DOL Training Announcement: WIOA Youth Eligibility Live Question and Answer Session

Register Now

The Department of Labor presents the “Our Journey Together TA Series.” This training will include a review of the eligibility portion of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Youth Final Rule webinar and a live questions and answers session on WIOA youth eligibility through the webinar platform chat feature.

One of the most common topics which we receive questions on is WIOA youth eligibility.  This is not surprising as the eligibility requirements are fairly complex. We will replay the WIOA youth eligibility portion of the WIOA Youth Final rule previously recorded webinar as a refresher on WIOA youth eligibility and will provide an opportunity for live questions and answers on all issues related to WIOA youth eligibility.  Come prepared with all of your eligibility questions.

WIOA Youth Eligibility Live Question and Answer Session

Presenter(s): Evan Rosenberg, Division of Youth Services, U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration

Moderator(s): Sara Hastings, Division of Youth Services, U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration

Date: Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Time: 2:30 PM-4:00 PM ET

**Registration for this event is limited and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis; please register today.**

Register Now

 

 

Workforce Resource: On-the-Job Training

On the Job TrainingWelcome to the third post in our series featuring some of the tools, resources and programs available in the mainstream workforce system, shaped by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and delivered through the national network of American Job Centers serving all U.S. job seekers.

It’s a complex, resource-rich system underutilized in refugee employment services. Higher is determined to change that so our clients benefit from new opportunities and employment services.

We’ll do the research you don’t have time for amidst managing client caseloads and employer relationships. You can focus on using highlighted resources to help your clients succeed in the U.S. workforce.

In our first two posts we highlighted online tools that you can utilize in your job counseling and job development efforts. In the next few posts we want to shift to highlighting programs within the mainstream workforce system that can help your clients break into career fields that they are interested in.

Breaking into a Career through On-the-job Training

Breaking into one’s field of choice can be a challenge, even for native-born Americans. On-the-job Training (OJT) is funded through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), and is one strategy for obtaining or updating skills and securing employment.

OJT is a win-win situation in which the OJT participant receives training and employment and the employer is reimbursed for the training costs (usually calculated at half the pay rate for the agreed-upon training period- although under the new WIOA legislation states can choose to increase employer reimbursement up to 75%).

OJT & Refugees

For refugees, OJT can be a strategic way to either re-enter one’s former industry or gain new skills that will put them on a stable career path in the US.

Because OJT is a comprehensive skills training program, it will be most useful for refugees with higher levels of English and literacy. Some programs, however, have found success placing LEP clients in OJT placements when there is a strong relationship between the employer and the refugee employment program in which they work as a team to make sure the OJT training is successful.

From the research Higher has done so far, refugees with backgrounds in “blue-collar” industries (e.g. construction, manufacturing) seem to be a particularly good fit for OJT, because of the experience they bring to the table, and because the federal reimbursement opportunity is attractive to small and medium sized business in these fields.

That being said, there have also been successful OJT placements with both high skilled refugees with more professional backgrounds and low-skilled refugees with little to no work background (see examples below).

Places Where it’s Worked

OmahaOmaha, NE:

Partnership: Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska (Omaha) with WIOA Contractor Goodwill Industries of Omaha, NE

Population: Afghan SIVs

Industry: Construction

 

“With [WIOA/OJT] dollars and Lutheran Family Service’s reputation and connection to the community, we’re able to put together a package that speaks to a hiring manager or organization…and it’s quick—participants are getting enrolled in our program and within 3 or 4 weeks they’re working. We use our dollars to pay for tools, steel toed boots—whatever they need to be successful on the job, as well as paying money towards the employer for hiring through our program” –Justin Dougherty, (former) Director of Workforce Services, Goodwill Industries, Inc., Omaha, NE

Orlando__Lake_Eola_1Orlando, FL:

Partnership: Catholic Charities, Orlando, FL and local employers (Catholic Charities operates the OJT program in house using WIOA funds)

Populations: Cubans, Haitians, and Iraqis

Industries: Dentistry (Dental Assistant), Childcare (Assistant Teacher), Logistics/Warehouse, Hospitality (Maintenance Technicians and Front Desk), Food Processing

