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Upcoming Events

ACT State Organizations Events

Arizona ACT Summit

December 4, 2018
Desert Willow Conference Center
Phoenix, AZ

Alabama ACT Conference

December 6, 2018
University of Alabama
Tuscaloosa, AL

Kansas ACT Mini-Conference

January 15, 2019
Wichita State University
Wichita, KS

ACT will be exhibiting at these upcoming conferences. Will you be there? Stop by to say hi!

Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) CareerTech Vision 2018

November 29-December 1
San Antonio, Texas

American Association of Community Colleges Workforce Development Institute (AACC WDI)

January 30-Feb. 2, 2019
San Diego, California

Recap: ACT Workforce Summit

Last month, hundreds of workforce development professionals - educators, economic developers, job profilers, educators, and more - gathered at the ACT Workforce Summit (WFS) in New Orleans. Attendees traveled to the Big Easy to network and learn how to "Unmask the Potential" to grow communities and sustain a robust workforce. Topics ranged from apprenticeships, credential alignment, innovations in career and technical education, and so much more!

In case you missed it, here are three key takeaways:

1. Work-based learning is working.

Work-based learning can take many forms - from internships, co-ops, apprenticeships, match-to-employer, career pathways, and much more. The common denominator is giving students real-life work experiences that provide them the opportunity to apply academic and technical skills and ultimately increasing their employability. Work-based learning programs are invaluable to the economy because they provide an opportunity for students to connect the education they receive in the classroom to the workplace.

Roy O. Martin III, president, CEO and CFO of RoyOMartin was the Work Ready Communities Awards Luncheon speaker. He explained that it's not enough to have a credential or a job, but rather challenged the audience to evaluate if their work-based learning programs lead to gainful employment. Roy encouraged attendees to build a talent pipeline through work-based learning programs as early as middle school with career exploration and retain the workforce supply by maintaining structured programs.

Roy also underscored the importance of "getting the right people on the bus." He would know too, since the Louisiana-based forestry and wood-products manufacturer that he leads did just that. RoyOMartin raised the quality of new hires while reducing turnover and costs by implementing a system to validate applicants ability against requirements of the job. This message of including key stakeholders leads to the next major theme of the conference.

2. Collaboration and partnerships are key to successful economic development.

It's necessary to invite the right people to the table to maximize impact on a community. Throughout the conference, we heard stories about how collaborative relationships make a dramatic impact.

The opening keynote of the conference provided concrete examples of "How New Orleans Has Redefined Workforce Development Post-Hurricane Katrina.” The discussion highlighted the collective impact of the work that was possible when government, business, anchor employers, and philanthropy work together. In order to recover from the hurricane, key leaders in the community presented how to get different systems to work in sync. By placing strategic links between workforce development, education, and industry, New Orleans leaders have created opportunities for growth and development for residents while creating a healthier community.

3. Listen to understand the needs of the community.

Over and over, speakers and panelists underscored the importance of listening first - listening to the employer, listening to the job seeker and the students, and listening to the educators, etc. Workforce development is a coordinated effort among different facets of the economy, and therefore, it is most effective as a collaborative effort. Throughout the conference, we developed a list of best practices to develop a sustainable workforce model:

  • Ask employers what their greatest needs or employment gaps are to determine how to develop the talent pipeline. 
  • Develop career pathways, rather than just entry level positions. 
  • See residents as a solution to the challenge and reengage them into the workforce. 
  • Utilize retired professionals to train the talent pipeline in high school and post-secondary education. 
  • Provide a guarantee that a job will be offered if a training program is successfully completed. 
  • Pilot, test, and pivot as necessary.

What were your biggest takeaways from the 2018 Workforce Summit?

We'd love to hear what you learned and are now implementing so your communities can continue to thrive and prosper.

Couldn't join us in New Orleans? Follow ACT on Twitter and join the conversation at #ACTWorkforce.

One speaker from the ACT Workforce Summit, Laura Faulker of Credential Engine, shared her insights about "Unmasking the Potential of the U.S. Workforce with Credential Data" on the ACT blog. Check out how credentials are impacting industry professionals in retail, restaurant, and hospitality reach their full potential.

Articles and Resources

ICYMI: How Prior Learning Assessment and the ACT® WorkKeys® National Career Readiness Certificate®
Go Hand-In-Hand

Do you want to increase enrollment and build the talent pipeline? Research reveals that students who earn credit through prior learning assessment (PLA) persist to graduation at a greater rate than those who do not earn credit. The American Council on Education recommends college credit for levels of the NCRC.

The NCRC demonstrates college-level competency, predicts future success, and can generate revenue for your institution. Last month, we hosted a webinar about how to incorporate the NCRC into your PLA program.

Watch the webinar to:

  • Explore the benefits of PLA
  • Make connections between NCRC levels and postsecondary performance
  • Examine ways to award credit for the NCRC
  • See examples of success stories from higher education institutions

 Discover how awarding credit for the NCRC can impact your institution.

Ready to take the next step?

We’re ready to help you determine how ACT® Workforce Solutions can benefit your institution. Fill out the form to have a conversation with ACT about implementing the NCRC into your PLA program.

Success Story: How Partnerships, Internships, and Apprenticeships Improved Hiring Practices

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company improved manufacturing processes to become technology driven and realized their hiring practices needed a similar update. The changes in hiring and training resulted in 2,100 hours saved.

To make the pre-hire screening and hiring process more robust, the North Carolina-based company needed a new system to keep up with the innovative changes already applied to their manufacturing processes. First, they turned to ACT job profiles to objectively evaluate job requirements. This step was just the beginning. See how they used partnerships, internships, and apprenticeships to engage the community, and ultimately increase retention while decreasing training time.

Reimagine Apprenticeships: The Coders of Kentucky

When you think about a career in coding, Kentucky isn’t the first place that comes to mind. That hasn’t stopped apprenticeships in coding from transforming the Bluegrass State.

Mobile and web application development firm Interapt set up shop in Louisville in 2011 and set out to transform Middle America. The impetus for the movement was to shift away from outsourcing technology jobs overseas and bring them to regions that are “poor in jobs but rich in work ethic” such as Eastern Kentucky. Graduates of the apprenticeship program share how they went from working several minimum wage jobs to modifying information architecture or building mobile applications. Similar to the takeaways from the ACT Workforce Summit, this story highlights the importance of workforce development as a collaborative effort among government and industry.

Ask the Expert: Insight for Developing Apprenticeships for Economic Development

Question: How can an employer develop or strengthen an apprenticeship program?
Answer: See what Cindy Hill, Principal Research Psychologist at ACT, had to say:

A huge challenge in creating a skilled workforce is “building a bridge” between job seekers and employers.

Work-based learning programs, such as pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships, provide the opportunity to successfully develop the skills needed for a strong workforce. This fall, we hosted a webinar about using Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funding to increase apprenticeship programs.

View the webinar to learn about:

  • Three different examples modeling a strong apprenticeship program 
  • Use cases for developing successful apprenticeship candidates as part of a pre-apprenticeship program 
  • The role job profiling plays in aligning job tasks and skills to close the skills gap 
  • Best practices for how to use the ACT WorkKeys® as part of an apprenticeship program 
  • Real-world example of an apprenticeship program that leverages WorkKeys