WIA Community Conversations Summary - Workforce Competitiveness

WIA Community Conversations Summary

Workforce Competitiveness

WIA Community Conversations | Other WIA Community Conversations Summaries


Workforce Competitiveness Questions

  • What have been the greatest successes your systems have experienced in putting adult learners on a path to jobs in high growth sectors?
  • How can WIA reauthorization promote better alignment between adult education and workforce development? What types of innovative approaches might work?
  • What are your hopes for WIA reauthorization?


Summary

Question 1: What have been the greatest success your systems have experienced in putting adult learners on a path to jobs in high growth sectors?

  • A major point among multiple contributors to the discussion was that the amount of cooperation/coordination/collaboration among all service providers within a community (adult educators, WIBs, social services) working together on each others committees
    was thought to be a success in itself that led to greater success in the whole program. 
  • Programs that feature shadowing, mentoring, interning on the job for adult learners have the most success.
  • Research into employers needs in a specific industry, collaboration with employers on their specific needs should be used to guide the development of the program.
  • Use of WIA funding to leverage additional supportive services for adults in health care sector training.
  • Career exploration classes visit the city’s employers and employees to discover how work is produced, how services are provided, how fields work, how corporations compare. This is combined simultaneously with language and literacy.

Questions 2 & 3: How can WIA reauthorization promote better alignment between adult education and workforce development? What types of innovative approaches might work?

  • Need for integrated, contextualized learning: using job related materials to learn basic skills.
  • Many comments about needing more supports for adult learners, such as released work time, child care, transportation, onsite work instruction.
  • Need identified to streamline and simplify the service entry for participants and identify training needs at entry, based on local employer needs and adult learner goals.
  • Several made the suggestion that WIA provide incentives (subsidies) for small businesses and larger employers also to provide on-the-job training.
  • Workers with multiple barriers to employment need more time to succeed.
  • There should be transitional money to supplement the wages for beginning employees to entice employers to take a chance on them.
  • Online and hybrid instruction should be utilized.  WIB guidelines need to be synchronized with this usage.
  • Provide professional development for adult education and workforce professionals on model programs, modeling collaboration.  WIA should require this professional development for all who receive money in advance of receiving their funds.
  • Provide funds for corporate employees to take sabbaticals in adult education.

Question 4: What are your hopes for WIA reauthorization?

  • Strong support from this discussion for better national collaboration and coordination between the agencies involved: more holistic approach between Title 1 and Title 2.
  • Many comments about the need for more/sufficient funding to meet the need of low literacy/low skilled employed and unemployed adults. Some WIA guidelines are too stringent for adults at the lowest levels with many other responsibilities.  Need to take adult
    limitations into account, provide more funding for support services (transportation, guidance, child care, etc.)
  • Expressed need that funding be provided to make adult education a full-time position with benefits.
  • Multiple comments about the need for professional development for adult educators in work settings and workforce personnel on adult education needs.
  • Lots of comments about how the WIA needs to provide more time and funding for the lowest skilled adults, those hardest to employ, who come with multiple barriers to obtaining and holding a job.
  • Need to place more emphasis on broader, transferrable skills, lifelong learning, soft skills, basic skills.
  • WIA needs to be based on deliberate, insightful practices, the best practices, standards, values, and research that has been identified.  WIA should be based on what we already know to be those best practices.
  • Ways to expand how student progress can be evaluated need to be developed. Current measures make it difficult to provide services for the lowest levels of adult learners because of limits on how progress can be shown.  Additional measures might include
    GED, citizenship, civic participation, parenting, other interim goals.
  • WIA funded job centers should have GED attainment as part of their accountability measurement.
  • WIA funds should be allowed to cover driver training since driving is necessary and/or useful for so many jobs.
  • WIA should provide accessible bridge opportunities that connect education with job training, especially important to bridge various disabilities.
  • Funding beens to be better allocated.  Too much currently goes to labor and industry and not enough to basic education.

Other related comments made:

There is a need for English Language Learner instructional materials using the vocabulary of the various work sectors.