How can Service Coordinators work with employers and education and training programs?
Understanding the local employment landscape is one of the most important ways a Service Coordinator can assist residents in training for and obtaining meaningful work. This means Service Coordinators should identify:
- Local trends in employment;
- New or incoming employers to the area;
- Local employers that issue regular notices for job openings; and
- Training programs that meet the needs of local employers.
Where to obtain employment information
These kinds of organizations can help Service Coordinators understand the employment landscape:
- City or municipal Office of Economic Development;
- Workforce Development Boards, which are affiliated with the U.S. Department of Labor and oversee American Job Centers, and provide job search assistance and training (find a list of local Workforce Development Boards or American Job Centers);
- Local Chambers of Commerce, which offer connections to area businesses and employers; and
- Local newspapers and industry sector publications.
Matching training to employment opportunities
Good workforce education programs provide targeted training and services to ensure clients have the skills and ongoing support they need to succeed (see Working with Residents, in this guide for more on motivational coaching). Effective employment programs ensure jobs await residents after they complete these job training programs. Sources of training programs include:
- Technical and community colleges, which may offer apprenticeship programs, adult literacy programs and other skills training;
- Local chapters of national charitable organizations, such as the United Way and Goodwill, which provide classroom and online trainings; and
- Include local employers, community colleges, and local workforce organizations (see below).
Establishing relationships with employers and workforce training programs
The ROSS PCC can help cultivate relationships between local employers and workforce training organizations. However, ROSS Service Coordinators can do more to strengthen ties to these and other organizations. Strategies include:
- Outreach to human resources divisions of new employers;
- Visits to employers, job training organizations and apprenticeship programs to gain insights into existing programs, emerging trends in the local labor market, and specific employment needs; and
- Approaching local employers about creating training programs for public housing residents that meet their specific needs. This could generate an employment pipeline – a win-win for everyone! See the section below on Career Pathways for more information.
What is the Career Pathways framework?
The Career Pathways framework typically prepares people for “middle-skill” jobs that require a high school diploma but not much more (other than specialized training). This training model prepares people for entry-level positions which can lead, with additional training, to higher-paying opportunities in the same or similar sector. Chapter 4 of the HUD Guidebook, Administering an Effective Family Self-Sufficiency Program: A Guidebook Based on Evidence and Promising Practices delves more deeply into this concept.
Career Pathways have four main components:
Career Pathways joint letter
A joint letter signed by 12 federal agencies, including HUD, affirms the benefits of a career pathways approach and links to additional resources.
- Sectoral training – Tailored trainings focus on careers within an industry sector usually tied to a large local employer;
- Contextualized and/or accelerated basic skills instruction – Instruction in basic skills (e.g., math, English as a second language) grounded in the language or needs for a specific occupation or industry, and taught at an accelerated pace to reduce completion time;
- Structured pathways – Clearly defined and structured course loads tied to a specific sector. These limit choice and make it easier to navigate and complete the required coursework, with multiple entry and exit points as students advance in their careers; and
- Enhanced advising – Intensive and ongoing academic and career advising. Advisors have relatively small caseloads compared with other job training programs, allowing them to spend more time with each student.
Webinar: Using Career Pathways for ROSS grantees
This webinar provides an overview of Career Pathways models. Topics covered include strategies grantees can use to identify potential partners and establishing and maintaining effective partnerships. Speakers from the King County, WA Housing Authority and Neighborhood House, a nonprofit social service agency, share insights from their longstanding partnerships to provide employment, education, and training services to public housing residents.
In addition to reviewing Chapter 4 of Administering an Effective Family Self-Sufficiency Program: A Guidebook Based on Evidence and Promising Practices, Service Coordinators interested in Career Pathways may wish to read Appendix 7.2 of that same guidebook.