Obama Administration: These job-training programs are the most effective

White House lists the postsecondary skills training programs that are the best in the U.S.

dataThere’s a growing trend, as the economy still lingers in recovery and traditional four-year tuition remains barely affordable, of students and parents coming to understand that if you want relatively stable paying job after postsecondary education, skills training is a great bet. But what programs are currently the most successful?

According to Vice President Joe Biden, after several meetings with business leaders, community college presidents, governors and mayors, and “most importantly, hard-working Americans who were hit hard by the Great Recession, but who are doing everything they can to learn new skills to find a decent, good-paying middle-class job,” the Vice President noted that there was a clear consensus: “We must rethink how we train today’s workers so that our programs are job-driven, teaching real skills that employers need.”

Biden also noted that businesses are clamoring for highly-trained workers for highly-specialized work, since many of these jobs are currently going unfulfilled.

Enter the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, and the Ready to Work Initiative’s best postsecondary jobs training programs…

(Next page: The Act and best programs)

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, signed Tuesday by Biden and the President, is a culmination of Biden’s review on the employment and training programs that are the most effective in getting skilled people into needed jobs.

Biden’s report highlights “successful job-driven training strategies, details executive actions that are being taken by the federal government, and new commitments by employers, non-profits, unions and innovators to help spread what’s working and to support more Americans in getting and moving up in in-demand jobs and careers,” said the Administration on the Ready to Work website. The report also comes with a “fact sheet,” which can be viewed here.

Signing the Act:

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According to the report, there are currently over 30 programs across the country that are most effective in training skilled workers for jobs available now:

[Listed in alphabetical order]

1. Big Bend Community College: Moses Lake, Washington
Big Bend Community College has implemented I-BEST classes that provide two instructors—one who teaches professional-technical content, and one who supports the development of basic skills. I-BEST programs support English as a Second Language students, and help train all students for a career or higher-paying jobs. Read more.

2. Community College of Allegheny County: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The Community College of Alleghany County (CCAC) partnered with 14 community colleges across the state to work with local employers and design curricula to serve these industry needs. CCAC is focused on the mechatronics career path, a multidisciplinary field that equips students with mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering skills for multi-disciplinary jobs in industries such as advanced manufacturing and energy. The community college received $2.6 million from the 2011 TAA-CCCT grant. The school partnered with over 15 companies, which supported the mechatronics program in a variety of ways, and of the 200 graduates from its mechatronics programs, 183 are now employed or continuing their education. Read more.

3. Mi Casa Resource Center: Denver, Colorado
Mi Casa Resource Center offers basic professional development training, as well as industry-focused training programs in customer service, financial services and healthcare. For workers with limited skills and education, Mi Casa’s holistic approach to career development successfully mitigates the barriers that low-income workers face to employment success and facilitates promising career path employment in growth sectors. In 2013, 117 individuals completed Mi Casa’s career training programs (an 89 percent completion rate). In 2014, Mi Casa will serve 120 individuals in career training programs, and 70 percent will be placed in full-time jobs with an average wage of $11.35 per hour. Read more.

(Next page: Programs 4-10; more information)

4. Monroe Community College: Rochester, New York
Monroe Community College provides its students with hands-on experience with skills desired by local businesses, particularly those in the optics industry. Read more.

5. NH Works Nashua American Jobs Center: Nashua, New Hampshire
This is a federally-funded, “one-stop” resource that connects unemployed workers with career counseling, computer access for job-searching, and most importantly, on-the-job training programs at local businesses. As a result of this strong partnership between NH Works and local businesses, 96% of graduates from the on-the-job training program are employed full-time, with 78% remaining with their participating on-the-job training program employers after 6 months. Of those who get a job, 95% of them were still employed six months after they graduated. Participants in the NH Works on-the-job training program make an average of $15.52/hour after graduating from the program. Read more.

6. Oklahoma Greenovation: Oklahoma
Oklahoma Greenovation is an on-the-job training and placement program for the state’s construction, energy efficiency and related sectors. Oklahoma State University-Institute of Technology, Oklahoma State University-OKC and Tulsa Community College provide training and other services to help workers advance in their careers. Oklahoma Greenovation has put nearly 270 people in on-the-job (OJT) training and helped more than 90 people earn a credential. Employer engagement is a key part of the effort, as 82 employers have offered OJT opportunities in positions paying between $14 and $18 an hour. OJT participants are learning critical skills, allowing almost 100 of them to be placed in permanent jobs that offer wages up to $36 an hour. Read more.

7. Pacific Gas & Electric’s PowerPathway: California
PG&E PowerPathway is a collaboration of local community colleges, community-based training centers, the public workforce development system, unions and industry employers, and aims to train and widen the number of people qualified for entry-level skilled craft and utility industry jobs and for energy efficiency and smart grid technical professionals. Read more.

8. The Dannon Project: Birmingham, Alabama
The Dannon Project, which provides social services to at-risk populations and non-violent ex-offenders, is using a Training to Work RExO grant to develop a career pathway and upskilling program for individuals enrolled in work release programs. Read more.

9. Western Governors University: Salt Lake City, Utah
Western Governors University offers affordable and flexible competency-based degree programs for busy adults in key workforce areas, such as IT, teacher education, and health care. Read more.

10. Workforce Readiness Initiative: Retention of Manufacturing in Southern Virginia: South Boston, Virginia
The Workforce Readiness Initiative: Retention of Manufacturing in Southern Virginia trains incumbent and future workers in the manufacturing industry through partnerships with multiple training providers, including two community colleges, a Virginia manufacturing organization (GENEDGE Alliance), and the Virginia Department of Business. Read more.

For the complete list of programs, as well as many other resources, visit the Ready to Work Initiative website.

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