Walmart Foundation: Job Ready, Willing, and Able Initiative
The Job Ready, Willing, and Able Initiative (JRWA) is a 3-year initiative funded by Walmart Foundation. JRWA provides 17 community colleges with resources to engage unemployed or underemployed adults in education, training, and wraparound service that lead to middle skill credentials and careers. JRWA colleges demonstrate diverse geographic, demographic, and economic profiles that include a range of local industry challenges from healthcare and manufacturing, to office administration, utility workers, and chemical polymer technicians.
Over 20 months of program operations, the colleges enrolled 3,640 students into middle skill training; 2,077 (57%) have completed thus far; 3,409 credentials have been earned, including 1,618 industry credentials and 243 associate degrees. Moreover, 1,233 students have attained employment, while 595 low-wage earners received wage gains. The colleges also collectively leveraged $6.7 million in cash, in-kind, and scholarship resources.
A review of job placements using the Occupational Network (O*NET) reflects the JRWA colleges’ success in placing participants in middle-skills occupations. AACC matched reported job placements to their corresponding O*Net codes to establish the level of skills proficiency. O*NET ranks every occupation from 1 to 5 based on the relative complexity of each and the level of training and experience to enter these fields. The analysis determined that 93% were identified as mid-skill. This is further supported by an unweighted average of reported wages that was calculated at just under $30,000 per year. More importantly, the majority of job placements were associated with in-demand and high-growth occupations with promising career pathways as projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook (http://www.bls.gov/ooh/).
Beyond training, credentialing, and employment access, the work of the JRWA colleges further demonstrated best practices in the delivery of student-directed services from entry through the attainment of credentials and employment. These included basic literacy skills competencies in preparation for or in conjunction with middle-skills training, wraparound services, job readiness training, and employer interfacing, as well as follow-up tracking to confirm long-term outcomes.
Download the "Job Ready, Willing, & Able: Leveraging Resources and Talent for Changing Economies" Report.