From the Field

From the Field

From the Field is a hub where members can turn to learn from and be inspired by innovations being implemented in other states and localities across the nation. The repository will contain brief descriptions of innovative, promising programs and practices, and information on how members can learn more and connect with the states and counties implementing them. 

 

Keyword

A

 

B

Brain Science (Neuroscience, Executive/Cognitive Functioning, Behavioral Economics), see Areas for Innovation Series: Utilizing Our Understandings of Brain Science to Strengthen Workforce Engagement

 

C

Career Pathways

Criminal Background

 

D

Disabilities, Workers with

 

E

Economic & Community Development

Education & Training

Employers, Engaging

 

F

Financial Empowerment

 

G

Green Jobs/Industries

 

H

Hard-to-Employ

Housing

 

I

 

J

 

K

 

L

 

M

Microenterprise, see Areas for Innovation: Microenterprise as a Path to Self-Sufficiency

Minority Workers

 

N

Non-Custodial Parents, see Areas for Innovation Series: Whole Family Approach

 

O

 

P

Place-conscious/Place-based Approach, see Areas for Innovation Series: Place-Conscious Approach to Workforce Engagement

 

Q

 

R

 

S

Sector-Based Strategies, see Areas for Innovation Series: Leveraging Job & Industry Growth

Social Enterprise

Subsidized Employment

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program- Employment & Training (SNAP E&T)

 

T

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Work Programs

Transitional Jobs

Two-Generation Approach, see Areas for Innovation Series: Whole Family Approach

 

U

 

V

 

W

Whole Family Approach, see Areas for Innovation Series: Whole Family Approach

Women

 

X

 

Y

Youth and Young Adults

 

Z

 

Innovations

A

 

B

Brain Science (Neuroscience, Executive/Cognitive Functioning, Behavioral Economics), see Areas for Innovation Series: Utilizing Our Understandings of Brain Science to Strengthen Workforce Engagement

 

C

Career Pathways

 

Criminal Background

 

D

Disabilities, Workers with

 

Integrative Community Studies (ICS) (University of North Carolina at Greensboro)

 

Higher education programs designed to engage adult learneds with intelectual disabilities (ID) seek to narrow the gaps between individuals with ID and their peers without disabilities. It is often assumed that individuals with ID benefit from inclusive postsecondary education. However, because of the newness of inclusive postsecondary education, there is limited empirical evidence to support this assumption. But, the Integrative Community Studies (ICS) program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) is one inclusive postsecondary education program that is beginning to amass important data to support program quality and document important outcomes.

 

ICS is a four-yesr certificate of study program offered by UNCG, founded in 2007. ICS students are fully included in campus life. Individualized plans of study containing goals in the core areas of self-determination, career development, and life planning are developed and continually reassessed. Students are required to develop a person-centered plan using the PATH and CIRCLES person-centered planning methods. Individualized plans of study also incorporate stages of customized employment. In 2014, a systematic approach to gathering post-graduation outcome information was implemented. Information regarding ICS graduates' employment, independent living, and community involvement was collected. 

 

84.6% of the graduates had been employed at some time since graduating; at the time of data collection, 61.5% were currently employed and nearly 54% were living independently or semi-independently. Over 92% had participated in a community group in the prior 12 months, and 92.3% had completed volunteer or community service. 100% were registered to vote. Learn more about the promising inclusive postsecondary education program at UNCG here and here

 

Contact information: 

Lalenja Harrington

3607 MHRA Bldg

1111 Spring Garden St.

Greensboro, NC 27412
Email: L_harrin@uncg.edu

 

E

Economic & Community Development

 

Education & Training

 

WAGE™ (Workforce Alliance for Growth in the Economy) (Arkansas)

 

WAGE™ is a community-based workforce development program that addresses the need to improve the basic skills of the unemployed and the underemployed. This is a job readiness training program conducted by the Adult Education Division of the Arkansas Department of Career Education. A state framework provides guidelines, but permits local control over most program decisions.

 

WAGE™ is a partnership between local employers, city government, employment agencies, industrial development organizations, and educators, and is completely funded with taxpayer dollars. Job training is offered through local Adult Education Programs.

 

WAGE™ is business and industry driven. Workers are trained to meet specific local workforce needs. WAGE™ partners and employers refer job seekers and current employees to the program to earn state-issued, stackable certificates. WAGE™ certificate requirements involve competencies in communication, reading, writing, math, computer literacy, workplace ethics, customer service, mechanical aptitude, and more. The program is flexible, so as to accommodate changing local labor markets.