“OJT is a good option because it provides employment that is higher paying than most entry level positions, gives some clients an opportunity to continue in their field, and gives others a great ‘stepping stone’ job.” –Daisy Clemente, Employment Services Coordinator, Catholic Charities, Orlando, FL

Salt Lake CitySalt Lake City, UT:

Partnership: IRC, Salt Lake City, UT with Utah Department of Workforce Services Office

Populations: Sudanese, Burmese, Iraqi

Industries: Sewing, Construction/remodeling, Glass recycling

 

“We keep OJT in our back pocket as an incentive for employers who are a little hesitant [to hire refugees].” –Nolan LaBarge, Employment Specialist, IRC, Salt Lake City, Utah

Tips for Success

In talking to these 3 sites, some common themes emerged in terms of what made their OJT efforts successful:

  • Commit to learning the system: If you don’t already have someone on staff who has a background in mainstream workforce development, identify someone who can commit the time to learning the process and be the liaison between your office and the American Job Center (AJC). Additionally, look for allies within the mainstream system who are excited about your work and can give you an insider’s perspective on how to navigate the system.
  • Strong job development makes strong OJT placements: Often times it’s the employers you already have strong relationships with who will be most interested in placing your clients in OJT. You can also use OJT as a selling point when approaching new employers. Either way, you can put the opportunity on their radar and if they’re interested, you can can make the connection to the AJC to continue the process.
  • Provide good marketing materials for employers: In the same way that you provide employers good information about refugees, consider also leaving them with a nice brochure about OJT. Give them something to think about, and follow up with them shortly afterwards.
  • Offer employers additional support (coordinating interpretation, etc.): Let them know that you not only can provide them with strong candidates, but you are available to provide reasonable support to them to help with some of the challenges that come along with hiring refugees.
  • Make the right match: Always remember to take your clients past experience and skills into account when recommending them for OJT. While OJT may at times provide an opportunity for someone to learn completely new skills, the OJT program is primarily designed to be a skills upgrade program, and trainees are expected to begin contributing as productive workers on day one. The refugee programs that have found success with OJT have done so largely because they capitalized on skills their clients already had.

Getting Started & Learning More

If OJT is new for you, the best place to get started would be to contact your local American Job Center (AJC). Click here to find an AJC near you.

Once you identify the OJT resources and process in your community, you can begin marketing the program to employers that you work with.

The Employment Training Administration (ETA) is in the process of updating its’ OJT Toolkit which will be made available soon on the new Workforce GPS website, but in the meantime click here to access a recent webinar entitled “Strategies for Implementing OJT Simply and Effectively” as well as an OJT Training Brief and Resource Guide by the same name (you can find it in the left hand column called “Related Resources”).

Coming Soon…

Also, keep your eyes out in the next month or so for the next edition of our Workforce Collaboration Case Study Series, which will take a deeper look at the OJT partnership (highlighted briefly in this post) between Lutheran Family Services and Goodwill Industries in Omaha, NE.

Have You Placed Clients in OJT?

It’s impossible for us to know everything that everyone is doing out there. If you’ve placed clients in OJT, please let us know so that we can learn from your experiences as we continue to look at this strategy for refugee employment! Send us an email at information@higheradvantage.org.

 

Simple Strategies to Address Common Barriers, Part 4

digital literacy 1At a recent Maryland-wide workshop which focused on refugee workforce development, Higher had participants do a brainstorming activity, in which groups worked together to list common barriers refugees face to employment as well as possible solutions.

These types of activities inevitably generate a “wish list” of solutions which are great ideas but not always in our power to implement quickly (e.g. adding staff members, ESL at work sites, home-based self-employment for refugee women).

While there are certainly times to pursue those big ideas, perhaps the best thing about exercises like this is that they allow groups to identify simpler solutions that can be implemented immediately.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll share some of these insights from your Maryland peers, focusing on simple and practical strategies that are relatively easy to implement! So far, we’ve focused on tips for overcoming Limited English Proficiency (LEP) challengestips for overcoming transportation challenges and tips for overcoming childcare challenges. This week we’ll share a few tips on overcoming the barrier of Computer Access/Digital Literacy.

