|Health Factors:||Education Employment|
|Decision Makers:||Educators Employers & Businesses Local Government State Government Federal Government Nonprofit Leaders|
|Population Reach:||50-99% of WI's population|
|Impact on Disparities:|
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Basic education and training programs for low-skilled, unemployed adults, often called career pathway and bridge programs or career ladders, teach basic skills (e.g., reading, math, writing, English language, or soft skills) and offer industry-specific training. Educational opportunities are designed to increase employment and build potential for promotion in high-growth industries and sectors. For example, a health care career ladder program can train hospital food service workers to become Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) and provide further training for CNAs to become Certified Medical Assistants (CMAs) or Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) (Mathematica-Gash 2010). Programs often include hands-on courses closely tied to in-demand jobs, coursework which transitions smoothly between basic and postsecondary education, and additional supports for low income and at-risk students.
Basic education & work training programs, in the form of career pathways and incumbent worker training programs, are suggested strategies to improve job quality within firms and the quality of available workers to fill open positions (Urban-Martinson 2010, Urban-Holzer 2008). Available evidence suggests that participation in career pathway and bridge programs can increase educational attainment (CCRC-Zeidenberg 2010), employment, and wages for low-skilled adult workers, especially when programs are industry-centered (Mathematica-Gash 2010, Maguire 2009). However, additional evidence is needed to confirm effects.
As of 2010, 515 programs in 345 communities in 47 states and DC had bridge programs, with an additional 80 programs reportedly in development (Alssid 2010). Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative and Washington State’s I-BEST program are two examples of comprehensive state career pathway and bridge programs (AR Pathways, WA-I-BEST). Other states have developed similar bridge and pathway programs.
There are some career pathways/bridges programs in Wisconsin, including the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership (WRTP)/BIG STEP, and the Regional Industry Skills Education (RISE) Initiative. The RISE program is a joint project between the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) and the Wisconsin Technical Colleges to promote job training and employment in regional industries (RISE). WRTP/BIG STEP’s Center of Excellence for Skilled Trades and Industry provides assessment, preparation and placements for job candidates, also working with employers, unions, and community organizations (WRTP).