Layer 9


Layer 10



After developing the requirements for employee participation in work-based learning, the next step is recruiting a cohort of participants. As with most aspects of work-based learning programs, this activity requires internal cooperation at the workplace, including buy-in from managers and supervisors, as well as assistance from other partners (e.g., community colleges) on such issues as assessing academic readiness. Assessments should also include career interests and identification of any personal barriers to success.

To identify and engage potential participants, most Jobs to Careers projects employed a two-pronged strategy: marketing directly to eligible employees; and reaching out to supervisors for recommendations. In either case, the projects sought to publicize and communicate clearly to prospective participants the career pathways, opportunities, and program requirements.

The critical questions to consider in cohort selection and recruitment for work-based learning initiatives include:

  • How will you recruit participants? What will your marketing campaign be within the employer organization? How will you generate interest among employees?
  • Who will develop criteria for selecting participants? Who will make the final decision?
  • Will you need to give any incentives to participate?
  • How will you assess candidates’ skills and educational levels? For example, will you use ACCUPLACER (a computerized battery of tests used to assess preparedness for college-level work)?

(For more information on planning partnerships, see The Jobs to Careers Milestone Tool.)



Recruiting Training Participants

Creating Career Pathways for Frontline Health Care Workers 
Recruitment poster from Owensboro
Owensboro Medical Health System, in partnership with Owensboro Community & Technical College, recruited widely within the hospital for its on-site RN program, [email protected]: the medical center stuffed promotional materials in payroll envelopes, put up recruiting posters near time clocks and in the cafeteria, and sent emails to employees in order to recruit applicants. As a result, the participants reflected a diverse range of occupations, including nurse aides, pharmacy technicians, unit clerks, medical receptionists, patient care representatives, and counselors.

Pathways Level II Manager recommendation form
Humility of Mary Health Partners in Youngstown, Ohio recruited from the ranks of environmental, transportation, and nutritional services for training frontline workers to become unit clerks and health care associates. Laundry workers were targeted because their jobs were being outsourced as a cost-saving move. Experienced unit clerks and health care associates also were identified as candidates for training in advanced positions involving precepting of trainees. This form illustrates the criteria used by managers in selecting candidates for Level II training.

Jobs to Careers Application
Program Eligibility Criteria

In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund and its employer partners, Temple Episcopal Hospital and Philadelphia Health Management Corporation, recruited candidates for training as behavioral health technicians. It used a different approach to recruiting for each employer. Temple, a unionized employer, invited the Training Fund to take part in joint recruiting activities. Senior managers met with supervisors of mental health workers to discuss the program while shop stewards and other union members met with workers to address potential concerns (e.g., selection procedures, impacts on job requirements and wages, seniority). The work-based learning program was offered to all frontline behavioral health workers. PHMC, a non-union employer, recruited candidates from four residential sites with smaller numbers of workers; the initial cohort of participants reflects the need to minimize impact on care-giving in the individual facilities. Training Fund counselors had access allowing them to assess workers’ career and academic interests as well as skill levels. Based on initial skill assessments, all candidates were first enrolled in a preparatory basic skills course.

Cohort Selection

Mississippi Project: Application process for work-based learning
Staff at Hinds Community College, an education partner for the Mississippi project site of Jobs to Careers, explains program admission requirements and academic remediation opportunities for frontline workers training to become unit clerks:

HMHP candidate interview form
In Youngstown, Ohio, Humility of Mary Health Partners project staff recruited participants via hospital intranets, email blitzes, direct mail, and promotional days (e.g., National Hospital Association Week; National Nurse’s Aide Day; National Health Unit Coordinator Day). They assessed candidates’ reading and math skills, specifically applied math. Based on an agreement with the region’s technical center partners, unit clerk trainees needed to be at the ninth-grade level in reading and applied math; health care associate trainees needed to be at the ninth-grade level in reading and the seventh-grade level in applied math. The assessment also asked applicants about their long-term academic and career interests and to consider possible barriers to attending and succeeding in classes.

In Hawaii’s Jobs to Careers project, community college and health center staff collaborated on assessing the skills and college preparedness of frontline employees. Through KeyTrain, an online assessment and teaching tool, workers were evaluated on their reading comprehension, writing, listening, and math skills. College and health center staff established the passing scores for each discipline. Employees who did not earn a passing score were placed in a customizable KeyTrain career readiness training program to improve their basic skills. College and health center staff also aligned the KeyTrain testing levels to the COMPASS college entrance exam, enabling frontline employees who passed KeyTrain to be exempt from taking the COMPASS exam and pre-training instruction.