Workforce Development

Strategies that prepare individuals for good-paying jobs and career pathways that align with industry development can help more individuals escape poverty.

  • Partner with local employers to develop training programs that equip workers with the skills needed by industry now and in the future.
  • Reduce barriers to training and employment by incorporating wraparound support services into training programs.
  • Adopt non-traditional educational models, such as online training, to expand job opportunities for diverse populations.
  • Why This Strategy Matters

    For training programs to successfully lead trainees to rewarding careers, trainers need to know the workforce needs of local employers. Insights from residents show how trainees can have difficulty finding good-paying jobs that apply the skills they acquired from local training programs. By consulting with employers about hiring demands and collaborating on training program development, workforce trainers can equip trainees with the skills employers need so they can fill jobs that are in demand. With advances in technology rapidly evolving workforce needs, continual conversations between training providers and employers are essential to ensure training programs are effective, and that local employers have a strong pipeline of qualified workers.

  • Potential Action Steps

    Ensure that new or expanding companies benefit the community, by pursuing strategies like hiring from the local workforce, or partnering with school districts for internships and apprenticeships.

    Strengthen pipelines in regional target sectors, like advanced manufacturing, by implementing programs that engage youth, such as Dream It Do It and P-TECH.

    Partner with local employers to share facilities and equipment to give trainees the hands-on experience needed in the workplace.

    Collaborate with other training providers and employers to pool financial and other resources and enhance training programs.

    Focus on industries and employers positioned for regional growth in need of a more talented and extensive labor pool.

    Team up with local colleges and universities to share resources, facilities, and best practices.

  • Potential Actors in the Community

    Public school districts
    Colleges and universities
    Workforce development organizations
    Business community and industry organizations
    NYS Department of Labor and other government agencies
    Economic and community development organizations

Models to Consider

  • Northland Workforce Training Center

    Buffalo, NY

    The Northland Workforce Training Center aims to reduce barriers that prohibit students from enrolling in and completing post secondary education, through wraparound services addressing transportation, childcare, academic readiness, and affordability. The center provides for-credit education with partial or full financial assistance for those who need it. Anyone unable to pass the academic tests the program requires can go through Northland's free remedial learning program. Accepted applicants demonstrating a 10th grade literacy and numeracy score are assigned a career coach who works with the student to form an Individualized Employment Plan. Career coaches and placement specialists work with students throughout their journey from training to employment, providing support for alumni up to three years after being hired full time. The center operates as a public-private partnership between employers, educational institutions, community and faith-based organizations and state and local government. Funding for the training center was provided through the State of New York, through Governor Andrew Cuomo's Buffalo Billion initiative.

    northlandwtc.org
  • BEGREEN P-TECH

    Buffalo and Alfred, NY

    The P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High School) Program is a collaborative educational model that has been implemented in many regions across the nation with the goal of getting more young students interested in good paying, entry-level jobs in high growth fields in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). In Buffalo, McKinley High School’s Buffalo Employment Green and Renewable Energy Education Network (BEGREEN) P-TECH program prepares students for jobs in green construction with a focus on carpentry, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC. Through BEGREEN, students earn a high school diploma along with a no-cost, two-year college degree in occupational studies from Alfred State by taking college-level courses. Students can also explore green careers through company tours, mentors, paid internships and other hands-on experiences. In past years, students toured places like KeyBank Center and National Grid's control center to learn first-hand from industry professionals about their job responsibilities and corporate sustainability. The program was funded through a seven-year NYS P-Tech grant that began in 2014.

    buffaloschools.org
  • TechHire

    Pittsburgh, PA

    Established in 2015, TechHire Pittsburgh is a multi-prong collaborative strategy for growing talent to support the region’s high-tech industry while also creating career pathways into good-paying, mid-skill jobs that do not require a four-year degree. The program addresses an identified supply-demand mismatch for tech jobs, and focuses on training for career pathways in high demand sectors. TechHire expands training opportunities for marginalized youth, the unemployed and underemployed adults. Training is short term and employer led, through public-private collaboration. Partners include the dozens of employers, higher education institutions, philanthropic foundations, the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, and the Workforce Investment Board. TechHire Pittsburgh is an initiative of Partner4Work, The Workforce Development Board for the Pittsburgh Area.

    partner4work.org
  • Why This Strategy Matters

    Many students in training programs require additional support to achieve successful outcomes. Single parents looking to enhance job opportunities need child care, which is often cost prohibitive. Many need transportation to get to training and job opportunities. Some need help transitioning into careers after being homeless or incarcerated. Many others need soft skills development, job placement, literacy training, counseling, and other assistance. Without support services to address these issues, trainees are more likely to drop out of programs or lose their jobs. But insights from providers suggest not enough trainers in the region provide such wraparound services. Offering comprehensive support services can enable more students to succeed in training and in their future careers.

  • Potential Action Steps

    Partner with transportation providers or volunteers to provide or help pay for transportation for those without a personal vehicle or with mobility challenges.

    Provide support or counseling services for students and trainees dealing with addiction, or other mental health issues.

    Offer parents in workforce training programs assistance to help them find, finance, and utilize childcare.

    Provide individual academic advisement and case management to learn each individual's unique challenges and address their needs for training and support services.

    Deliver training for soft skills, such as in time management, resume writing, financial literacy, and preparation for job interviews.

