Giving Compass' Take:

• MDRC discusses the model of WorkAdvance, a sector-based development program that helps fill middle-skill jobs by providing workforce training for candidates. 

• How will program models such as this be effective in rural areas that suffer from brain drain as well as lower job growth? 

• Read the Giving Compass Workforce Development guide for donors. 

In today’s polarized labor market, there is a critical need to identify middle-skill jobs that pay good wages with benefits. WorkAdvance, a sectoral-focused advancement program, is designed to find and fill such jobs, serving workers and employers alike. For unemployed and low-wage working adults, the program provides work training in targeted sectors that have good-quality job openings and opportunities for upward mobility.

For employers in those sectors, WorkAdvance identifies and trains workers who are prepared to meet technical skill and work readiness expectations and grow into second and third jobs.

The WorkAdvance model combines elements of sector-based initiatives with post-employment retention and advancement support.

It has five components:

  • Intensive screening of program applicants for motivation and readiness
    Sector-appropriate pre-employment and career readiness services, including orientation to the sector and career advancement coaching
  • Sector-specific occupational skills training aligned with employer needs and leading to certifications
    that are in demand in the regional labor market
  • Sector-specific job development and placement services based on strong relationships with
  • Postemployment retention and advancement services, including ongoing contact, coaching,
    skills training, and rapid reemployment help if needed

This brief draws out some of the main implementation lessons for the benefit of organizations and partnerships that aim to
build on the best of sector-based training and post-employment retention and advancement support.

Read the full article about work training opportunities at MDRC