Workforce development incorporates specific measures to improve professional and personal growth necessary for securing a stable job and ensuring financial independence. Since a majority of low-income families experience a large amount of debt, obtaining and maintaining a job is necessary and ensures financial stability. Through workforce development, low-income families are offered the opportunity to improve their education and occupation skills in order to maintain their current jobs and increase opportunities for career advancement.
State Policy Actions:
- Employment and Labor Relationships
- The future of work will be shaped by the following: wages, worker classification, worker bills of rights and worker scheduling. 1
- Economic Security: Income and Benefits
- Reform unemployment insurance, adopt state paid family leave, work with employers to maximize health care coverage, and offer portable state-based retirement programs. 2
- Business Models
- Worker friendly business models can include Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) and benefit corporations. 3
- Worker Rights and Voice
- Provide a platform for workers to communicate, organize and egage in collective action. 4
- Education and Skills Training
- Foster partnerships between employers and postsecondary education. This includes: targeted training programs, payroll tax training programs, incumbent worker training, and apprentiveships/work-based learning. 5
Joyce Foundation: Shifting Gears Program
Jobs requiring some postsecondary education are expected to grow faster than average between 2006 and 2016, yet too many workers lack the skills and credentials essential for these twenty-first century jobs. The Joyce Foundation launched the Shifting Gears initiative in 2006 to help five Midwest states address this problem. These states - Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin - are re-engineering adult education, workforce development and postsecondary education policies to support economic growth and expand job opportunities for low-skilled workers in the Midwest.
Breaking Through: Jobs for the Future
Breaking Through promotes and strengthens the efforts of 41 community colleges in 22 states to help low-skilled adults prepare for and succeed in occupational and technical degree programs. Counteracting high attrition rates in adult basic education and developmental education programs, Breaking Through colleges improve outcomes by focusing on strategies that create effective pathways through pre-college and degree-level programs and result in college completion. The initiative is proving that low-skilled adults can advance through remediation and credential programs within a reasonable time and with reasonable success.
Indiana's Workforce Investment Act (WIA)
In this legislation WIA training funds will be used for prior learning assessments (PLA). Passed unanimously, this resolution recognizes PLA as a key workforce investment strategy and binds the legislature to develop policies that will help citizens, especially veterans, translate their on-the-job learning into college credit. Similar discussions are happening in Oregon, where state leaders are launching a PLA Task Force at the legislative level. This Task Force will look at how PLA might best be used to improve the completion rates and job-readiness of its citizens. A key player in encouraging this legislation has been The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL). CAEL was on the news in Memphis as a local affiliate focused on CAEL’s online prior learning assessment service.