2.3. ACCESS. Increase economically disadvantaged residents’ access to middle-skill training


  • Education & Training (Lead)
  • Policy & Systems Change (Support)
  • Backbone (Advisory)
  • Communications (Advisory)
  • Data & Evaluation (Advisory)
  • Industry Partnerships (Advisory)

2.3.1. Provide greater access to programs by offering classes at training sites more closely linked to economically disadvantaged zip codes and in/near work places

  • Identify additional training sites that could be served by the existing partner network at minimal cost (e.g. existing classroom or training space that could be utilized for in-demand training courses)
  • Evaluate the feasibility of using a mobile training unit for certain high-demand skills where a shortage of training space exists

2.3.2. Grow the availability of and educate potential students about financial aid, including state and federal programs, scholarships, and employer-sponsored tuition assistance

  • Maintain a list of available financial aid to support training for high-demand occupations and provide this information to relevant partners across the talent network
  • Advocate for additional state and federal funding for financial aid 
  • Continue to work with students to encourage them to complete FAFSA forms

2.3.3. Grow the availability of free or low-cost, publicly funded (e.g., WIOA, SNAP E&T, WERC) education and training offerings focused on the targeted industries

  • Work with training and education partners to ensure they are accessing available funds effectively
  • Provide guidance to training partners wishing to amend their policies to allow public funds to support qualified distance learning
  • Advocate for additional state and federal funding for training in high-demand careers in targeted industries
  • Create a local workforce development scholarship fund that is targeted to economically disadvantaged zip codes and neighborhoods
  • Raise awareness of available training to drive student interest in these programs

2.3.4. Expand options for students with basic skills/English barriers or economically disadvantaged backgrounds

  • Scale up efforts to accelerate academic readiness/developmental education
  • Increase utilization of evidence-based practices such as I-BEST 
  • Ensure students have both access to assessment tools to help them identify and overcome weaknesses and access to basic employability skill classes that can help them understand workplace etiquette and other soft skills

2.3.5. Evaluate student screening practices and scheduling, particularly for training programs that support high demand, middle-class occupations

  • Analyze acceptance criteria to determine whether the criteria are inclusive of applicants that come from economically disadvantaged areas and adjust, as needed
  • Ensure that working students’ schedules are accommodated through non-traditional course access such as block scheduling, online courses, and hybrid (online/in person)

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