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