New Tool Provides Models of Creative 21st Century Talent Development Strategies

Work&LearnCOVERBORDER2The National Network of Business and Industry Associations released a guidebook for employers to understand and adopt work-and-learn programs, including modernized internships, apprenticeships and mentorships.

Led by Business Roundtable and ACT Foundation, the National Network is a collaboration of 25 business organizations representing 10 economic sectors, and focuses on connecting the worlds of learning and work. The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) is a member of the National Network, representing the clean energy sector.

Work-and-Learn in Action: Successful Strategies for Employers highlights 15 real-life models, providing a blueprint to help companies implement similar strategies that improve workforce recruitment, training and advancement.

The guidebook underscores the range of ways that employers are increasingly involved in addressing the skills gap, which is leaving an estimated 4 million jobs unfilled. The examples featured can help more companies design work-based learning opportunities for more students and workers who need new skills.

Recent reports show there are 14 million working learners in the United States –individuals who are formally enrolled in postsecondary learning while also active in the labor market – who are seeking simultaneous opportunities to gain skills and work experiences that lead to good jobs. Companies can use the guidebook to create work-and-learn programs that connect to this working-learner talent pool.

Illustrating real examples from a wide range of company sizes and industries – from healthcare and hospitality to manufacturing and construction – the guidebook explains the benefits of integrating work experience and learning for both employers and individuals. Educators and workforce development professionals, who are working to help students connect what they are learning in school to what they will need to know in the workplace, can find valuable, current information in the real-life examples in the guidebook.

“Businesses must be committed to collaborating with their local communities in developing strategies to grow the next generation of local, skilled talent,” said Mario Lozoya, Director, Government Relations and External Affairs, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas, Inc., whose Alamo Academies dual-enrollment model is highlighted in the guidebook. “Those communities with engaged businesses that focus on growing local talent will be the surviving and globally competitive communities of tomorrow.”

Key components of the guidebook include: a checklist for determining what quality work-and-learn models should entail; an analysis of the value of work-and-learn programs to companies and working learners; a list of key questions for employers to consider in designing programs that meet their specific needs; and a glossary of common work-and-learn terms.

“It has been extremely gratifying to see these talented individuals develop right in our ‘backyard’ with an opportunity to recruit them for full-time employment upon graduation,” said Jeff Cobb, Senior Engineering Manager, Medtronic, which participates in a university co-op program to recruit manufacturing talent. “With the talent and successes that the CME [co-op] program brings to Medtronic, this strategy has been secured to support our overall business initiatives going forward.”

To access the downloadable PDF, click here [hr] 

About the National Network
The National Network of Business and Industry Associations (National Network) represents major business sectors and is co-operated by Business Roundtable and ACT Foundation. Members include leaders in the manufacturing, retail, healthcare, energy, construction, hospitality, transportation, professional and business, and information technology sectors. They represent the source of nearly 75 percent of projected U.S. job growth through 2020 (an estimated 30 million new jobs). More information on the National Network can be found here.