WorkAdvance Shows Positive Results in Pilot Program
As participants in the national WorkAdvance program, Northeast Ohio, along with Tulsa, Oklahoma and two sites in New York, learned first-hand how an aligned, coordinated workforce system can create real results for a community. The five-year pilot program focused on low-skilled job seekers, providing them with a variety of job training and services designed to prepare them for in-demand jobs that offer the opportunity for advancement. Ultimately, the program illustrated that workforce services can be delivered more effectively, causing community leaders to think more holistically about how workforce programs should be executed to create the maximum impact.
Initiated in 2011 in Northeast Ohio, WorkAdvance focused on health care and manufacturing jobs, two industries with great opportunity for local workers. The program was supported locally by the Fund for Our Economic Future, with Towards Employment serving as the project coordinator. Nationally, WorkAdvance evaluated the outcomes of more than 2,500 individuals; Northeast Ohio’s sample focused on nearly 700. Of the 700 that Northeast Ohio’s program followed, half received WorkAdvance programs and services and the other half did not.
Participants in WorkAdvance were given access to things like job readiness programs, placement services and job coaching after they landed a job. While these kinds of services are widespread throughout the region, WorkAdvance showed that many job seekers are not aware of them or simply do not know how to access them in a comprehensive way. WorkAdvance helped remove these common barriers that often make navigating the region’s workforce system challenging and to many, inaccessible. In essence, WorkAdvance served as a one-stop resource for job seekers, coordinating with several local partners to provide a seamless process for participants.
Over a five-year span, the WorkAdvance model proved that it can have a positive impact on a community, as the below results illustrate:
- Participants in the WorkAdvance program saw a 14 percent increase in earnings, or about $3,000 a year
- Of the 450 individuals placed in jobs, 220 have advanced
- Those that advanced saw a 25% wage increase on average
- Compared to the control group, the Northeast Ohio program group was:
- 1.5 times as likely to receive career readiness services
- Nearly 4 times as likely to receive occupational skills training, and more than 4 times as likely to complete such a program
- 2 times as likely to receive job search assistance
- Nearly 3 times as likely to receive post-employment coaching
Applying the WorkAdvance Model
As the pilot program proved successful in Northeast Ohio and at the other test sites, community leaders will look for ways to potentially expand the program to job seekers across Northeast Ohio. Many believe this is an achievable goal as area agencies focus on ways to better collaborate. Given the breadth of organizations with a stake in workforce-related issues, the WorkAdvance model shows that Northeast Ohio has a solid framework in place; now it is a matter of coordination and enhanced alignment to make the sure the system is working like it should – for everyone.
To learn more about the WorkAdvance program, please click here.