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Program Administrator/Human Resources

Resources for program administrators and human resources personnel
seeking to help either potential or incumbent workers upgrade needed skills

How do we market a workplace education program to employers? What about the cost/benefit ratio?

What kinds of assessments are appropriate and useful in workforce education?

What are the challenges to collaboration among agencies such as education, labor, and economic development?

Check these resources for answers to your questions!

How do I set up an effective workplace education program?

Developing and Evaluating Workplace Literacy Programs: A Handbook for Practitioners and trainers
This resource is a handbook for starting a workplace literacy program. Methods for developing a program are outlined including establishing a planning group, analyzing the need for education, locating funding sources, and gaining the support of management and employees. Aspects of program development covered include conducting a literacy task analysis, designing relevant curriculum using materials from learners’ jobs, recruiting learners to a program, and both formative and summative evaluation.

New Ways of Learning in the Workplace
Given the increased age, variety of experiences, and diverse lifestyles and cultures of the working population, it is understandable that adult education practices must move beyond the traditional model of teachers as purveyors of knowledge and learners as passive recipients. This ERIC Digest addresses some of the new ways to learn at work, such as action learning, situated learning, and incidental learning.

Adult Education at Work
This 148 page handbook provides a step-by-step model for Adult Basic Education program administrators to use in developing an effective workplace education program. It includes information on surveying ABE programs and communities and marketing these programs to employers and communities.

Two articles found on the Workforce Online commercial site are instructive. You must register in order to access articles but registration is free. Workplace Literacy Best Practices lists and develops seven characteristics of an effective workplace literacy program as reported by the National Alliance of Business and the National Workforce Assistance Collaborative. Basic Skills Training 101 discusses how a company would develop a successful workplace literacy program to help employees improve the skills needed to retain their jobs, advance their careers and increase company productivity.

Importance of Culture: Four Models for Workplace Basic Skills
Four models that provide a starting point for planning workplace basic skills programs are described and discussed. This paper emphasizes the importance of respecting the unique culture and characteristics reflected in each workplace when providing workplace training and services.

New Perspectives on Mentoring
This ERIC Digest looks at new forms of and perspectives on mentoring as staff development in the workplace and the kinds of learning that result from mentoring relationships.

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How do we market a workplace education program to employers? What about the cost/benefit ratio?

Profiting from Learning: Do Firms’ Investments in Education and Training Pay Off?
Training data collected by ASTD from one year compared to publicly-reported financial performance the following year for 575 U. S.-based firms showed a significant positive relationship between training investments and total stockholder return.

Return On Investment in Training
This ERIC publication examines myths and misconceptions about who pays and who reaps the return on investment (ROI) in training.

Turning Skills Into Profit: Economic Benefits of Workplace Education Programs
Workplace education programs (WEPs) have consistently been shown to improve the bottom line for companies. This research report, based on interviews of over 100 employers, employees, and union representatives, enumerates and explores the skills gained by employees and the benefits gained by companies through workplace education programs. Publication is free from this site but you must register to obtain a copy.

Two articles found on the Workforce Online commercial site are instructive. You must register in order to access articles but registration is free. Behavioral Training: The ABCs of Workplace Literacy discusses the benefits of a workplace training program, illustrating that the program raises employee self-esteem and ultimately helps make them better, more productive workers. Training Proves Its Worth is a discussion of companies’ needs for ongoing training and how to continue that training in the wake of budget shortfalls. It aims to prove that the benefits to business of training are well worth the costs.

Does Training Pay? Evidence from Australian Enterprises
An in-depth case study of three firms shows that the enterprise returns to training can be exceptionally high, especially for training that is highly specific, rapidly accomplished, and related to the introduction of new technology or working patterns. Such training pays a good return on investment for a firm, even if labor turnover is high.

The Economic Benefits of Improving Literacy Skills in the Workplace
Reports findings from a Conference Board of Canada study that shows employers enhance their businesses' performance when employee literacy skills improve.

Employer Involvement in Workforce Development
This web page provides links to multiple publications and resources on business involvement in workforce development, including many that speak to the question of the benefits of workplace education programs to employers.

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What kinds of assessments are appropriate and useful in workforce education? is a new Web site and tool, developed by The Conference Board with funding from OVAE. This site can help your adult education programs and their employer partners measure--and demonstrate--the relationship between workplace education investments and measures of organizational performance. includes analytical tools that provide action-oriented information to owners and employers about workplace education programs. Included are information and advice to:

  • Improve workplace education evaluation;
  • Understand the Balanced Scorecard; and
  • Create their own Balanced Scorecard.

Testing and Accountability in Adult Literacy Education
This 1999 Thomas G. Sticht report provides information on the design and evaluation of workplace literacy programs to improve workforce readiness, and an overview of concepts about the nature, uses and abuses of standardized tests in program evaluation and accountability. It discusses concepts and issues and provides bibliographic resources for those who want to learn more about how to design, develop, and evaluate literacy programs in the workplace and other contexts.

Task Analysis Strategies and Practices
This ERIC Practice Application Brief compares current practices and examples of worker-oriented, job-oriented, and cognitive task analyses, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses and detailing how they can be used in diverse settings to promote knowledge and skill development.

Literacy Skills Analysis for Job Training
This paper provides a summary of large-scale U.S. studies relating to skills and literacy as an introduction to the discussion of literacy skills analysis for job training. Policy implications and recommendations regarding literacy skills analysis are made.

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What are the challenges to collaboration among agencies such as education, labor, and economic development?

Second National WIB Survey Report
Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs), created by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, are councils of business and community leaders charged with the broad governance and oversight of employment-oriented education and training programs in states, cities, and counties. This survey explored WIB operations, strategic planning efforts, continuous improvement activities, and training needs, and addresses the accomplishments and the concerns about WIB progress.

One-Stop Career Centers
This 1998 ERIC Digest provides background on the one-stop employment and training system, describes the experiences of early one-stop career centers, and raises issues related to the continued development of the one-stop system.

High Road Partnerships Report
The Working for America Institute provides fourteen case studies of partnerships among unions, employers, community groups, foundations, and government working together to create and retain good jobs, enable employers to compete based on innovation and value, and build strong communities with working-family-friendly economic development.

Click here to access additional resources of special interest to Program Administrators and Human Resources Personnel.

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