Move More People Up the Income and Career Ladder

The sections of our report focused on increasing access to quality jobs and building greater financial security for lower-wage workers speak powerfully to this challenge. With regard to workforce solutions, our group recommends an exciting idea and call on leaders across sectors to pilot this notion in communities around the country.

Launch a Groundbreaking Sustainable Workforce Model

Many first-time employers, like McDonald’s, Hilton, and Walmart, provide both training in critical job-readiness skills and access to formal education credentials, such as a high school diploma and a college degree. Partnerships between these employers and local Workforce Development Boards (WDB)/Workforce Investment Boards (WIB), and/or other employers in a specific area, could create powerful career pathways for local residents. 

We recommend piloting such partnerships, pairing first-time employers who are supporting their workforce in building skills and credentials with other regional employers where those employees might eventually work, to build a clear pathway that benefits all involved. 

Such a partnership might be based on actions like these:
  • WDB/WIB identifies current and future critical job skills shortages and high growth industries in their local community.
  • Local employers identify current or projected hard-to-fill roles.
  • WIB identifies training and/or credentials required for current and future skills shortages and high growth industries.
  • First-time employers communicate potential career paths to employees.
  • First-time employers, WDB/WIB, and local employers leverage relationships with higher education institutions.
  • Employees take advantage of company-sponsored education programs and WDB/WIB programs to secure necessary credentials to pursue identified career pathways.

Benefits of partnership include:
  • Employers seeking to fill openings for skilled jobs have access to a pool of candidates with job-ready skills.
  • Employees gain job-ready skills and access to a company-sponsored education. 
  • First-time employers improve retention and engagement during the time in which employees are attaining credentials.
  • First-time employers improve recruitment efforts by demonstrating that these types of jobs provide access to career pathways within a local community.
  • WDB/WIB programs prepare employees for in-demand careers, while providing local employers with hard-to- fill job openings with applicants/employees.
We support testing this idea through an initial pilot or pilots in targeted communities in partnership with the local Workforce Development Boards. WDBs, first-time employers and employers seeking to fill positions would need to come together to identify current and future critical job skills shortages in their local community and outline required credentials for those positions. First-time employers would communicate current and future job opportunities, required credentials and information on company-sponsored education programs to their workforce. Hiring companies would provide “preferential” treatment to candidates coming from first-time employer pool.

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