Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

EVIDENCE-BASED

PRATICE

Workforce Development

Workforce Development

IDEAS Empowered by Youth® is named for one of its primary goals: to empower young people with 21st Century Skills for success in the classroom and beyond to be prepared for the world of work.  

 

MANY YOUNG PEOPLE ARE UNPREPARED FOR THE WORLD OF WORK

Of the youth who graduate from high school, many lack the necessary skills for success in college and the workplace. Researchers have found the following workforce development skills are what employers are seeking:

 

  • In the U.S., recent annual estimates indicate that 1.8 million young people ages 16-24 are available and actively searching for work, but are unable to secure a job (BLS, 2017)
  • ​​Unemployment remains nearly 3.5 times higher (12.9%) for youth ages 16-19 and almost double (6.9%) for young people ages 20-24 (BLS, 2017).
  • Furthermore, almost 40 percent of American employers say they cannot find people with the skill they need, even for entry-level jobs (Laboissiere & Mourshed, 2017). 
  • The “skills gap” represents a massive pool of untapped talent, and it has dire consequences, including economic underperformance, social unrest, and individual despair (Laboissiere & Mourshed, 2017). 
  • Employers are continually identifying communication and interpersonal skills, self-management skills, the ability to collaborate or work in teams, problem-solving skills, and integrity or the ability to make ethical decisions as the most sought-after skills in the workplace (Laboissiere & Mourshed, 2017). 

 

All these skills listed above are taught to youth in the Workforce Development Curriculum. Youth are engaged in learning technical workforce skills and trade skills in marketing, web design, and business & finance. Youth are learning skills of creativity, problem-solving, group work skills, managing deadlines, time management, and creating workforce development products.

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICES

Workforce Development Curriculum incorporates several elements of evidence-based practices including the following: 