Tips for Overcoming Computer Access/Digital Literacy Challenges:

  1. Connect clients to local computer labs and/or digital literacy training opportunities. Suggested Resource: The Literacy Directory lists free resources to help adult students reach life goals in areas such as improving reading, math, and science skills, learning English, building job and job search skills, becoming a U.S. citizen, and finding adult education, child, family, and digital literacy programs.
  2. Help clients access low-cost computers. Suggested Resource: EveryoneON is a national nonprofit working to eliminate the digital divide by making high-speed, low-cost Internet service and computers, and free digital literacy courses accessible to all unconnected Americans. A true digital literacy initiative, they aim to leverage the democratizing power of the Internet to provide opportunity to all Americans – regardless of age, race, geography, income, or education level. Let’s help them do this!
  3. Educate clients about affordable internet options. Suggested Resource: ConnectHome is a public-private collaboration to narrow the digital divide for families with school-age children who live in HUD-assisted housing. ConnectHome is the next step in President Obama’s continued efforts to bring affordable broadband access, technical training, digital literacy programs, and electronic devices to all Americans.
  4. Utilize interns and/or volunteers to help clients improve their computer skills. Suggested Resource: DigitalLearn.org is a collection of self-directed tutorials for end-users to increase their digital literacy, and a community of practice for digital literacy trainers to share resources, tools and best practices.
  5. Encourage your clients to work with you on this challenge, asking them to network within their community to explore solutions.

Stay tuned for more tips from MD refugee employment programs and stakeholders. The final part in this series will address unrealistic client expectations.

Do you recommend any additional digital literacy resources? Feel free to participate in the conversation by leaving a comment below or sending us an email at information@higheradvantage.org.

Workforce Resource: Online Tool for Identifying Prospective Employers

Source: http://allstarluxury.com

Source: http://allstarluxury.com

Welcome to the second post in our series featuring some of the tools, resources and programs available in the mainstream workforce system, shaped by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and delivered through the national network of American Job Centers serving all U.S. job seekers.

It’s a complex, resource-rich system underutilized in refugee employment services. Higher is determined to change that so our clients benefit from new opportunities and employment services.

We’ll do the research you don’t have time for amidst managing client case loads and employer relationships.  You can focus on using highlighted resources to help your clients succeed in the U.S. workforce.

In our first post we highlighted The Department of Labor, Education and Training Agency’s Industry Competency Models, which provide detailed information as well as easy to understand visuals explaining the skills needed to advance in a variety of industries.

In this post, we’ll share another online resource that will give you valuable information about a variety of industries and help you identify local employers to target in your job development efforts.

Workforce Resource: Online Tool for Identifying Prospective Employers

The “Explore Careers” section of Careeronestop.org, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, offers several online tools including career profiles, detailed industry information, and occupation comparisons.

Explore Careers 2

Several useful tools for job development can be found on the “What’s hot” page under the “Learn about careers” category (see photo above). In this section you can run several reports including:

Using These Tools to Discover Prospective Employers and Pathways for Your Clients

One of the most helpful features of these reports is that they allow you to filter the results by education level (some high school up to master’s degree or higher). This feature can be used to find opportunities based on client’s education/skill level or to show clients the education that will be necessary to obtain to accomplish their career goals.

Select Education Level

Once you select which type of trends you want to see and the education level, you will get a list of occupations, which you can filter by state. This will give you a general idea of what industries might be worth pursuing in your region. Here’s an example of the Top 25 Fastest Growing Occupations from the state of Ohio for job seekers with an education level of “some high school”:

Occupations

How You Can Find Thousands of Employers to Target!

From the list of occupations (above) you can click on the links to see Occupation Profiles which will give descriptions of the occupations and highlight national and state trends. To find actual employers to contact go to the dropdown menu in the top right hand corner and choose “Business Finder” which will redirect you to another page where you can search for businesses by occupation and city.

So let’s say you want to search for construction laborers in Columbus, OH. Here’s what you get:

Construction Laborers

4,021 employers to add to your prospecting list!

