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Customized Training: Research and Best Practices

Ready and Able: Addressing Labor Market Needs and Building Productive Careers for People with Disabilities through Collaborative Approaches (2011) [PDF]
The National Technical Assistance and Research (NTAR) Center to Promote Leadership for Increasing Employment and Economic Independence of Adults with Disabilities at Rutgers University using a case study approach selected 13 diverse examples from around the nation of partnerships between employers and trusted workforce intermediaries.  Over the course of six months their research identified themes and strategies that can be of value in supporting employers in recruiting, hiring, training, and retaining employees with disabilities.

What Works In Job Training: A Synthesis of the Evidence (2014) [PDF]
This government-wide review of Federal programs in the workforce and training system presents a synthesis of evidence on adult and youth job training strategies, training-related supports (e.g., job search assistance), and other important strategies, such as employer/industry engagement and cross-agency/system collaboration.  

DISABILITY AND WORK - Research Brief Strategies to Support Employer-Driven Initiatives to Recruit and Retain Employees with Disabilities (2012)[PDF] A joint publication from the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development and the Kessler Foundation.

Four models of Customized Training (CT) are profiled as case studies that show great promise for significantly expanding the number and quality of job opportunities for people with disabilities and add to the body of knowledge on this paradigm to support the continued expansion of employer partnerships. Text boxes with information on the expansion of employer partnerships and systemic opportunities for further growth are provided, along with conclusions and recommendations for practice implementation.

Tuning into Local Labor Markets: Findings from a Sectoral Employment Impact Study (2010) [PDF] From the Aspen Workforce Strategies Initiative
In the past two decades, an innovative approach to workforce development known as sectoral employment has emerged, resulting in the creation of industry-specific training programs that prepare unemployed and underskilled workers for skilled positions and connect them with employers seeking to fill such vacancies.  This study identifies common elements that led to the success of three such programs.

The Employer as the Client: State-Financed Customized Training (2006) [PDF]
This report, by Steve Duscha and Wanda Lee Graves, provides an analysis of state-funded (not federal or local) customized training programs tailored and directed to one or more identified employers and analyzes trends from 1989 to 2006.

Making On-the-Job Training Work: Lessons from the Boeing Manufacturing On-the-Job Training Project by Deborah Kobes of Jobs for the Future (2013) [PDF]
Between the summer of 2012 and the spring of 2013, the Boeing OJT project collaborated with eight regional workforce industry partnerships and placed 101 unemployed workers into training at 39 advanced manufacturing companies. At the end of training, employers retained 91 workers. Both employers and employees reported high levels of satisfaction with the training experiences and the skills acquired.  This brief contains an overview of the OJT model and lessons learned from the project.

New Era Of Alignment In Massachusetts’ Advanced Manufacturing Industry (2015) [PDF]
This brief provides a case study of Massachusetts—in particular, how the state views advanced manufacturing as a leverage point in its statewide economic plan and an extension of its larger goals to support innovation and infrastructure.  The case study is designed to provide educators and state leaders with concrete examples of how secondary and postsecondary institutions work collaboratively with the business community to implement curriculum reforms that promote efficiency and continuity across the school-to-career pipeline.


Customized Training (CT) Apprenticeship Resources and Websites


Information on “Middle-Skills”

Middle-skill jobs which require education beyond high school but not a four-year degree, make up the largest part of the labor market in the United States and in each of the 50 states.  States can close their middle-skill gaps by adopting policies that support sector partnerships and career pathways, and by making job-driven investments.

Harvard Business Review: Who Can Fix the “Middle-Skills” Gap?

Bridge the Gap: Rebuilding America’s Middle Skills [PDF]
An analysis of the US labor market with recommendations for business, political, and educational leaders to address the “middle skills” gap.

Skills Gap in US Manufacturing 2015 and Beyond authored by the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte [PDF] highlights the critical need for skilled workers especially in STEM industries.  Looks at future needs and suggestions as to what needs to occur to fill these gaps.


Customized Training (CT) Additional Resources and Websites

The White House “Briefing Room is a source for information from the Obama administration related to the economy, disabilities, and a host of other issues relevant to the American Public.

Workforcegps offers the opportunity to join various Communities of Practice (COP).  Each COP provides a forum for learning through the sharing of information around initiatives, resources, and online training relevant to workforce development.

The National Skills Coalition is a non-profit organization that organizes broad-based coalitions seeking to raise the skills of America’s workers across a range of industries. The site provides timely information on workforce initiatives and updates on federal and state policy, events, resources, and advocacy the organization is engaged in.

The Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program (EOP) is a policy program at the Aspen Institute. Its primary mission is to advance promising strategies and policies to help low- and moderate-income Americans thrive in today’s dynamic economy.  There you'll find related links and an expanded description of the EOP’s three distinct programs.

Jobs for the Future is a national nonprofit that works to ensure educational and economic opportunity for all. They develop innovative career pathways, educational resources, and public policies that increase college readiness and career success, and build a more highly skilled workforce.

The US Business Leadership Network is a national non-profit that helps business drive performance by leveraging disability inclusion in the workplace, supply chain, and marketplace. The USBLN serves as the collective voice of nearly 50 Business Leadership Network affiliates across the United States, representing more than 5,000 businesses.


National Consortium of State Operated Comprehensive Rehabilitation Centers (NCSOCRC)

National Consortium Of State Operated Comprehensive Rehabilitation Centers (NCSOCRC) – A consortium of eight (8) rehabilitation centers operated by the vocational rehabilitation agency in its respective state.  The centers provide comprehensive rehabilitation services including training and employment services.  Vocational training is offered onsite and/or in collaboration with a local community college and local/regional   businesses offer internships and placement opportunities.  Each center is unique and further information can be found by going to the individual websites below:


Webinars

Introduction to Customized Training (CT) in a Job-Driven Economy
This webinar defines the concept of Customized Training (CT) as it applies to national workforce job-driven initiatives around preparing youth and adults with disabilities for work.  The presentation focuses on current VR Customized Training models and practices demonstrating VR collaboration with employers and other community partners.

Job-Driven Customized Training: Exploring Innovative Models
This webinar highlights two successful Customized Training (CT) programs: Orion Industries in Washington state trains individuals for work in advanced manufacturing related to the aerospace industry and the Starbucks Inclusion Academy Program which has trained People with Disabilities including VR clients, to work in their distribution facilities in Nevada and Pennsylvania.

Customized Training: An Inclusive Employment Training Option in Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Practice
This webinar focuses on the challenges faced and benefits gained by people with disabilities from racial, ethnic, and other minority backgrounds participating in CT employment training programs.