Training…

Aug 22, 2014 by

Written by David Augustinho
August 22nd 2014
Barnstable Patriot
 So, this week The New York Times published a story castigating the Workforce Investment System in the U.S. for poor training results. I disagree with the Times, and I can point out multiple success stories that refute their somewhat superficial analysis.

First of all, for every negative outcome that was presented in the story I can point to a large number of successful outcomes. In the Times story one of the trainees that they wrote about trained at a private training school to be a cardiology technician. The gentleman was an out-of-work construction worker who was trying to land a job in a new occupation. The school sold him a bill of goods, promising a certain job within a few weeks of graduation.

Well, someone did not do their homework. Someone at the school, and/or someone at the Career Center that the gentleman went to, should have had a better handle on the hiring needs of health care providers in the region.

The fact is that the gentleman did not find a good-paying job right away; as a matter of fact he hasn’t found a job in the field he trained for yet. While this can be looked at as a failure of the workforce development system, it is one story out of thousands, and I can assure you that many more individuals trained for and were hired into new careers through our system.

One of the red flags that I see in the story above is that the gentleman sought out training at a private, for-profit institution. The school had a vested interest in enrolling the trainee so that they would receive the tuition that was provided, partly with federal funds and partly paid by the individual.

If the “system” is at fault in this scenario it is because someone did not do a good enough job investigating the number of jobs available for newly trained cardiology technicians in the region. That is something that the Cape and Islands WIB does on a regular basis as we consult with potential trainees.

For example, the WIB is in year two of a training program that is funded by the state. Before we received the funding we met with employers; in this case it was health care employers,. We asked them what their hiring needs would be over a two-year period.

They responded that they would need a large number of Certified Nursing Assistants, some RN’s, some Medical Assistants and some training in ICD 10, which is medical coding.

The WIB then wrote a grant to help meet these identified needs. We built in a case manager to assist our trainees as they developed along their educational journey. We paid for transitional employment opportunities for the trainees to help them get through the first month of being on the job. Finally we are providing a year of follow-up case management to ensure that our trainees can stay on the job and advance in their new careers.

By the way, even with all of the safeguards mentioned above not all of our trainees will be successful. But, as I said before, for every poor training outcome I can easily demonstrate a wealth of successful interventions that have changed lives for the better.

Training for young workers who do not currently have a career path to follow, retraining for older workers who need to change careers, and upgrading skills of current employees to open new opportunities are positive and successful strategies that the workforce development system uses to assist individuals find meaningful and appropriate work and businesses to have available dependable trained workers.

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