Employment and Jobs

Models of Upskilling: Pre-employment Training

June 1, 2017  • UpSkill America & Jaime S. Fall

In some cases, employers and government programs help individuals prepare for employment before they begin work. Take the following examples:

Accenture’s Skills to Succeed initiative

In May 2018, Accenture announced its commitment of more than $200 million over the following three years to help equip people around the world with job skills for the digital age. The company’s Skills to Succeed initiative advances employment and entrepreneurship opportunities, leveraging digital innovation to help close employment gaps at scale. Together with a network of nonprofits and other ecosystem partners, Accenture has since 2010 equipped more than 2.2 million people with the skills to get a job or build a business, with a goal of equipping a total of more than 3 million people by 2020.

Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection, Created by Wegmans Food Markets

Wegmans Food Markets partners with the Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection to assist at-risk, low-income youth to stay in school, graduate from high school and progress to postsecondary education and/or employment. The program is aimed at first-time workers who face barriers to economic opportunity and success in order to build a more prosperous community, a ready pool of trained workers, and loyal customers. Wegmans founded the program in 1987 as a voluntary effort administered by staff and managers. Due to its results, the program was awarded the President George H. W. Bush “Points of Light” award, was adopted and endorsed by the National Center on Education and the Economy, and was studied by the Food Marketing Institute and Harvard University. The program is now a partnership between a nonprofit provider, Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection, local school districts, and several employer partners across New York and the National Capital Region. Wegmans remains the largest employer partner, with nearly 600 students employed.

Gap’s This Way Ahead internship program

Gap created its This Way Ahead store internship program to help teens and young adults from low-income communities land their first job. Gap partners with local community-based organizations to give teens and young adults the opportunity to attend workshops in resume writing, interviewing, customer service, and self-presentation — skills that they can use to obtain paid internships and then employment at Gap, Old Navy, or Banana Republic stores. Gap has set a goal that 5 percent of entry-level store hires will be graduates of This Way Ahead by 2025.

McDonald’s Youth Opportunity initiative

In August 2018, McDonald’s launched Youth Opportunity, a new initiative with a global goal to reduce barriers to employment for two million young people by 2025. In partnership with local community organizations and the International Youth Foundation, McDonald’s will offer a new pre-employment work-readiness and soft skills training program, designed to help young people develop the competencies employers are looking for in entry-level employees. McDonald’s is piloting this initiative in Chicago, with the goal of reducing barriers to employment for 4,000 young people in the city, before rolling it out to select cities in the US from 2019. In addition to being considered for job opportunities at company-owned and franchisee restaurants, graduates from the training will have the chance to pursue opportunities with potential employers across a variety of industries like healthcare, supply chain logistics, and IT. Click here to learn more.


In May 2018, the PepsiCo Foundation announced a $4 million grant to the Robin Hood Foundation – New York City’s largest poverty-fighting organization – to support high-quality education and workforce training programs for young women and girls in the Bronx. The grant will fund initiatives to help 20,000 females ages 13-24 in the Bronx increase their earning potential, addressing an acute need in New York City’s poorest borough in which 1 in 3 women – more than 220,000 women – are living in poverty. PepsiCo’s support will put young women and girls in the Bronx on the path to high-quality education and good jobs through: 1) high school equivalency, college prep, and graduation support; and 2) skills training, job training, and economic security programming. Click here to learn more.

US Department of Education’s Adult Education and Career and Technical Education Programs

The US Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education invests approximately $1.9 billion annually to support a wide range of activities that help prepare young people and adults to further their education and careers, including helping employees improve literacy and English proficiency. You can find the nearest adult education provider by calling 1-800-872-5327.

US Department of Labor’s Training Programs

The US Department of Labor funds job training programs through each state’s workforce development system to improve the employment prospects of adults, youth, and workers who have been laid off. Delivered primarily through the American Job Center Network and tailored to local economies, programs aim to boost workers’ employability and earnings. CareerOneStop lists available training opportunities, and the mySkills myFuture website identifies programs to help job applicants bridge their skills gap. These programs can help employers access a ready pool of skilled workers, or they can assist employers to develop incumbent worker training programs to build the skills of their current workers. You can find information on local training programs by visiting America’s Service Locator or calling the toll-free help line at (877) US2-JOBS.



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Employment and Jobs
Models of Upskilling
June 1, 2017 • UpSkill America & 1 more


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Employment and Jobs
UpSkilling Playbook for Employers
June 1, 2017 • UpSkill America & 1 more