Amid keen interest in helping students, young adults, and low-wage workers build the skills necessary to succeed in a technologically advanced economy, MDRC is studying a range of programs that feature employer involvement, such as career pathways from high school into college and the workforce, work-based learning, apprenticeships, and sectoral training.
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.
This brief highlights key findings from the implementation of the TechHire and Strengthening Working Families Initiative (SWFI) programs and offers considerations for practitioners involved in planning or implementing similar programs. The programs provided training for high-tech jobs as well as support services to people with barriers to training and employment.
This report from Westat and MDRC focuses on the implementation and short-term impacts of TechHire and the Strengthening Working Families Initiative, two programs that make training in high-demand industries more accessible to individuals who experience barriers to training and employment.
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.
A Partnership Between Child Support Agencies and Local Service Providers
The Families Forward Demonstration examined strategies to help parents with low and middle incomes make reliable child support payments by increasing employment and earnings. The model, which emphasized free occupational training activities, shows promise for helping parents qualify for jobs in their chosen fields and for improving child support compliance.
When Washington state’s Division of Child Support closed its offices in March 2020 in response to COVID-19, its employment program—Families Forward Washington—kept running with minimal interruption, because the original design was based on working remotely. Its model may offer useful pointers for other service agencies for adapting to the pandemic.
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.