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Partnership Development Resources - Welfare to Work Vouchers

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Involving Businesses in Welfare to Work Efforts

Welfare to Work programs should take advantage of the many opportunities for business involvement in job-readiness, education, and training activities. The following list offers some possible roles for businesses in these efforts.

Curriculum development. Once skill needs are identified, business partners can help in the design of curricula to make sure they adequately teach those skills. Several programs have developed customized training to meet the specific needs of an employer, or group of employers, with significant hiring needs.

Contributions of equipment. Training on equipment comparable to that in the workplace will help welfare recipients and other disadvantaged job seekers better compete for jobs, pass proficiency tests, and adjust to the work environment. Asking business partners to donate useful equipment can reduce program costs and provide employers with another way to become involved.

Instruction. Ask business partners to donate staff time for training, or hire staff with private-sector experience. They can bring valuable knowledge of workplace conditions, standards, and practices. In addition, their connections with local industry can assist in job placement efforts.

Program Involvement. There are several options for program involvement. Business partners can:

  • speak to welfare recipients and other disadvantaged job seekers in pre-employment activities, from program orientations through completion of training;
  • practice mock interviews with participants;
  • offer suggestions for job search strategies in their fields; and
  • share information about:

    - the types of jobs they have available;
    - what they look for in job applicants;
    - what they expect from employees; and
    - their own career experiences.

Worksite tours. Tours of worksites can expose welfare recipients and other disadvantaged job seekers to different work environments. Tours can also motivate and better prepare them for adjustment to a new job.

Hiring commitments. When possible, ask employers to commit to hiring program graduates. If employers have helped design the program, including standards for successful completion, they should be confident enough in graduates to make such a commitment.

For example, in Memphis, Tennessee, local hospitals committed to hiring graduates of the UT HEALTHWORKS program, which prepares welfare recipients for jobs in the health care field.

Cost-sharing. It may be appropriate to share the costs of job preparation activities, especially if the curriculum is jointly developed and the businesses will be hiring graduates.

On-site training. It may not be necessary to duplicate job training that is already being conducted by businesses. Build links to refer participants, prescreen candidates, or share costs for on-site training.

In a Massachusetts program called Employer Saves, employers who hire at least three welfare recipients at wages of at least $7 per hour are reimbursed for the cost of in-house training for up to $600 for one month.

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