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Changing the systems that affect education and training for incumbent workers can leave many beneficial effects intact after grant funding for a project ends. When a project begins, systems at the level of individual employers and educational organizations can create disincentives to the implementation of effective training efforts for incumbent workers. Addressing these barriers improves the ability of the organization to sustain and enhance effective training programs using work-based learning and other nontraditional programmatic elements.

For example, many Jobs to Careers projects developed mechanisms for employees to receive academic credit for work-based learning activities. Once academic approval has been gained for this alternative method of awarding credit, it generally continues to exist and can be utilized in other contexts.

Budgeting for sustainability was another Jobs to Careers approach to systems change. A third strategy was to revise human resources policies and practices that present internal barriers to education and training for incumbent workers.

Jobs to Careers: Impact on Educators and Employers
Employer and Education partners from Fall River, Boston, and San Francisco explain how their institutions have benefitted through Jobs to Careers:


Providing Academic Credit for Work-based Learning

Community Colleges Get to Work: Adopting Work-Based Learning in Partnership with Health Care Employers

As a partner with SSTAR, a behavioral health provider in Fall River, Massachusetts, Bristol Community College began awarding fifteen credits for earning a Certified Addictions Counselor credential and four credits for completing a group facilitation course taught at the health care facility. The course included the use of the job as part of the teaching context, a work-based learning option. 

Creating Career Pathways for Frontline Health Care Workers
The Resource Within: Today's Employees Become Hospitals' Workforce of the Future
In Hartford, ConnecticutJobs to Careers converted courses for long-term care aides into work-based learning curricula. Charter Oak College awarded credit for these courses, applicable towards a credential.

Attracting and Retaining Talent: Frontline Workers in Long-Term Care
Jobs to Careers in Community-Based Care
In Portland, OregonJobs to Careers formed a relationship between Portland Community College’s noncredit unit (the Customized and Workplace Training Department) and a for-credit academic department (the Department of Gerontology). This resulted in the award of academic credit for workplace training.  

HMHP Apprenticeship webinar
In Youngstown, Ohio, Humility of Mary Health Partners instituted an apprenticeship credential for hospital unit clerk training conducted using work-based learning.

Austin Project: College system changes through work-based learning
An academic dean at Austin Community College, the educator partner for the Austin, Texas project site of Jobs to Careers, explains how work-based learning has spurred system changes at the college, including awarding academic credit for prior learning as well as competencies demonstrated on the job:

Budgeting for Sustainability 

Waianae, Hawaii’s Leeward Community College restructured its budget models to generate revenue through grants, new workforce programs, and new revenue streams from training for workforce-related issues. Work-based learning was one of four major initiatives established on the basis of the college’s strategic plan and revised budget model. The expansion of industry partnerships with employers such as the Waianae Coast Community Health Center bolstered the workforce function at the college. It also helped move this division’s budget into the black by a substantial margin, making it better able to underwrite and support initiatives like Jobs to Careers.

Leaders in the Department of Career and Technical Education believe that work-based learning fosters the college’s active engagement with employers, particularly when it enhances revenue and student recruiting. The blending of state Career and Technical Education funds with revenue generated by the self-supporting continuing education unit positions Leeward Community College to promote new work-based learning initiatives.

Human Resources Policies and Practices

Austin Project: Employer system changes to support work-based learning
Employer and education partners of the Austin, Texas project site of Jobs to Careers, emphasize the importance of securing buy-in of department supervisors to ensure frontline workers can participate in work-based learning:

Humility of Mary Health Partners HR Slides
Many employers reimburse employees for work-related tuition expenses. However, low-wage workers may not take advantage of tuition-reimbursement opportunities if they do not have the money to pay for tuition up front. Humility of Mary Health Partners of Youngstown, Ohio, adopted a tuition-advancement policy. Moreover, it extended this benefit to all workers, not just those participating in Jobs to Careers. Tuition advancement is one of many changes in the hospital’s human resources practices due to Jobs to Careers. Others include basing pay raises and promotions on acquisition of competencies, providing educational release time to support workers in training while funding back-up workers, and offering case management and referral for workers needing emergency services.

Assessing Employer Readiness for Sustaining Work-based Learning

Jobs to Careers Employer Self-Assessment Tool
This tool helps employers assess their readiness for implementing innovations in the area of work-based learning and career pathway initiatives for frontline health care workers. Using this tool, partners can assess their strengths and limitations related to policies, practices, and processes that are likely to contribute to the successful implementation and adoption of such initiatives. After completing the tool, organizations may want to address areas identified through the self-assessment to boost their prospects for successfully implementing work-based learning for frontline workers in health care. This tool was produced by the national evaluation team(Click here for a printable version of this tool.)