The Tulsa Initiative is getting set to launch a new pilot program to help our Head Start and Early Head Start parents advance their careers and secure a better economic future for their families.
The project, called CareerAdvance, is a multi-faceted approach to job training and supportive services. It includes:
- Sector-Driven – Our initiative will be sector-driven, which means training opportunities will be limited to employment sectors that we know are “demand occupations” and where jobs are available that are steady, secure, well-paying, and offer benefits and opportunities for advancement. In the pilot phase, we have chosen to focus exclusively on healthcare careers.
- Occupational Training – Customized occupational training classes that lead to an in-demand credential. This pilot year, we will initially offer training to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), leading then to Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), and finally Registered Nurse (RN). Students moving up this career ladder can expect to achieve true economic security for their families and work in a stable, “recession-proof” industry.
- Peer Support – Participants will meet weekly to talk about how things are going, offer support and advice to one another, establish and strengthen social networks, and listen to guest speakers on topics related to their training experiences.
- Case Management – A full-time Career Coach will facilitate peer support meetings as well as provide case management support on an individual basis when necessary. The Coach will help participants define their goals, identify potential barriers to success and establish contingency plans, and work with participants to make sure they are progressing steadily in the program.
- School and Work Readiness Skills – Many of the program’s participants may have spent a significant out of school or out of the workforce. We want to equip them with skills they’ll need to succeed in both – study skills, time management, workplace communication, and more.
- Contextual ESL and GED – Students who need help developing their English skills or who lack a high school diploma or GED will be able to participate in customized English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) and GED classes. The classes will cover topics related to their occupational field of study so that the material feels relevant and manageable. ESL and GED instructors will work with the occupational instructor to make sure the curricula are well-integrated.
- Employer Relationships – The project will employ an industry intermediary, who will help build relationships with employers to place participants into work experiences, identify the workforce challenges they face, and find ways to ensure that our program and other training opportunities are truly addressing the workforce shortages in the industry.
The CareerAdvance project is based on an emerging model of successful workforce programs that equip students to prepare for and advance in careers for a lifetime. Participants in similar programs have achieved average earnings gains of $3,300 and were significantly more likely to work all 12 months in the year.
CareerAdvance is generously supported by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, the Community Service Block Grants program, and the Inasmuch Foundation. Our partners include Workforce Tulsa, Tulsa Community College, Tulsa Technology Center, Union Public Schools Department of Adult and Community Education, the Tulsa Metro Chamber, and the Ray Marshall Center at the University of Texas.