Engaging Employers in Adult Career Pathway Programming: Where Do I Start?

Engaging Employers in Adult Career Pathway Programming: Where Do I Start?

A fully-realized adult career pathway program requires a complex set of partners collaborating to serve participants effectively, a pathway that allows accelerated movement from ABE levels into post-secondary or other training and into livable wage employment.

Engaging employers

Employer involvement in the design and delivery of career pathway programs is crucial. But what does that look like on the ground? How do you communicate effectively with employers about career pathways in response to the employment gaps they face? What roles can employers take? How do I sustain relationships over time? A variety of tools are at your fingertips!

Engaging Employers in Adult Career Pathways Online Course

This 2-hour self-paced course from LINCS is a great place to start. It helps ABE professionals understand how to identify, engage, and sustain engagement of appropriate employers in the development of career pathway programs. ATLAS created a helpful Note-Taking Guide to get the most out of the online course.

“One of my take-aways from the LINCS course is that I really need to talk with and listen more to employers to further understand their needs, and to have that infuse the ‘bridge’ curriculum we’re designing.”
– Chris Dahlke, Coordinator, Winona Adult Literacy

Career Pathways Toolkit – Identify Industry Sectors and Engage Employers

Part of an extensive six-section Toolkit, Career Pathways Toolkit: Element Two (subtitled Identify Industry Sectors and Engage Employers) provides useful guidance and tools to identify industry sectors; conduct labor market analysis; clarify roles of employers in program development and operations; and sustain and expand business partnerships. (U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration, 2017)

Here are examples of useful tools and graphics from this resource:

Online resource library of tools

The ATLAS ACP resource library for adult career pathway program development has numerous tools to guide your work. Check out the Employer Engagement section for these and other tools.

Career pathway program development cohort – learn and do with support from peers

Consider joining a year-long professional development cohort for ABE administrators that includes lots of peer support for figuring out the complexities of the work in your own unique context. The best way for many of us to move this work forward locally is to have a structured professional development experience that provides best practices and tools, then a process to set one’s own goals and action steps in priority areas.

“Participating in the cohort, with its structure and accountability, has pushed us to achieve things we wouldn’t have otherwise. We are in the process of creating an advisory council of healthcare employers and workforce partners, which will be a huge boost to collaborating on a healthcare pathway. Ultimately it is the adult learners who benefit as they become equipped for livable wage jobs in the health sector.”
– Kellie McGowan, Director, Metro South ABE

See a previous article for a complete description of the cohort. The application form is due Friday, June 8, 2018. Contact Liz Andress, ATLAS Adult Career Pathways Consultant, at [email protected] with questions.

Liz Andress, Adult Career Pathways Consultant ATLAS