Panel: Recent Evidence on Sector Strategies and Career Pathways Programs: Implications for Implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
(Employment and Training Programs)

Saturday, November 4, 2017: 1:45 PM-3:15 PM
Soldier Field (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  Hannah Betesh, Social Policy Research Associates
Panel Chairs:  Theresa Anderson, Urban Institute
Discussants:  Thomas Hooper, Jobs for the Future

Designing and Implementing Sector-Specific Career Pathways Programming: Impacts from the Accelerated Training for Illinois Manufacturing (ATIM) Evaluation
Hannah Betesh1, Hui Kim2, Debbie Kogan1, Rachel Lindy1 and Anne Paprocki1, (1)Social Policy Research Associates, (2)San Mateo County Office of Education

Long Run Impacts from the WorkAdvance Demonstration
Richard Hendra and Kelsey Schaberg, MDRC

New Evidence on Integrated Career Pathways: Final Impact Findings for Accelerating Opportunity
Theresa Anderson1, Daniel Kuehn1, Lauren Eyster1, Burt S. Barnow2 and Robert I. Lerman1, (1)Urban Institute, (2)George Washington University

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which guides the funding, structure and oversight of the public workforce system, calls for greater investment in sector strategies and career pathways initiatives.  These models offer a critical response to two key needs in the labor market.  First, because jobseekers have diverse education and workplace experience, they need individualized training plans; unemployed jobseekers in particular need a training plan leading to rapid employment, along with coaching and supportive services to minimize barriers to completion of training. Second, employers need dependable workers who have or can learn skills needed on the job and then advance over time to replace skilled workers who are nearing or at retirement age.  Both of these needs can be met simultaneously by sectoral strategies training programs built on a career pathways model.

But what approaches have been shown to be effective for operationalizing these concepts and implementing local programs to engage employers in curriculum design and successfully train and place workers using accelerated, stackable or open-entry/exit programs to fill openings in locally in-demand industries? This panel combines four presentations of new evaluation research that shed critical light on this question. The first paper presents findings from an impact study of an accelerated career pathways training program in the advanced manufacturing sector in five regions in Illinois, funded by the Department of Labor’s Workforce Innovation Fund.   The second paper examines impacts of six local sectoral training programs in Ohio and Wisconsin, affiliated with the National Fund for Workforce Solutions/Jobs for the Future and funded by the Social Innovation Fund and private funders. The third paper examines the long run follow-up impacts from WorkAdvance, a sector-based job training, placement, and advancement program in four cities, also funded by the Social Innovation Fund. The fourth paper present findings from a quasi-experimental impact evaluation of Accelerating Opportunity, a career pathways initiative to train low-skilled adults for high-wage, high-demand industries in Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky and Louisiana. Taken together, these four dispatches from the field on what works in career pathways and sector strategies programming can inform robust implementation of WIOA at the local level to improve jobseeker outcomes, employer engagement and regional economic vitality.

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