Demand-driven Skills Training Receives Fed's Boost

The push for demand-driven skills training continues to make news. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced the award of a further $474.5 million grant to a training program initiative that is aimed at boosting opportunities for U.S. workers, as well as bolstering the workforce’s future competitiveness.

The latest series of grants is a continuing countrywide attempt to use tertiary education facilities (community colleges and universities) to develop and expand innovative occupational skills training (OST) programs for those unemployed workers affected by foreign trade.

These programs, part of the multiyear Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant program, are being developed in collaboration with area employers that represent industries of growth.

This round of funding is also earmarked to expand the partnerships, incorporating work-based training aimed at blending on-the-job training (OJT) with the types of practical application of skills that particular industries seek from workers.

The notion of targeted OJT is gaining increased attention from many quarters with experts like Robert Lerman and Robert Ketchum, PhD (which KRA Corporation highlighted in a recent post) insisting that OJT programs and apprenticeships should be more deeply explored by both government and employers alike in developing pertinent job skills.

The “ladder of opportunity” has been a recurring theme used by DOL’s Secretary, Tom Perez. While speaking about the grants to the Front Range Community College in Westminster, CO, he again stressed the importance of skills and training in helping to stimulate the economy.

He states: “Helping people acquire new skills and access new training programs allows them to climb ladders of opportunity to secure a foothold in the middle class. Building human capital in this way is one key way to accelerate the recovery and unleash the economy’s full potential.”

Penny Pritzker, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, furthered the sentiment by insisting that workforce competitiveness will come from updated requisite skills, but that employer partnerships are an important part of program development success.

Secretary Pritzker stated: “For America’s workforce to be competitive in the 21st century, our workers must possess the skills employers need for their businesses to succeed. That is why employers should partner with educational institutions and government to help develop curriculum and credentialing programs at the local level.”

KRA Corporation is an active provider of demand-driven OJT and OST programs that meet specific employer- and labor-market needs, allowing our business customers to hire and train individuals, thus creating qualified workers for their own businesses and others in the community.  A few examples include:

  • The multi-site San Diego Metro Region One-Stop Career Center Program, funded through WIA, provides regional employers that have specific workforce requirements a full range of OJT and OST options.
  • The TANF Employment Program in Washington, DC, provides OST for customers in need of intensive job-readiness preparation to meet local labor-market demands.
  • The Waccamaw Region, SC, One-Stop Program, funded through WIA, adheres to a sector-driven strategy, targeting service businesses in high-growth industries, and tailoring OJT and OST services to the needs of employers in the Region.
  • The TANF-funded Virginia Initiative for Employment not Welfare Program, for which KRA is routinely recognized for its positive Work Participation Rate by FEP, the State’s Full Employment Program, is a customized OST operation under which employers define their workforce needs and KRA provides qualified candidates to participate in OJTs to meet those needs.

KRA Corporation remains steadfastly in favor of legislative, policy, and program creation that provide services targeted to the needs of our jobseeker-customers and the demands of our employer-customers, thereby enhancing jobseeker skills and widening employer access to a qualified, competitive labor pool.