Do you need to expand your employer network and create some new opportunities for your clients? There is no better way to go about accomplishing this goal than to identify local industries that are growing, need people, and offer jobs that fit your clients’ skills and/or educational backgrounds.

This tool is a great place to start!

Workforce Collaboration Case Study: Co-location at Two American Job Centers

Catholic Charities Diocese of Arlington, VA (CCMRS) stations two Employment Specialists part time at two American Job Centers.  This strategy delivers expanded refugee access to mainstream workforce resources and illustrates success factors that make colocation beneficial for clients, American Job Centers and CCMRS.

Read the case study online or download a PDF version if you prefer. You will learn

  • the advantages of locating Employment Specialists in an American Job Center;
  • how one CCMRS client accessed entrepreneurship training and, as a result, was able to open his own small business;
  • some of the program details and service access that can be adjusted for seamless client service access; and
  • the American Job Center perpective on this successful collaboration strategy.
About Higher’s Workforce Collaboration Case Study Series

This case study, written by professional writer and former CCMRS Job Developer Erin Voorheis, is one of five that Higher will make available over the coming months to help us all learn from each other about successful strategies for strengthening our collaboration with the mainstream workforce system so that refugees can better access workforce services provided across the country for all U.S. job seekers.

If you are collaborating with the workforce system in your community and want to share what you’re learning with peers across the country, get in touch at information@higheradvantage.org.

 

Workforce Collaboration Case Study: Ready for Retail Training for Refugee Youth

Photo Credit: ACC-DEN

Photo Credit: ACC-DEN

ECDC’s African Community Center of Denver, CO (ACC) shares what they have learned through a very successful training program for refugee youth that partners with two American Job Centers, funds ACC’s retail customer service training program and builds workplace skills for refugee youth.

Read the case study online or download a PDF version if you prefer. You will learn

  • how and why ACC began partnering with mainstream workforce centers;
  • how to register as an Eligible Training Provider to gain eligibility to receive WIOA training funds for participant training;
  • how ACC’s Ready for Retail training program developed over time and what participants say about how they benefitted; and
  • some of the lessons ACC learned that you can replicate in your own efforts.
About Higher’s Workforce Collaboration Case Study Series

This case study, written by Higher Peer Advisor Carrie Thiele, ACC Training Program Manager, is the first of five that Higher will make available over the coming months to help us all learn from each other about successful strategies for strengthening our collaboration with the mainstream workforce system so that refugees can better access workforce services provided across the country for all U.S. job seekers.

If you are collaborating with the workforce system in your community and want to share what you’re learning with peers across the country, get in touch at information@higheradvantage.org.

 

Request for Peer Support for Higher

money tree

How are you collaborating with the mainstream workforce system?  We want to learn what’s working and share it with our network.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) legislates the mainstream workforce system encompassing 2,500+ resource centers governed by local and State workforce boards.

WIOA is getting alot of buzz and includes lots of buzzwords. American Job Center (AJC). Workforce Development Board (WDB). Out of School Youth (OSY). On-the-Job-Training (OJT). 

Just the terminology alone can be confusing and overwhelming.

No matter what terms you use, refugees deserve increased access to the resources available for all U.S. job seekers.  We – the national refugee employment network- are in the best position to start building stronger bridges between the refugee resettlement network and the mainstream workforce system that houses all those resources.

There are a few well-known and long-standing examples. Higher has already begun to collect more from your peers in Washington, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa and Virginia.  We know there are more examples, but we need you to help us find them.

Call to Action

Before 2015 comes to a close, send a quick email to information@higheradvantage.org or get in touch with Lorel, Daniel or Sarah. Nothing formal required.  Just tell us about your experience or that of another refugee employment program.  We’ll take it from there.

11/4 Workforce Collaboration Webinar from ORR

peertaand an opportunity to help your peers and be a Higher guest blogger!

On November 4, 2015 from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. EST, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR)  will host a free webinar “Connecting Refugees to Workforce Development Opportunities: Promising Partnerships and the New Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).”

