Case In Point: The output of a collaboration between the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) and the U.S. Department of Labor, Building Blocks for Building Skills: An Inventory of Adult Learning Models and Innovations is a set of tools, resources, and examples which identify the key components of effective adult learning and skill development programs. The report is intended to be a resource for Workforce Investment Boards, employers, workforce development organizations, or traditional education and training providers who are planning to develop learning initiatives that are linked to the economic needs of a region. It contains examples of real programs which have used the building blocks model to achieve their goals. The report's model focuses on three basic steps for developing a learning initiative: (1)Need-focused Planning and Analysis, (2) Progress- and Success-focused Program Design, and (3) Adult-centered Implementation, while acknowledging other important components such as Strategic Partnerships and Evaluation. For more information visit http://www.cael.org/pdfs/BuildingBlocksforBuildingSkills.
Case In Point: Pennsylvania Careerlink of Lancaster County is launching an innovative course that combines basic academic skills, soft skills, and technical skills training. Driven by input from local manufacturing employers, the program is designed to be a short and affordable way to prepare students for the workplace. Similar to the foundational tiers of the Building Blocks framework, the course reflects how workers need personal effectiveness, academic, and workplace competencies to be successful in addition to industry and occupation-specific skills. For more information, visit http://www.jobs4lancaster.com/.
Case In Point: Michigan Works! Job Force Board, a business-led policy and oversight organization responsible for responding to the challenges of building a highly skilled workforce and a competitive economy, and Bay de Noc Community College are partners in utilizing the Building Blocks Competency Model to address the unique labor market demands of the Upper Peninsula region.
During the recession, companies streamlined many jobs, combining multiple functions into a single job. In discussions, employers emphasized that in addition to specific skill sets, they sought adaptable employees with the personal competencies depicted in the first tier of the Building Blocks Competency Model. The Job Board uses the model for two audiences: to help employers visualize and fully articulate their workforce needs, and to screen jobseekers to determine their readiness for training at the college, or their need for referral to appropriate auxiliary services. In turn, the community college benefits from referrals of the strongest candidates, and uses the upper tiers of the model to inform curriculum. For more information, visit www.jobforce.org and www.baycollege.edu.
Case in Point: The state of Washington faces significant workforce challenges including increased turnover, intensified competition for qualified employees, and fast-paced changes in how work is accomplished. To ensure staff levels and competencies are in place to carry out future missions, the Washington State Department of Personnel has designed a four-phase Workforce Planning Model.
The model explains the role competencies play in four key steps to workforce analysis: Demand Forecast, Supply Projection, Gap Analysis, and Strategy Development. First, state agencies must create a competency model that encompasses the key knowledge, skills, and abilities employees will need to successfully carry out work in the future. Next, agencies must develop a present workforce profile, which includes assessing employees' current competencies, to project future supply. The third step is a gap analysis comparing the demand forecast and supply projection to identify gaps and surpluses in staffing levels and competencies. Finally, Washington state agencies can use the results of the gap analysis to develop strategies to attract and develop staff with needed competencies. For more information, visit http://www.dop.wa.gov/WorkforceDataAndPlanning/WorkforcePlanning/Pages/defa
Case in point
- As part of their strategic plan, the Pima County Workforce Investment Board (WIB) in Arizona works to enhance the knowledge and skills of area youth to ensure they are proficient in basic skills, know how to learn, and have the skills necessary to achieve in the workforce. The Pima County WIB uses employer competency models to define employer expectations against which to measure student and program performance. For more information, visit http://www.pima.gov/ced/cs/workforce%20investment/workforceinvestindex.htm
Case In Point: The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC) works to bring together appropriate state and local partners to align education and workforce programs with the future talent development needs of companies. To support this effort, MERIC develops competency models for targeted industry clusters using the Employment and Training Administration's Building Blocks framework. MERIC has completed models for Energy, Information Technology, Life Sciences, Transportation, and, most recently, a collection of models for six Green sectors: Building, Energy, Farming, Manufacturing, Public Administration, and Salvage Remediation. The model reports identify target occupations and lists knowledge areas, tools and technology used in the occupation, and relevant education programs for each. For more information and to view the other Missouri Target Industry Competency Models, visit
Case In Point - The National Network for Pulp and Paper Technology Training (npt2), centered at Alabama Southern Community College, Thomasville, has established national skill standards for workers in the pulp and paper industry. A DACUM process was utilized at four regional sites to identify the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for a pulp and paper plant operator to perform duties and tasks competently. The standards were then used to identify gaps in existing industry training and to develop industry-prescribed curriculum to assure a skilled and technologically advanced workforce. Since plants frequently are in remote, rural locations, recruitment is often problematic. To address this issue, the npt2 developed the "scholarships-internships-jobs" model to secure sufficient future workers with the appropriate education and workplace skills to meet the industry's skill needs. Learn more about npt2's programs for "growing a technologically advanced workforce" at http://www.npt2.org/?DivisionID=5587&DepartmentID=5490.
Case In Point: The AFL-CIO Working for America Institute (WAI) developed the Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Strategies Tool Kit to provide a comprehensive set of resources for unions, employers, Workforce Investment Boards, and other partners who are working to address workforce challenges in the industry. The Tool Kit includes the Advanced Manufacturing Competency Model developed by the Employment and Training Administration in collaboration with industry partners. The model is a resource that identifies the skills and competencies that manufacturers need from their workers to stay competitive and serves as a starting point for discussions about training and certification models. For more information, visit http://www.workingforamerica.org/toolkit/default.asp.
Case in Point: The Voice of Oregon Manufacturing Web site is a portal for news and information about manufacturing in Oregon. The Web site links to the Skills Pyramid for High-Performance Manufacturing. The basis for the Skills Pyramid is the Advanced Manufacturing Competency Model developed at the Department of Labor in partnership with major manufacturing organizations. The Skills Pyramid identifies the necessary skills for entry-level workers across all manufacturing sectors. The competencies embedded in the pyramid provide a means to stimulate discussion among manufacturers, education and training providers, workforce professionals, economic development professionals and other key partners regarding the skills employers need in the modern manufacturing workplace. Thus, the Skills Pyramid can be used as an important standardized starting point for conversation among stakeholders about workforce skill needs and the roles and responsibilities of various partners in addressing those needs. For more information, visit http://oregonmanufacturing.org/node/475.
Case in Point: The United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) conducted a three-part study to assess changes affecting Human Resources (HR). In the third part of the study, OPM used an HR competency model as the organizing framework for a gap analysis. OPM compared results of an HR Competency Survey with information gathered from a literature review and interviews with HR executives. The results indicate gaps between the importance of specific competencies required to perform work and employees' ability in those competencies. OPM used the findings to inform transformation strategies designed to address the gaps and push HR functions toward new practices and approaches. For more information, visit http://www.opm.gov/studies/change.pdf.
Case in point - Part of the mission of the Workforce Investment Board (WIB) in the Northwest PA region is to ensure the presence of an educated available workforce in the region. To investigate the reported disconnect between the workforce development needs of employers, the skills of the workforce, and the training provided by educational programs in the region, the board conducted an employer needs assessment and gap analysis. One of the main objectives of this process was to understand and determine the skill, competency, and training needs of regional employers for key occupations within seven target industry clusters. For more information, visit http://www.nwpawib.org/.