Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel: Demand Driven Training Programs for Low Wage Workers
(Employment and Training Programs)

Thursday, November 12, 2015: 1:45 PM-3:15 PM
Orchid B (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  Richard Hendra, MDRC
Panel Chairs:  Sinead Keegan, NYC Center for Economic Opportunity
Discussants:  Stephen Bell, Abt Associates

Running a Demand Driven Program, a Practitioner Perspective
Angie Kamath, Per Scholas Institute of Technology

In recent years, the workforce development field has refocused on skills development as a key to upward mobility. Two related but slightly different models of skill based advancement have emerged. The first approach emphasizes a sectoral approach to training which involves employers heavily in programming so as to create a pipeline from training into work. The second approach emphasizes the development of career pathways involving sequential coordinated training and other employment services that leads to advancement. The two approaches are both demand driven and both focus on specific industries or sectors. They are also complementary: the sectoral approach can be considered one step in a career pathway. The proposed panel would focus on two key exemplers of these approaches: WorkAdvance and the Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) project. WorkAdvance is one of five evidence-based programs being replicated by the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and the Center for Economic Opportunity and partners with support from the Corporation for National and Community Service’s Social Innovation Fund. WorkAdvance helps participants prepare for and enter quality jobs in selected sectors with opportunities for career growth. Once placed, participants are provided further assistance to guide them on a path .of career advancement. The WorkAdvance impact analysis will eventually provide the first rigorous evidence of whether the promising results from the P/PV Sector Impacts Study replicate for different providers and different economic conditions. The Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) project, is a ten-year effort funded by the Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and led by Abt Associates Inc. PACE is a rigorous evaluation of next-generation strategies for increasing the economic self-sufficiency of low-income individuals and families. A promising approach tested as part of PACE has been the development of career pathways programs that combine academic, occupational, and life skills training; financial and supportive services; and well-defined links to employment opportunities A strength of the panel will be the analysis of these programs from three different perspectives. In the first paper, Richard Hendra from MDRC will present the implementation, participation, and cost results from the WorkAdvance study. The second paper will take an in-depth qualitative perspective on how women in the PACE study approach training and work while trying to balance family responsibilities. In that paper, Kristin Seedfeldt, from the University of Michigan will present the results from over 100 in-depth interviews with participants to obtain their insights about their chosen career pathways, their assessments of their ability to achieve their goals, and concerns about difficulties they might encounter. The third paper will provide the practitioner perspective on running demand driven training programs. In that paper, Angie Kamath, Executive director of the Per Scholas Institute of Technology in New York will discuss how Per Scholas engages employer partners and how to create strong ‘value add’ employer relationships. She will also discuss the Per Scholas approach to labor market advancement.
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