Higher and 120 of your peers from around the country will be in Omaha for our Second Annual Refugee Employment Workshop.   Here’s how you can help the refugee employment network (and Higher) so none of us miss this opportunity to learn.

  1. Register to attend the 11/4 webinar. (Click here.)
  2. Get in touch with us at information@higheradvantage.org if you’re interested in one or more of the following: Take thorough notes, call Higher to talk about what you learned or draft a blog post to share  with the network.  We’ll be offering modest honorariums as a thanks for your help. 

The webinar will highlight the opportunities for refugee organizations to enhance services and develop new partnerships with workforce development agencies with the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Common areas of service, performance metrics, and populations will be discussed to showcase the potential for national, state and local refugee agencies and organizations to enhance collaboration, partnerships, and deliver enhanced workforce programs for refugees.

Additionally, a speaker from the San Diego, California – International Rescue Committee will discuss the coordination and partnership between their organization and their local workforce investment board through their Connect2Work program, their Workforce Accelerator Grant, and Health Professions Opportunity Grant (HPOG) program in connecting youth and adult refugees to employment programs.

 

6 Talking Points to Convince Your Boss to Send You To Omaha!

raiseJoin us at Higher’s Second Annual Refugee Employment Workshop, 11/4-6 in Omaha, NE!

1. There’s no risk involved and results are guaranteed.  Attendance at Higher peer workshops have been a proven strategy for new hire orientation and professional development for refugee employment professionals for 18 years.

2. At only $250 + expenses, it’s a very affordable learning opportunity. Pay now or after the start of the next fiscal year.

3.  You’ll bring back tons of new ideas and information to benefit the entire team.  For example, we’ll offer two sessions you can replicate at a staff meeting and in your own job readiness classes.

4.  Your clients will benefit from significantly expanded job opportunities. You’ll learn from the international consultant who has helped peers in Colorado and Nebraska, who will share what’s working for them.

5. We’ll hear about the latest academic research on refugee career advancement strategies based on impact research from Dr. Faith Nibbs, Director of the Forced Migration Innovation Project at SMU in Dallas, TX.  (New session just confirmed.)

6. It’s easy to learn more and register.  Click here, visit our homepage or get in touch at information@higheradvantage.org with any questions.

5 Easy First Steps to WIOA Opportunities

Job Seekers from a Refugee Background

Our first Refugee Employment Infographic! Created by Sarah Vail.

If you aren’t feeling a little overwhelmed by all the webinars, toolkits and helpful information swirling around about the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), you haven’t been paying attention.

You’re not alone.

WIOA creates space for us to engage with the mainstream workforce system.  It’s also complex, confusing and implemented by a huge Department of Labor-funded system unfamiliar to many of us. The mainstream workforce system is gearing up to understand, interpret and implement WIOA, too. Now is the time to engage.

Where to start?

Here are the five things you can do this week. They’re all easy and draw on skills you already use every day in this work.

1.  Make contacts at your local Workforce Center.  The people working there share our goals of helping people find jobs.  They live in your community.  Some of them are probably your neighbors. Go to their office.  Meet them face to face.  Start a dialogue. No interpreter required.

2.  Prepare your case like you would for employers.  Think about what’s in it for THEM. You and our clients have alot to offer, but many workforce staff don’t know anything about us. It’s up to you to speak their language and convince them that refugees add value, just like we already do in our job development work.

3.  Download an Infographic Higher created to help you. 23 attendees at our NAWDP conference presentation thought these statistics were well-targeted and convincing. Be sure you leave contact information and a plan for next steps to keep the momentum going. (Our own infographic.  So cool.)

4.  Do your homework. There is a lot of information available.  Type WIOA in Higher’s home page search feature for links to the information we think will be most helpful.  You’ll get more out of the meeting if you’re well prepared.  Sounds like what we advise clients as they prepare for job interviews, right?

5.  Listen. Learn. Ask more questions about their work than you tell about your own. Try to understand their structure and identify other people you need to know – and convince. Think of it as an employability assessment that starts adjusting expectations.  Nothing new or scary about that.

Good luck.  Let us know how it goes at information@higheradvantage.org.

Job Seekers from a Refugee Background