The WorkAdvance model aims to meet the needs of less-skilled workers and local employers by providing training and employment services in fields with high local demand.

The WorkAdvance model aims to meet the needs of less-skilled workers and local employers by providing training and employment services in fields with high local demand.

The WorkAdvance model includes five key elements: (1) intensive screening before enrollment; (2) preemployment and work-readiness services, including career coaching, supportive services, and 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. It is a versatile model that organizations implement in various ways.

Madison Strategies Group, a nonprofit provider in Tulsa, OK, implemented the WorkAdvance model with an emphasis on the transportation and manufacturing sectors. Madison Strategies Group first implemented the model by offering a placement-first approach, which included intensive screening and work-readiness services and which allowed participants who were able to qualify for a job in the targeted sector to skip occupational skills training and seek immediate employment. In fall 2012, Madison Strategies Group switched to a training-first approach in which participants attended training before job placement. Madison Strategies Group delivered preemployment services in 5 sessions of 6 hours each, and occupational skills training lasted 4 to 32 weeks. Preemployment coaching consisted of one-on-one meetings and weekly group meetings. Supportive services included transportation vouchers and referrals for help with work clothing, legal issues, or housing issues. 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.

WorkAdvance is a sector-based workforce development model whose design was informed by prior research on sector strategies and career advancement. Madison Strategies Group WorkAdvance is a specific version of the WorkAdvance model. Three other sites implemented the WorkAdvance model as part of the WorkAdvance Demonstration, each with differing length, breadth, and depth of services: St. Nick’s Alliance in Brooklyn, NY; Towards Employment in northeast Ohio; and Per Scholas in the Bronx, New York City.

Year evaluation began: 2011
Populations and employment barriers:
Intervention services: Case management, Employment retention services, Soft skills training, Supportive services, Training, Occupational or sectoral training, Work readiness activities, Employment coaching, Job search assistance, Job development/job placement
Setting(s): Urban only

Effectiveness rating and effect by outcome domain

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Outcome domain Term Effectiveness rating Effect in 2018 dollars and percentages Effect in standard deviations Sample size
Increase earnings Short-term Little evidence to assess support favorable $586 per year 0.028 697
Long-term Little evidence to assess support favorable $1,799 per year 0.086 697
Very long-term Little evidence to assess support favorable $816 per year 0.039 697
Increase employment Short-term Little evidence to assess support favorable 2% (in percentage points) 0.056 697
Long-term Little evidence to assess support favorable 2% (in percentage points) 0.037 697
Very long-term Little evidence to assess support unfavorable 0% (in percentage points) -0.008 697
Decrease benefit receipt Short-term No evidence to assess support
Long-term Little evidence to assess support favorable $-72 per year -0.026 560
Very long-term Little evidence to assess support favorable $-94 per year -0.034 697
Increase education and training All measurement periods No evidence to assess support

Studies of this intervention

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Study quality rating Study counts per rating
High High 1