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Employment and Training Program Resources - Welfare to Work Vouchers

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 -   Promoting Job Advancement
 -   Strategies for Promoting Job Advancement

Promoting Job Advancement

Lifetime time limits on welfare make it important for programs to think beyond job retention and consider career advancement. Many of the jobs that welfare recipients and other disadvantaged workers hold do not pay a livable wage or provide health insurance and other work-related benefits. Therefore, programs need to help former recipients take the next step toward self-sufficiency through job advancement.

Strategies for Promoting Job Advancement

Promoting job advancement requires maintaining a relationship with former recipients and helping them use their work experience to move ahead in the labor market. In general, there are two means of pursuing career advancement:

  • Promotional opportunities within individual companies; and
  • Job mobility outside of the recipient's current company.

The following are some suggestions for promoting job advancement among former welfare recipients and other disadvantaged workers.

Target jobs, sectors, and employers with opportunities for advancement. For example, Florida's Performance-Based Incentive Funding Program originally targeted only those jobs which paid above a certain wage. However, they later expanded to include positions that start at a lower wage but offer opportunities for advancement.

Ask about opportunities for advancement when developing jobs. When gathering information from employers about available jobs, ask also about opportunities for advancement and find out what additional education or skills a worker might need to advance. Use the information to match recipients with jobs, design job-advancement activities, and help recipients plan their career paths.

Continue to work with former recipients to promote job advancement. Facilitate career advancement by providing former participants with job search assistance geared specifically to next-step jobs. For example, job developers can recruit employers who are interested in hiring individuals who have proven themselves in their first job. Job fairs can provide opportunities for former recipients to network with business representatives and learn about advancement opportunities. Make sure these activities are held at times that are convenient for working individuals.

Offer education and training for career advancement. Think about education and training not only as a pre-employment activity, but also a career advancement strategy. Consider giving priority for participation in these activities to former welfare recipients and other disadvantaged workers who have been employed for six months or a year.

Partner with employers to provide training geared to job advancement. Where possible, partner with employers to expand training they already provide or add training in skills needed for job advancement.

  • The Washington State Incumbent Worker Training Demonstration plans to use existing customized training resources to assist firms that hire welfare recipients (and other low-wage workers) in upgrading employee skills. The training will be provided through the local community and technical college system, and costs will be shared.

Make it easy for working parents to participate in education and training. Recognize how difficult it is for single parents to combine work and school. Providing financial support for tuition and other costs and expanding access to support services - including child care assistance - to disadvantaged workers can make it possible for them to continue their education and training. In addition, make sure that programs are accessible to working individuals with evening and/or weekend hours and convenient locations.

Market career-ladder opportunities as a benefit to both employers and job seekers. The prospect of job-advancement services can encourage welfare recipients and other disadvantaged workers to participate in your program and to take entry-level positions. The same services will also help businesses by providing a better trained, more productive, and more loyal workforce.

 
Content current as of 5 October 2001   Follow this link to go  Back to top   
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