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REWARDING SKILLS DEVELOPMENT

As a core principle of Jobs to Careers, employers rewarded frontline workers who engaged in and completed work-based learning.

Projects differed in the types of financial reward they offered (e.g., wage increases, bonuses, stipends). They also differed in the benchmark triggering the reward (e.g., mastery of specific competencies, program completion, credential attainment, job promotion).

Across the board, however, the financial rewards motivated frontline workers to undertake and complete work-based learning. Moreover, by tying rewards to learning outcomes, employers developed a more skilled and efficient workforce, improved staff retention and morale, and improved the quality of care.

Higher earning potential is just one of several benefits that employees, employers, and education institutions reaped from Jobs to Careers. For more information, click here.

RESOURCES

Philadelphia and New York projects: Rewarding work-based learning
Frontline workers at New York and Philadelphia project sites of Jobs to Careers explain how paid release time, academic credit, and wage increases were critical for successfully participating in work-based learning and advancing their careers:



Rewarding Attainment of Credentials
In Fall River, Massachusetts, STARR increased the wages of unlicensed frontline workers who earned certifications in addictions counseling. The average increase was $.89 an hour; the highest rate was $2.50.
 
Incorporating Rewards for Work-Based Learning in Performance Reviews
In Waianae, Hawaii, Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center has incorporated into its annual performance evaluation process a formal pay raise scale for frontline medical assistants and receptionists who completed work-based learning programming in the past year. The amount of the increase varies according to the difference between the participant’s current salary and the market rate for their position; the average wage increase for participants who have completed the program was $3.55 per hour (ranging from $2.13 to $5.58 per hour). The health center also offers a number of performance-based incentives for frontline workers and clinics that meet quality improvement targets. For example, frontline workers in clinics that meet standards related to the use of Electronic Medical Records can receive a $200 incentive bonus each quarter.
 
Providing Rewards Through Career Pathways
Jobs to Careers projects have offered financial rewards to workers who advance to higher-level positions. Projects that have career pathways often give incremental wage increases as employees take on work responsibilities and new job titles.

In Hartford, Connecticut, a long-term care facility developed a three-tiered career track for Certified Nurse Assistants. Workers who completed at least two specialty courses advanced to Level 2 and received bonuses of $100 to $200. At Level 3, CNAs advanced to unit captains and mentored other staff. They received wage increases of up to $1 per hour.

In Alaska, Norton Sound Health Corporation established financial rewards for frontline workers advancing through three levels of certified behavioral health aides. Employees receive hourly raises of $2 to $3 as they progress up each level.

In Seattle, Washington, Virginia Mason Medical Center developed a three-tiered career ladder for medical assistant positions. Frontline employees advance through medical assistant training and an externship to the certification exam and the completion of additional courses in leadership and patient safety. Workers get pay increases at each step.