21ST CENTURY SKILLS AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
  • The world of work is changing rapidly. Macrolevel social and economic changes spurred by globalization, the expansion of capitalism, technology and automation, political change, and demographic shifts are reworking the economic and labor landscape (Varga & Zaff, 2017)
  • It is important for youth to have a collection of skills required by workers to maintain a competitive advantage for the 21st-century global economy continues to evolve (Varga & Zaff, 2017)
  • Furthermore, young people are called to develop adaptable competencies, upskill (i.e. learning additional skills), re-skill (i.e. learning an entirely new set of skills), and flexibly anticipate their continued adjustment to the many transitions imposed on the lives of workers by the post-industrial world of work (Varga & Zaff, 2017)
  • The Workforce Development Curriculum by Dignity of Children fosters the development of 21st Century Skills including digital literacy, collaborative group work, building creativity, and problem-solving.
PROJECT-BASED LEARNING (PBL)
  • PBL is used as “an inquiry-based instructional method that engages learners in knowledge construction by having them accomplish meaningful projects and develop real-world products. The focus on the creation of a tangible product means that students are focused on a shared goal and are provided some end product specifications from the instructor (Musa, Mufti, Latiff, Amin, 2012)
  • PBL has been shown to support workforce development (Sudjimat, Nyoto, & Romlie, 2021). 
  • Dignity of Children’s Workforce Development curriculum uses project-based learning evidenced based practices where youth in groups have to create projects ranging from prototype websites, strategic marketing plans, marketing materials, and blogs.
EXPERIENTIAL BASED LEARNING
  • Experiential learning, the process of giving students hands-on learning opportunities beyond lab-created scenarios, provides tangible proof to students that learning the theory is more than academic rhetoric (Kolb, D. A., Boyatzis, R., & Mainemelis, 2000). 
  • Throughout the experiential learning process, the student is actively engaged in posing questions, investigating, experimenting, being curious, solving problems, assuming responsibility, being creative, and constructing meaning (Bartle, 2015)
  • Experiential learning, which is focused on learning through connection and collaboration through constant critical reflection, can develop students' key workforce skills (Bartle, 2015)
  • Experiential learning shifts the learning design from being teacher-centered, where the teaching is largely transmissive and the students may remain unmotivated and disengaged, to an approach that is semi-structured and requires students to cooperate and learn from one another through direct experiences tied to real-world problems. The role of the teacher in this process is to facilitate rather than direct the student’s progress (Kolb & Kolb, 2009)
  • Dignity of Children’s Workforce Development curriculum uses an Experiential Based Learning Approach. Learners are taught business & finance, marketing & SEO, and web design by creating real prototypes. Participants learn how to use different digital platforms, conduct market-based research, and create real products such as websites, marketing campaigns, and business budgets. In addition, facilitators are not teaching top-down but coaching students through their experiential group projects to foster creativity, curiosity, research, and problem-solving.
IMPLEMENTING A SKILLS ASSESSMENT
  • For workforce development, it is essential to understand the needs and skills of those entering programs as well as monitor their development as they progress through their workforce development program (Weigensberg., 2012). 
  • Dignity of Children’s Workforce Development curriculum uses 21st Century Skills assessments to measure pre and post-test of the growth of skills before and after the curriculum.
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIPS AND ORGANIZATION COLLABORATION
  • The strength of organizations’ partnerships with community organizations and programs—including employers, workforce development intermediaries, and other agents in the community—as a factor influencing success in workforce development programs (Maguire, Freely, Clumer, Conway, & Schwartz, 2010)
  • Using a dual-customer approach, where the organization seeks to serve program participants and employers, leads to strong employer partnerships, which are commonly referenced as being critical to workforce development programs.
  • Dignity of Children’s Workforce Development curriculum implements a community partnership model to foster participant learning. Real national and local businesses contribute and provide work projects and provide coaching and feedback to the participants. 
PROMOTING POSITIVE YOUTH DEVELOPMENT (PYD) PERSPECTIVE
  • PYD perspectives derive from Relational Developmental Systems Theory that argues all youth have the potential to thrive, positively shape their own developmental outcomes, and contribute to the people and communities in which they are embedded (Benson Scales, & Syvertsen, 2011; Varga & Zaff, 2017)
  • Career development within the PYD suggests that all youth have the potential to thrive in the workforce when provided with conditions that support their needs, strengths, and ambitions. 
  • The Workforce Development Curriculum by Dignity of Children® fosters Positive Youth Development (PYD) by engaging youth to explore and learn about their career interests, providing coaching & teaching of explicit skills & content, and empowering them to navigate the world of work with agency and purpose while working in groups and developing work products.  
SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING PRACTICES & WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
  • Researchers have found that the employers continually mentioned multiple social and emotional skills, with the most referenced skills being communication and interpersonal skills, self-management skills, the ability to collaborate or work in teams, problem-solving skills, and integrity or the ability to make ethical decisions (Yoder et al., 2020)
  • Researchers also found that social and emotional skills are not only in demand in the workforce but are among the most difficult to find in employees (Yoder et al., 2020)
  • Core SEL Skills include self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. Each core competency is comprised of multiple skills, attitudes, and knowledge (Yoder et al., 2020)
  • The Workforce Development Curriculum by Dignity of Children® fosters the development of Social Emotional Learning Skills (SEL) of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness,  relationship skills, and decision-making skills. Youth also build relationship skills by working in groups and creating group projects, conflict management, and listening skills. Youth also learn social awareness skills by presenting their work projects in groups and building communication skills, opportunities to work with different people, and cultural sensitivity. It also builds skills of self-awareness of creativity, confidence, building flexibility skills, and openness to learning new skills. The curriculum also increases self-management by supporting youth in building skills of strategic planning, meeting deadlines, time management, developing a work ethic, and organizational skills.    

ALIGNMENT WITH WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORKS

There are currently evidence-based Workforce Development Frameworks that the Workforce Development Curriculum is aligned with. 