  • Potential Actors in the Community

    Public school districts
    Colleges and universities
    Workforce development organizations
    Business community and industry organizations
    NYS Department of Labor and other government agencies
    Economic and community development organizations

Models to Consider

  • Lyft Jobs Access Program

    Nationwide

    Lyft's Job Access Program aims to improve job access for disadvantaged populations by partnering with local partners as well as national partners—including Goodwill, United Way, and Year Up—in cities across the country to provide low-income job-seekers with free rides to and from job interviews and job training. The program will also provide free rides to those who have secured a job for the first three weeks of work or until they receive their first paycheck. This program is part of Lyft's commitment to invest $50 million (or 1% of its profits, whichever is greater) each year back into the communities it serves, a commitment the company made when it became a publically traded company in Spring 2019. Lyft users can also donate directly to the program by rounding up the fare of their Lyft rides.

    lyft.com
  • Jeremiah Program

    Minneapolis, MN and various locations across the U.S.

    Over the last 20 years, Minneapolis-based Jeremiah Program has improved the lives of 3,600 single mothers and their children through a holistic approach that supports women through a career-track college education. The organization has campuses in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Rochester, MN, as well as Austin, TX, Fargo, ND, Boston, MA, and New York City. Low income single mothers enter the program with the determination to better both their own and their children's lives by pursuing a college education. Jeremiah Program provides these mothers and children with safe, affordable housing, quality early childhood education and childcare, and life skills training in financial literacy, physical and emotional health, and positive parenting. This strategy cuts the cycle of poverty short by supporting the long-term financial well-being of single mothers, improving education, health, and financial outcomes of their children in the process. Jeremiah Program graduates show increases in income, a decreased reliance on social assistance programs, and improved educational outcomes for their children. Jeremiah Program is funded primarily through grants and contributions, in addition to events, investments, rental income, child care services, and other support.

    jeremiahprogram.org
  • Homeboy Industries

    Los Angeles, CA

    Through training and wraparound services, Homeboy Industries offers former gang members who were previously incarcerated skill development and employment opportunities while meeting workforce needs of the emerging solar industry and social enterprises. Programs focus on training for solar panel installation jobs and employment in social enterprises. Training covers both soft skills and technical skills, and includes wraparound services such as driver's license reinstatement, legal aid, debt counseling, mental health services, and free courses. Homeboy Industries is a non-profit that has grown over the last 30 years into a nearly $20 million organization. In the next five years, they aim to double in size to potentially assist 500 previously incarcerated men and women. Their $19.6 million 2018 revenue came from government funds, events, foundation and corporation support, individual donations, and social enterprises.

    homeboyindustries.org
  • Why This Strategy Matters

    There are thousands of individuals across the region who are underemployed, unemployed, or could benefit from additional training to enhance job opportunities and further their career. This includes over 33,000 people who have a job but still live in poverty. However, many of these individuals do not have the money, time, or experience needed to enroll in traditional college or training programs. Insights from providers also show that many employed people looking to advance their careers do not qualify for financial assistance for training. Online training programs, proactive outreach and financial assistance to workers with potential for upskilling, or mobile services that bring training options to communities in need, can help more people find good-paying jobs.

  • Potential Action Steps

    Target training programs to key populations, such as youth and young adults, workers living in or near poverty, or workers in industry sectors in need of upskilling.

    Collaborate with colleges and universities to develop effective training programs and expand career pathways.

    Provide financial assistance, and reduce tuition costs, to increase enrollment in training programs among those with the greatest need of upskilling and career advancement.

    Promote digital literacy and broadband availability to increase the capacity for online training programs.

    Increase enrollment in innovative, low-cost training programs through proactive outreach, marketing, and advertising.

  • Potential Actors in the Community

    Public school districts
    Colleges and universities
    Workforce development organizations
    Business community and industry organizations
    NYS Department of Labor and other government agencies
    Economic and community development organizations

Models to Consider

  • Mobile Career Center

    Mobile Career Center

    Florida

    The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity's Mobile Career Center provides a wide range of employment services that can travel directly to communities with workforce needs. The Mobile Career Center is a bus that has multiple computers where participants can receive training through tutorials, take certification exams, search for jobs, file for public assistance programs, and consult with training experts. The Mobile Career Center targets populations in need by traveling to rural communities, schools, job fairs, trade shows, senior centers, and hiring events hosted by public groups and private employers. The program also targets military members re-entering the workforce. The Mobile Career Center is seen as an effective resource to promote workforce participation and training. At one hiring event with 300 total in attendance, 70 entered the Mobile Career Center and nearly 25 were hired that day.

    floridajobs.org
  • Gerard Place

    Buffalo, NY

    Gerard Place provides transitional housing and supportive services, such as life skills classes and counseling, to homeless, single-parent families. Since opening in 2000, Gerard Place has been extremely successful; over 90% of the families it has served have since moved into independent housing and have not returned to homelessness. One reason it has been so successful is its After Care Program, which continues to support families once they leave Gerard Place for up to six months to address any transitional issues.
    Gerard Place also recently opened a new community center to provide services to the broader Bailey-Delavan neighborhood. The community center includes a mobile food pantry, a dining hall which serves a free hot meal two nights a week, and the Buffalo Promise Neighborhood Early Childhood Academy, which will ensure access to high-quality, affordable childcare for 100 children each year. The community center also offers adult education classes so residents can take part in a tuition-free literacy/high school equivalency (HSE) program or receive training as a certified nursing assistant (CNA), home health aide (HHA), licensed practice nurse (LPN), or in the culinary arts.

    gerardplace.org

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