 

The average increase in wages for certificate holders who were employed before earning a WAGE certificate compared to after earning a certificate increased by 17.8% according to data obtained from the Arkansas Research Center in 2012. The return on investment for businesses is significant. They see improvements in employee retention rates, productivity, customer satisfaction, as well as increased profits. More information is available here and here

 

Contact information:

Arkansas WAGE Coordinator
Arkansas Department of Career Education, Adult Education Division
Three Capitol Mall
Little Rock, AR 72201
Business: (501) 682-1970
Business Fax: (501) 682-1706
Email: wage@arkansas.gov

 

Employers, Engaging

See WAGE™ (Workforce Alliance for Growth in the Economy) under Education & Training

 

Employer Resource Networks (New York)

 

For low-income, low-wage workers, attaining a job is just one step toward achieving gainful employment and economic well-being. Limited resources and support, family responsibilities, and other personal barriers can make retaining employment and advancing in one's career very challenging. Poor job retention negatively impacts not only workers and their families, but employers as well. New York is addressing these issues through Employer Resource Networks (ERNs). ERNs are private-public consortia, including employers, human services agencies, and educators, whose purpose is to improve workforce retention through employee support and training. New York currently has ERNs in the Capital Region, North Country, and Schenectady Area.

 

ERNs brings together small to mid-size employers in a common sector to create a joint venture to link and leverage talent development resources most effectively. ERNs leverage resources in a way that each stakeholder (businesses, public agencies, etc.) may not have the capacity to do on their own. Together, stakeholders employ a Success Coach who spends one day per week on-site at each employer's location, providing workplace-based employee success coaching (case management). A Success Coach helps employees access social services to overcome personal barriers and support employment, as well as access training programs to improve their employment skills and prepare for advancement opportunities.

 

ERNs do not just benefit workers. Employers benefit through retention of an engaged and skilled workforce. ERNs in New York have resulted in employee retention rates of 85-98%, increased employee engagement, and a return on investment of 175-330%. Public agencies and nonprofits achieve better outcomes for programs that advance economic independence, such as  decreased employee reliance on public assistance and increased family financial stability. Additionally, community colleges gain students and build closer ties to local businesses.

 

Visit this website to learn more about New York's Employer Resource Networks. 

 

Contact information: 

Nathan Mandsager

City Mission (State Coordinating Organization)

Schenectady, NY

Phone: (518) 723-0799

Email: nmandsager@citymission.com

 

 

 

F

Financial Empowerment

 

G

Green Jobs/Industries

 

H

Hard-to-Employ

 

Better Futures Enterprises

 

Better Futures intentionally engages and embraces high-risk adults, largely Black men, living in chronic poverty with histories of incarceration, homelessness, persistent unemployment, behavioral health issues, and untreated physical health conditions. Unlike traditional reentry models, Better Futures works from an understanding that each participant has experienced a different life, and must be allowed the necessary time to help create pathways to housing, independence, and full time work. Meeting participants' basic needs, addressing the trauma of their earlier lives, and getting help with behavioral health issues precedes conventional education and training. The program's model of success provides four fundamentals–housing, jobs, health, and coaching–supported by meaningful relationships.

 

The initial results of this pilot confirm the value of this innovative program. Preliminary data indicates that Better Futures participants’ employment and child support payment rates are high and their return to prison rates for new crimes are low. The cost of the full complement of housing and support services offered in Better Futures is 50% less than the cost of prison. For more information visit the Better Futures Enterprises website. Learn more about the social enterprise component of the Better Futures model under Social Enterprise

 

Contact information: 

Better Futures Enterprises

1017 Olson Memorial Hwy

Minneapolis, MN 55422

Phone: (612) 455-6133

Email: info@betterfutures.net

 

Housing

 

A Better Life (Worchester Housing Authority, Massachusetts)

 

The A Better Life (ABL) program was designed by the Worcester Housing Authority (WHA) in order to help residents of public housing achieve self-sufficiency and build their capacity to transition from subsidized housing to private sector housing. In return for their housing benefits, participants are required to work or further their education while being provided with case management and a broad array of support services. The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts began funding the implementation in January 2012.

 

ABL is intended to both support and challenge participating households. Upon enrolling in the program, participating families go through a series of comprehensive assessments of all household members to determine their education level, job readiness, health, finances, and personal challenges. They are assigned a case manager, who provides intensive case management, working closely with participants to provide them with the unique support they need.

