Serving Growth Sectors Holistically: KRA & PGWorks
In addition, an NPEP component provides assistance for non-custodial parents struggling to meet child-support obligations due to lack of employment, and KRA Corporation’s Job-Readiness Academy capitalizes on customers’ abilities, interests, and skills, incorporating them into Individual Responsibility Plans for workforce success.
KRA\PGWorks is currently in the advance-planning stage for the late-2016 opening of MGM National Harbor. The hospitality industry is a growth sector in Maryland, and the casino-resort is expected to create 3,600 new jobs in PG County. In preparation for this influx of opportunities, KRA initiated a partnership with MGM and multiple County economic-, education-, and workforce-services providers, including a direct connection to PG County Community College, which will provide job-training tailored to MGM’s skills-requirements, without additional investment from the company.
As part of the multi-partnership agreement, KRA and the PG County American Job Center (AJC) network have created an inter-program referral process that enrolls eligible PGWorks jobseekers into AJC Adult Services, under which they will qualify for financial assistance through WIOA-funded Individual Training Accounts.
Committed to the relationship and the support being provided by PGWorks and its partnership-network, MGM hiring managers are keeping KRA informed of hiring plans–including application processes, timelines, position openings, job qualifications, training requirements, and progress–over the coming year.
Pathway to Career Attainment: KRA & Camden County Workforce Investment Board
KRA/Camden’s workforce-development programs serve Adult TANF recipients, with dependent children; Adult General Assistance recipients, without dependent children; TANF Out-of-School Youth (OSY), ages 16-20; and OSY not receiving TANF benefits. Many customers have limited or no work experience, or have worked in industries with little growth potential. For these jobseekers, qualifying for and finding work that provides a living wage and stability is extremely difficult.
We are addressing these workforce challenges successfully, generating extremely positive outcomes for jobseekers, using KRA’s Quality and Customer Service and Regionalism and Models to focus on identifying viable career paths in one of the region’s high-demand industries, i.e. Allied Healthcare.
At the same time the region struggles with above-average unemployment rates, there are many open opportunities for Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA). For this occupational group, employment is projected to stay strong due to the high demand for healthcare services related to an aging and elderly population; an increasing need for home-based healthcare; and unfilled CNA positions in assisted-living facilities, nursing homes, and hospitals.
According to BLS statistics, growth is expected to increase at a rate of 21%, creating more than 30,000 new jobs annually by 2022. Unfortunately, however, demand in this fast-growing sector has resulted in huge increases in the cost of CNA-credentialing programs, making them unattainable for many jobseekers, including our own TANF/OSY customers.
With CCWIB providing indispensable tuition-financing, KRA/Camden was able to develop a dynamic 3-way partnership to create the Education, Professionalism, and Entrance into Certification Program, a promising career pathway for OSY who receive TANF benefits.
KRA/Camden OSY Instructors provide Education, ensuring that enrollees without high school diplomas obtain a GED, required for training. Professionalism includes many workforce-prep activities and services, provided by Career Agents, who also collaborate with partner, Image and Attitude, ensuring occasion-appropriate attire when needed. And, Entrance and Certification are achieved through Prep Institute, the CNA training/credentialing vendor-partner.
Anticipating that the CNA career-development program might prove challenging for some participants, OSY staff strive continuously to prevent disappointment, frustration, and lack-of-progress, a recipe for almost certain failure. Preemptively, an Individual Strategic Plan (ISP), with realistic and measurable goals and objectives, is developed with each student. Continuous ISP review-and-update provides just the motivational incentive needed by the students to complete the program, and to begin self-sustaining careers in a high-growth, in-demand occupation.
Regional Approach to Youth Unemployment: KRA’s Knowledge2Careers Academy
KRA/K2C enjoys the full support of the Office of the Long Beach Mayor, Dr. Robert Garcia, whose “CALL” initiative, the heart of the Long Beach Internship Challenge, is supported by the PGWDB, the Long Beach Unified School District, Long Beach City College, and California State University-Long Beach (CSULB), all pledging to intensify efforts to provide more internships for youth, thereby developing a more educated and prepared workforce.
In addition, KRA/K2C has partnered with other organizations, including the Long Beach Unified School District’s Youth Employment Network, Transition Age Youth Academy, and the Educational Partnership High School to provide next-level career and educational guidance to prepare youth for high-demand careers. YMCA Change Agent Productions, the CSULB Educational Opportunity Center, and the Harbor Association of Industry and Commerce are also valuable KRA/K2C partners, providing enrolled youth with additional academic remediation, educational advancement, work experience, and employment opportunities.
KRA/K2C equips youth to qualify for high-demand careers, within the Long Beach labor-market demographic, through occupational-skills training that is linked directly to educational attainment and national, industry-recognized credentialing in Manufacturing and Logistics, Microsoft Office, and Retail and Customer Sales and Service. Additionally, all enrolled youth are eligible to receive the National Work Readiness Certification offered through the PGWDB.
Enrolled youth are also provided “soft skills” development training, including work-readiness and retention skills; enhanced self-awareness as it relates to communication, judgment, and engagement in the workplace; budgeting and financial literacy; and civic-leadership participation.
The comprehensive array of resources available through the KRA/K2C partnership-network provides a cohesive integrated service-delivery system, resulting in promising career opportunities–and bright futures–for young people in the region.