The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Employment and Training Administration’s (ETA) ongoing High Growth Job Training Initiative engages business, education, and the workforce investment system in developing solutions to the challenges facing high-growth industries. Research continues to show that the Health Care industry, and 13 others, has jobs, with solid career paths, that go unfilled due to a lack of skilled workers. The DOL/ETA initiative continues to drive KRA to target education and skills-development programs that prepare jobseekers with the skills they need to build successful careers in these growing industries. Not all regions have all 14 industries located within their jurisdictions, but in the communities we serve, KRA is at the forefront of providing education and training for our jobseeker-customers to meet the employment needs of our high-growth employer-customers. The following three profiles are representative examples of KRA’s placement success in the Health Care field in the Waccamaw Region of South Carolina.
Deborah Riddick, a 51-year old high school graduate, needed help in finding long-term, reliable employment. She had worked in retail as a sales associate and department manager, but was laid off. Finding her eligible for the KRA/SCWorks WIA (Workforce Investment Act) Dislocated Workers Program, Joseph Watson, KRA Career Agent, enrolled Deborah and worked with her on developing an Individual Employment Plan (IEP), which included a series of assessments to determine her abilities, aptitudes, and interests. It was no surprise that Deborah scored high on customer-service orientation, but it also appeared she had a real interest in Nursing. While Watson researched the best training options for her, as well as ITA*-approval, KRA’s Business Services unit placed her on a paid, 6-week Work Experience Contact (WEC) at a local social services organization. The WEC provided Deborah with immediate income, as well as more current work experience for her resume. When the WEC ended, based on Watson’s research, he recommended a 6-week Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) course at the Medical Training Center. With an approved ITA, Deborah enrolled in the course, and graduated on October 17, 2011. After helping her create a new-and-improved resume, Deborah followed through on several job leads. Less than 3 months later, she was hired as a fulltime CNA by a local KRA business-customer in the nursing-home business. Watson concluded, “This could be just the beginning of Deborah’s Nursing career; she is bright and motivated. With solid CNA experience, and further training, she could go as far as her as goals take her in the Health Care field.”
*Individual Training Account, a WIA-paid voucher approved for jobseeker-customers who need additional funds to cover tuition and books at WIA-approved education and training institutions.
Pamela McClary was 26, married, and the mother of a young daughter when she enrolled in the KRA/SCWorks Program on August 17, 2010. She had a job when she came to KRA, but considered herself under-employed, wanted to train for a new career in the Health Care field. When Kathy Hammond, KRA Career Agent, enrolled Pamela in the WIA Adult Workers Program, she discovered that Pamela was highly motivated and had already been accepted into the Health Science Practical Nursing Program at Williamsburg Technical College (WTC) for the June 2010 semester, but did not have the financial resources to enroll. And, after training, she needed structured assistance and guidance in finding a job. Starting at the beginning of the process, Hammond worked with Pamela on her long-range IEP, which included basic-skills assessment, resume preparation, interviewing skills, training assistance through an approved ITA, and job-search methods and techniques. Hammond reported, “With her ITA voucher approved, Pamela was re-accepted by WTC for the Fall 2010 semester of the LPN [Licensed Practical Nurse] Program. We were also successful in obtaining WIA funds to help her with nursing uniforms and equipment. She kept a 3.0 GPA, and stayed in touch with me all along the way.” Patricia completed the WTC Program on August 8, 2011…one year after coming to KRA…attained her certification, passed her State Board Examination, and is successfully employed fulltime as an LPN with a local nursing-home facility, a KRA business-customer.
Tina White, a 30-year old mother of two, was having difficulty finding employment when she enrolled in the KRA/SCWorks Program. Assigned to Unandi Ward, KRA Career Agent, Tina was enrolled in the WIA Adult Workers Program. During intake, Ward discovered that Tina was not interested in training. She had once been a licensed Pharmacy Technician, and wanted KRA to help her return to that line of work. Ward explained to Tina that KRA was not an employment agency; rather KRA provides individualized workforce development services that thoroughly prepare jobseeker-customers for entering or returning to the right job in the workplace. Tina understood that, in the long-term, she would benefit greatly from Ward’s expertise in career counseling and guidance, developing a customized IEP, determining short- and long-range career objectives, honing interviewing skills, and preparing a proper updated resume. Consequently, Tina completed several comprehensive and specialized job-readiness workshops offered by KRA, at the same time getting her license renewed. After going on several interviews, Tina was offered a job on March 3, 2012, as a Lead Pharmacy Technician with a local KRA business-customer that operates an assisted-living facility. Ward concluded, “Even though Tina knew what she wanted, that was perhaps a short-term solution to her unemployment problem. We were able to help her look farther down her career path. Not only is she prepared for her first job back in the pharmacy field, she is also equipped with workplace skills that will stay with her a long time. Tina was also pleasantly surprised to learn that through WIA, we were able to help her obtain the ‘scrubs’ she needed for the job.”