ICT training and employability: Integrated service delivery in workforce development networks
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This study investigates how community-based organizations that provide basic technology training integrate it with other services and tap a network of service providers to improve employability prospects for lower-wage, lower-skill populations in the United States. Research focused on organizations that provide basic computer training and for whom employability is either a primary or main goal. Based on semi-structured, in-depth interviews with eight training organizations, more than 40 interviews with service providers, and 46 survey respondents from 19 states, research showed that: (1) Wrap-around services — such as job placement or assistance developing soft skills — complement basic computer training. That said, technology skills are necessary but not sufficient for employability. (2) Basic technology training is core. Community-based organizations often emphasize basic computer skills and rely on specialized training organizations for advanced training and certification. (3) Basic technology training can provide an entry point to formal education. (4) Most community-based organizations that provide training are highly collaborative and form partnerships to complement their services. They describe harmonious relationships with peers, specialized training organizations, government, and employers. (5) Partnerships with other community-based organizations and government agencies are most common for support services (e.g. transportation, housing, childcare). These services address indirect, important facets of employability. (6) Policy coordination with government agencies can engage stakeholders and coordinate policy to support technology and workforce goals. (7) Customization of training and coordination with employers is accomplished by conducting surveys and focus groups, creating advisory boards, and consulting local labor statistics. (8) New clients for basic computer training are recruited from across the network of service providers. The study also provides a summary of the practices observed in community-based organizations.
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