Working Partnership: Workforce development and adult schools team up to promote job readiness
A look at one of our changemaking clients, State Center Adult Education Consortium
by Gail Allyn Short
Today, many job sectors are experiencing worker shortages. But filling those open positions means workers must have the education needed to qualify for those jobs.
In fact, two-thirds of jobs in the next 10 to 20 years will require some level of post-secondary training, says Tracie Scott-Contreras, Executive Director of the Workforce Development Board of Madera County.
The Workforce Development Board works with community partners to make sure local businesses have the talent pipeline to meet their needs now and in the future.
Among those partners are adult schools. They offer high school diploma and equivalency programs, career tech programs, certifications and more so graduates can successfully enter the job market.
“There are certain jobs that have huge hiring needs,” says Scott-Contreras. “Healthcare is certainly one of those. Anything in transportation and logistics or supply chain-related (jobs) are in demand, too. Hospitality and tourism-related businesses are struggling.”
The board partners specifically with adult schools and community colleges to provide affordable ways for people to train for good-paying, in-demand jobs in areas such as agriculture – including ag-tech and ag business – as well as transportation and logistics, advanced manufacturing, healthcare, retail, hospitality and tourism, and the construction trades.
“Regionally, we’re also involved in training for green energy careers and are beginning to look at occupations in water systems,” she says.
“Many adult schools offer unique and targeted vocational and career tech education opportunities and most of them come at little or no cost to the students,” she adds.
The board works with adult schools in three primary areas: First, it refers English-language learners to adult schools for ESL instruction, so they will be more marketable and competitive in the labor market, she says.
“Adult schools are a wonderful resource regardless of whether you’re looking for educational assistance, job-seeking assistance or skills development.”Tracie Scott-Contreras
Executive Director, Workforce Development Board of
Second, it connects individuals lacking a high school diploma to the adult schools’ high school diploma and high school equivalency programs, so they can qualify for jobs requiring that level of education.
“The third way that we work with adult schools is to make sure that we have strong referral processes in place for individuals who are completing programs and are ready to move into post-secondary training, vocational training, an apprenticeship or directly into the labor market,” Scott-Contreras says.
Additionally, transition specialists with the State Center Adult Education Consortium are available to help adult school graduates move on to the next step in their education or training.
“Adult schools are a wonderful resource regardless of whether you’re looking for educational assistance, job-seeking assistance or skills development,” she says. “So it’s important that people know that these programs are here for the community.”
Read the full publication here.
Related: No Barriers: A look at one of our changemaking clients, ADVANCE Lake Tahoe Adult Education Consortium.