 

An interim report summarizing the results of the evaluation of the first three years of the program was released by Boston University in July 2015. There are some limitations to the evaluation study, but the findings are promising. The interim report showed that after two year in the program, the number of participating residents who were working more than doubled, and their incomes nearly tripled. Participants also experience better health and safety outcomes than the comparison group. The interim report can be viewed here. To learn more about the ABL program, visit the Worchester Housing Authority's website

 

Contact information: 

Raymond Mariano

Executive Director

Worchester Housing Authority

Phone: 508-635-3000

Email: rmariano@worchester-housing.com

 

I

 

J

 

K

 

L

 

M

Microenterprise, see Areas for Innovation: Microenterprise as a Path to Self-Sufficiency

 

Minority Workers

 

N

Non-Custodial Parents, see Areas for Innovation Series: Whole Family Approach

 

O

 

P

Place-conscious/Place-based Approach, see Areas for Innovation Series: Place-Conscious Approach to Workforce Engagement

 

Q

 

R

 

S

Sector-Based Strategies, see Areas for Innovation Series: Leveraging Job & Industry Growth

 

Social Enterprise

 

Better Futures Minnesota

 

Better Futures Minnesota is a social enterprise that helps men who want to change their lives and reach their full potential. The Better Futures model is based on the belief that for men to walk a better path and stay on that path, they need to experience a strong, vibrant community and meaningful relationships. Housing, jobs, health, and coaching are the model’s four fundamentals, all of which must be in place and work together to be effective. Learn more about the Better Futures model here.

 

Better Futures Minnesota’s business activities create jobs for chronically unemployed men and generate revenue to reinvest in support services. The social enterprise provides supervised work crews, waste recycling, building deconstruction, and reuse services to contractors, public agencies, and homeowners. It also sells quality used materials through its website. To learn more, visit the Better Futures Minnesota website.

 

Contact information:

Tim Hanson

General Manager

Better Futures Minnesota

Phone: (612) 718-6089

Email: thanson@betterfutures.net

 

Subsidized Employment

 

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program- Employment & Training (SNAP E&T)

 

T

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Work Programs

 

Ready to Work & Work and Learn (Kentucky)

 

Ready to Work (RTW) is a partnership between the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) and the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (KCHFS), Department for Community Based Services (DCBS). The program assists low-income parents participating in TANF/Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program (KTAP) to enroll and be successful in community and technical colleges. The Work and Learn program (WL) offers services similar to RTW to adult basic education students who are working toward their GEDs and high school graduates who are brushing up on their basic skills.

 

A statewide network of 38 RTW and WL campus-based coordinators provide and/or facilitate a comprehensive network of support services including education and career planning, case management, work study job development, and placement and post-placement services. They also assist the participants in accessing supportive services (such as transportation and child care) available through KCHFS/DCBS and other agencies. The Coordinators serve as liaisons between and among the student, the college system and the KCHFS/DCBS local offices and case managers.

 

The development and support of work-study opportunities is a major component of RTW and WL. A RTW/WL work study student may work (at minimum wage) up to 30 hours per week in a TANF/KTAP funded work study placement without impacting her/his KTAP check. The opportunity to place work study students on or off campus with both private sector and non-profit employers helps prepare them for the workplace with experience in their field of study. The student gains resume building work experience and job coaching and retention skills as well as extra income while employers have an opportunity to provide job training and recruit and hire KCTCS/RTW students and graduates. RTW/WL Coordinators work closely with students and TANF case managers to assist students in meeting their TANF core participation requirements through work study and expanding their opportunity to remain in college pursing their academic credentials. 

 

The program has received several state and national awards and recognitions. You can learn more about RTW/WL here

 

Contact information: 

Shauna King-Simms, Program Director
KCTCS Ready to Work Program
300 North Main Street Versailles, KY 40383 
Telephone: 859-256-3301 
Cell: 859-492-6903 
Email: shauna.king-simms@kctcs.edu

 

Marolyn Hale Dowdy, Program Coordinator 
KCTCS Ready to Work Program 
300 North Main Street 
Versailles, KY 40383 
Telephone: 859-256-3226
Cell: 502-604-0660 
Email: marolyn.dowdy@kctcs.edu

 

Transitional Jobs

 

Two-Generation Approach, see Areas for Innovation Series: Whole Family Approach

 

U

 

V

 

W

Whole Family Approach, see Areas for Innovation Series: Whole Family Approach

 

Women

 

X

 

Y

Youth and Young Adults

 

Z


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