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HPOG Blog: Job-Driven Training Checklist: Learn and Earn

Published: June 11, 2015
Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG)
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This blog post was published in the original HPOG Blog on October 15, 2014.

Learn and Earn Programs Result in Positive Returns

Making the decision to participate in a job training program may be a challenge for those that struggle with financial burdens and employment opportunities. Participating in an education or employment training program often means foregoing earnings during that period, which many individuals cannot afford to do. The Job-Driven Training Checklist seeks to eliminate these challenges with elements such as the Learn and Earn concept for federal training programs. Learn and Earn programs offer work-based learning opportunities for students with employers, which may include on-the-job training, internships, pre-apprenticeships, and Registered Apprenticeships.

According to the Job-Driven Training Checklist, work-based learning enables participants to gain or enhance their skills while employed or engaged in an experience similar to employment. Work-based learning can result in workers being hired and earning a salary more quickly while receiving support for ongoing educational and career advancement.

Learn and Earn programs are important because they combine training with work experience to support future career success for participants. Because of the training and work experience, participants are adequately prepared to compete for employment opportunities, especially since many job opportunities require some related work experience. Low-income or non-skilled workers benefit from these programs because they can focus on training without the financial burdens – especially if the training program has financial assistance.

Employers also benefit from Learn and Earn Programs because they get qualified candidates trained in-house, who learn the organization's specific processes and equipment, and are able to meet the demands of the business. In addition, employers have the opportunity to save on recruitment costs and gain a valuable pool of employees to fill immediate gaps in positions. By providing professional development opportunities, employers establish career paths for participants and increase retention rates. Employer engagement also provides a strategic alignment to training programs and builds a partnership to meet hiring needs.

At Project HOPE, an Eastern Ohio based HPOG program, employer engagement coupled with a Learn and Earn model encourages employers to hire HPOG participants and become active partners in the program.

The first step for Project HOPE was to discover what qualities employer partners were looking for in new employees. To find the answer, the Project HOPE program administrator volunteered on a local health system's employee education committee. Through the program, three key points became extremely clear: employers want to save money, time and energy.

Armed with an understanding of what employers are looking for, the Project HOPE recruiters and job placement specialists began engaging the human resources departments of local employers. Project HOPE staff visited employers once a month to build relationships and give employers information regarding the project.

One of the challenges that the program recognized in implementing this partnership was trying to provide new hires with adequate training. Therefore, Project HOPE designed an On-The-Job Training (OJT) contract that reimburses employers for the instructor's time providing additional on-site training of newly hired Project HOPE graduates. The OJT contract helps to ensure new hires are well-trained and results in lower reducing employee turnover, so that the employer saves money, time and energy.

Engaging employers to be active partners in Project HOPE took time, but the effort was worthwhile. After two years of strategic engagement, Project HOPE has built strong relationships with approximately 40 employers and over 600 students have been placed in healthcare positions. The experience has taught them that a successful employment strategy is based on understanding employers' specific needs and addressing those needs with real solutions. If you would like to learn more about Project HOPE and other HPOG grantees, please visit our Map of HPOG Grantees.

Last Reviewed: May 20, 2019