 

ALIGNMENT WITH THE YES! PROGRAM FRAMEWORK (FLANAGAN & CASTINE, 2020)
  • Partnership for 21st Century (P21, 2009). The elements described in the table below are the “21st-century student outcomes” (represented by the rainbow) are the knowledge, skills, and expertise students should master to succeed in work and life in the 21st century.
  •  Career Development and work success has 3 pillars
  1. Ready - to enter the workforce with skills and confidence
  2. Supported - by mentors and connection to resources
  3. Connected - to the learning experience and new opportunities 

 

  • The Dignity of Children® Workforce Development curriculum includes all 3 elements outlined by Flanagan & Castine, (2020). 
    • The workforce curriculum is designed to support youth being ready to enter the workforce with specific job technical skills in marketing, website development, and business & finance. 
    • Youth in the program are supported with mentorship opportunities with real professionals in the field. They are provided feedback on their projects in real-time. In addition, they are provided coaching by trained facilitators. 
    • They are also connected to real job opportunities with real organizations who need work projects completed for blogging, marketing strategies, proto website designs, etc.
ALIGNMENT WITH EFFECTIVE WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT TRAINING BY LABOISSIERE, M., & MOURSHED, M. (2017)
  • The elements described in the graphic below are the effective training elements for workforce development. This includes 1). Programs engage participants, 2) A focus on a specialization, 3) Focus on Practical Tasks, 4) Instruction is provided in different ways 5. Regular assessments are completed.
  • Dignity of Children® Workforce Development curriculum includes all of the key elements outlined by Laboissiere, M., & Mourshed, M. (2017).
    • The curriculum engages participants through the choice of specific skills modules in a digital format taught by a facilitator.
    • There is a focus on specialized training modules on
      • Marketing
      • Website & SEO
      • Business & Finance
    • The curriculum focuses on practical tasks and learning activities specific around the topic of the curriculum where youth have to make real prototypes or conduct marketing research projects.
    • Instruction is taught virtually both asynchronous and synchronous with live training, videos, digital platforms, and more.
    • Assessments are completed on 21st-century skills to measure pre and post-test the increase in career & work readiness skills.  
ALIGNMENT WITH EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS FRAMEWORK (OFFICE OF CAREER, TECHNICAL, AND ADULT EDUCATION AT THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, 2022)
  • The elements described in the graphic below are the effective training elements for workforce development. This includes 1). Applied knowledge, 2) Effective Relationships, 3) Workplace Skills
  • Dignity of Children® Workforce Development curriculum includes all of the key elements outlined by the Employability Skills Framework by the US Department of Education by
    • Applied knowledge skills: teaching young people critical thinking skills and applied academic knowledge skills
    • Effective relationships skills: teaching young people interpersonal skills, leadership skills, teamwork, and responding to consumer needs and organization needs.
    • Workplace skills: teaching young people communication skills, digital literacy skills, and research skills.
ALIGNMENT WITH BRONFENBRENNER'S ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS MODEL (1979, ADAPTED BY WEIGENSBERG ET AL., 2012)
  • Individuals and their particular characteristics within programs, programs within organizations, and organizations within a broader contextual environment of external relationships—it is important for workforce development programs to adapt Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Model (1979)
  • Bronfenbrenner describes a series of nested systems that, taken together, influence development that includes the microsystem, the mesosystem, the exosystem, and the macrosystem. 
  • Dignity of Children’s Curriculum for Workforce Development encompasses all of Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Model (1979).
    • The micro-level begins with Individual Participants who are engaged in learning the curriculum 
    • Dignity of Children® also works with the organization providing ongoing support in implementing the curriculum training and supportive services.
    • Dignity of Children® also utilizes Community/External Relationships through partnerships with local and national businesses that interact and support the workforce development curriculum by providing work projects and feedback to the participants.
    • Dignity of Children® also collects Data and Outcomes from the participants 21st-century skills, effectiveness of the facilitators, and program implementation with organizations.