Workforce development organizations are typically nonprofit organizations whose explicit mission is to provide job training for underemployed and unemployed community members. These organizations exist within self-sustaining private organizations, within nonprofit entities, within churches, within correctional facilities, within city and/or community colleges, within juvenile detention centers, within substance abuse treatment facilities, and within mental health service organizations.
Recruitment efforts vary regionally and from program to program. Some organizations provide holistic services that transportation, healthcare, counseling, and meals. Other programs provide academic, life skills, or technical training only. Some organizations develop partnerships with other agencies to provide supplemental services, while others rely solely on internal staff to establish and accomplish training goals. Workforce development can include transitional jobs and vocational job training. The most successful programs address clients’ psycho-social, academic, and economic needs.
Recommendations for Service Providers
Workforce development organizations can experience greater success by measuring the impact of training and curriculum, ensuring that the target industry is clearly defined, and identifying training objectives before instruction begins. Organizations can create “train-the-trainer” programs in which experienced professionals provide resources and strategies that more novice trainers can implement. At the local level, service providers can partner up with other training programs to build allegiances, to benefit from each other’s organizational strengths, and to assist the other in areas that need improvement (Israel, 2011).
Program administrators should create multiple layers of evaluation and accountability. To the extent possible, clients should have ongoing opportunities to evaluate the program’s effectiveness, to make recommendations for future training goals, and to evaluate trainers’ effectiveness with respect to classroom management, content knowledge, and teaching style. Periodically, alumni should be invited back to discuss their professional success, to explain industry-related challenges, and to offer suggestions for improvement.
Designated staff should oversee funds development and should conduct ongoing research. They should investigate trends in relevant industries, should establish connections with local employers, and should identify strategies for future capacity building.
Service providers can establish or seek counsel from a consortium. There should be opportunities for trainers to learn with and from other workforce development trainers through national conferences, seminars, and workshops; and there should be internal opportunities for trainers to co-teach and team-teach with trainers on-site. When different organizations address similar training populations within a small region, administrators should combine resources to provide recruitment assistance, to meet target training goals, and to provide holistic services. This might also provide relief in areas where either organization’s operating budget is extremely limited. By employing these recommendations, service providers will have increased success meeting training objectives and providing quality services for training participants. Students and staff will take a more active role in ensuring program success.