WAGE is a state-funded workforce development collaboration among industry, education, and the community. The program is designed both to prepare unemployed adults for entry-level jobs and to upgrade the skills of incumbent workers so that they can meet changing demands. Most businesses in El Dorado, like El Dorado Chemical, partner with WAGE for preemployment training, which is customized to meet their hiring needs.
Before turning to WAGE, El Dorado Chemical assessed prospective employees with a standardized, in-house test, as required by the union contract. Human resources (HR) staff felt that the test was out-of-date, time consuming to administer, and not aligned with actual on-the-job functions. WAGE offered a solution to the company’s testing challenges. WAGE took over the testing, conducted a literacy task analysis to determine the skills required for specific jobs at El Dorado Chemical, and tailored instruction to these jobs. The company donated equipment and materials to be used in the classroom. Now, hiring managers can be assured that job applicants with a WAGE certificate can read and do math at a minimum 12th-grade level.
Consider the cost-effectiveness of external training.
The in-house testing of employees cost El Dorado Chemical significant time and resources. The test itself was lengthy, and it took considerable time to score and analyze the results. So when WAGE offered to test potential employees for free and refer them to the company for job openings, El Dorado Chemical readily agreed to this partnership and dropped the in-house test. When job applicants contact HR, the company sends them to WAGE before they are considered for a job. To date, El Dorado Chemical has referred about 150 people to the WAGE program and has hired 50–60 WAGE participants.
Form a partnership to help ensure that new hires have the necessary credentials.
"With WAGE, you get a better picture of an applicant’s overall learning ability."
The WAGE certificate indicates to hiring managers that job applicants have a certain minimum skill level. They also likely have computer skills, as the WAGE program uses computers for testing. Along with a certificate, employers receive a form that matches job applicants’ test results to their functional workplace skills. El Dorado Chemical has found that employees from WAGE learn more quickly on the job than others and now requires a job candidate to have a WAGE certificate for entry-level positions.
Encourage other companies to participate in training partnerships to improve the overall quality of the workforce.
When job seekers first contact Robbie Caviness, HR manager at El Dorado Chemical, she gives them information about WAGE and encourages them to enroll in the preemployment training program. Caviness convinces them that the program will improve their chances of getting a good job, to help overcome negative associations with testing many adults may have. Because of the commitment of other local businesses to hiring WAGE participants, Caviness tells job applicants that, even if they are not hired at El Dorado Chemical, the WAGE certificate means they have a good chance of being hired at another local company. El Dorado staff also serve on the WAGE advisory board, offering expertise and guidance on business and industry needs and networking with other businesses.
Benefits to Business
Some benefits to El Dorado Chemical of its partnership with WAGE include:
Benefits to Adult EducationSome benefits to WAGE of its partnership with El Dorado Chemical include:
The following resource has been compiled for further reading on topics related to business-adult education partnerships. A pop-up window with a link to and description of the resource will appear as you click on the title. Resources may be categorized below as: Business Partnerships (descriptions of the business-adult education partnerships referenced above); Partnership Profiles (related examples of other community partnerships); How-Tos (guides and tools for establishing partnerships); Research; the Case for Business Involvement; and Web Sites. A complete list of resources related to business-adult education partnerships is found in the Workforce Issues section on the C-PAL Web site.
Workforce Alliance For Growth in the Economy (WAGE)