WorkAdvance provided intensive training and employment services to low-skilled workers to meet the needs of workers and local employers and improve employment outcomes.
The WorkAdvance model included five key elements: (1) intensive screening of worker-participants before enrollment; (2) preemployment and work-readiness services, including career coaching, supportive services, and provision of labor market information, all tailored to a specific vocational sector; (3) occupational skills training focused on current job openings; (4) job development and placement; and (5) provision of follow-up retention services in collaboration with employers. Intensive screening lasted up to seven days, with requirements varying at each site. The screening ensured that worker-participants were interested in long-term employment in the relevant sector and had the basic skills needed to be successful (for example, literacy and math skills). The WorkAdvance preemployment services were also sector specific. Each program site chose one or more occupations of focus. Occupational skills training was designed to last between 4 and 32 weeks; the average individual who enrolled in WorkAdvance received 13 weeks of occupational training. Job development staff were expected to have strong relationships with employers to help place participants into positions relevant to their new skill sets. Retention services included ongoing coaching and regular check-ins with employers on workers’ performance.
WorkAdvance focused on recruiting individuals ages 18 or older who were legally allowed to work in the United States, had a monthly family income less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level, and earned less than $15 per hour, if employed. The study took place in four sites: Bronx, NY; Brooklyn, NY; Tulsa, OK; and Cleveland, OH.