge, and presents four categories of potential questions to help define future research in employment and training programs serving low-income people.
Costs, Benefits, and Impacts from the WorkAdvance Demonstration
WorkAdvance goes beyond the previous generation of employment programs, concentrating on demand-driven skills training and identifiable career pathways. Findings show the approach increased earnings and led to advancement gains over time at the most successful study sites. One program, Per Scholas, boosted earnings by 20 percent in the last year of follow-up.