ACT Workforce Newsletter

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Upcoming Events

ACT Workforce Summit

October 8-10, 2018 | Hyatt Regency | New Orleans, Louisiana

Calling all workforce professionals, economic developers, educators, industry associations, employers, and Work Ready Communities! The 2018 ACT Workforce Summit in the Big Easy will assemble some of the best and brightest to strengthen the nation’s employment base. The industry is not a one-size-fits-all which is what makes the Workforce Summit an invaluable event to network, learn, and collaborate with multiple points of view.

Join us in New Orleans this October as we celebrate the collective potential with experts and professionals like you on how to develop a qualified workforce, foster business and economic growth, and help build stronger communities.

Professional Development

Webinar: WIOA Connecting the Workforce

Using WIOA Funds with Apprenticeships

September 13 at 1 p.m. CST

Register for WIOA Connecting the Workforce

Webinar: How Credit for the ACT National Career Readiness Certificate Can Promote Persistence

Webinar: Ready for What?

Context for College and Career Readiness Matters

October 17 at 11 a.m. CST

Register for Ready for What? 

Articles and Reports

LinkedIn’s Workforce Report is Out: Here’s What You Need to Know

Last month, LinkedIn published their most recent Workforce Report. As the leading professional social network, LinkedIn offers a unique perspective on trends in the industry.

In case you missed it, here are the key takeaways:

Hiring in the past 12 months has outpaced the same 12 months in the previous year. The month of June has experienced a dip in hiring for the last two years, but only after a sizeable increase for May. Despite the dip, hiring remains strong. The report takes a deeper dive into specific industry trends. For example, hiring is up 15.6% for aerospace/automotive/transportation since June 2017 whereas oil and energy has only experienced a 1.2% increase and telecommunications was stagnant in the same timeframe.

Retaliatory tariffs from China may increase job loss in cities already vulnerable to losing workers. At the same time, this migration could lead to cities successfully gaining workers, such as Denver or Austin. In some cases, the shift will happen but not as a result from the tariffs. Check out the full report to see how your region is predicted to perform, and for full reports on major U.S. metros.

Hiring is bright nationally, while the outlook for telecommunications is dim. In the past two years, hiring has increased for nearly every industry – the exception is telecommunications. The implication is a surplus of skills relating to mobile devices, wireless technologies, and audio visual systems. This skills gap can be alleviated by movement – workers moving where their skills are in demand or businesses expanding into areas where a surplus exists.

Are you challenged with a skills gap in your community? Attend these sessions at the ACT Workforce Summit to learn what you can do to combat this issue:

  • The Edge of Tomorrow: Solutions for the Future World of Work
  • Better Outcomes for Learners = WorkKeys Curriculum + Foundational Skill Development + Soft Skills
  • Addressing the Soft Skills Gap for Career Readiness
  • Work Ready Communities & WIOA Working Together to Improve Performance Outcome Measures

Customer Success Story

Raise the Quality of New Hires While Reducing Turnover and Costs

RoyOMartin employs 1,200 workers in two plants across two states. That is a lot to manage and it doesn’t take into account the 550,000 acres of timber. These numbers demonstrate their impact on the local economy, but the business challenge of reducing the cost of turnover remained.

To overcome the hurdle, RoyOMartin implemented a system to validate the applicant’s ability against the requirements of the job. Using ACT WorkKeys®, the company increased the quality of their hires. As a result, turnover decreased translating into a cost savings of $270,000 within the first three years. That’s not the only success in this story though. After increasing the quality of the new hires, they developed a regional workforce pipeline to close the skills gap.

Current President and CFO, Roy O. Martin III will be a keynote speaker at the Work Ready Communities Award Luncheon at the Workforce Summit in October. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn how RoyOMartin continues to improve and educate the local workforce while creating jobs to improve the quality of life of its citizens.

Ask an ACT Expert: The Skinny on Job Profiling, Occupational Profiling, and Curriculum Profiling

Q: Can you give me a high level summary of determining tasks and skills needed for a specific job?

A: Carol Ogletree, Senior Research Psychologist, ACT

Employers spend a large amount of resources on hiring, recruiting, advancement, and training. One way to reduce the resources spent is to pinpoint benchmarks and then use Job Profiles to link job tasks back to the benchmarks. Employers ask their subject matter experts, their employees, to actively participate in the job profiling process, which increases the likelihood for buy-in and goodwill. Also, profiling produces a customized content validity report—the report contains detailed rationale linking the job tasks to ACT WorkKeys skills and skill levels. An additional plus for an employer is that job profiles produce a detailed task list for a job—which the employer can use in developing a comprehensive job description, training materials, performance appraisal instruments, and other human resources tools.

Occupational Profiles represent broad views of work requirements and identify the skill levels required for an occupation across jobs, companies, or industries. Occupational profiles can be used to set instructional standards and develop curricula designed to help students meet the skill requirements for occupations. Occupational profiles can also be used to introduce WorkKeys to a community by gathering employers and representatives from these companies together to document the current state of work expectations.

Curriculum Profiles identify the WorkKeys skills and skill levels required for entry into a program of study and for program completion. Data from curriculum profiles can guide educators, individuals, and employers. More specifically, curriculum profile data helps educators identify skill level needs at various points in a training program such as the requirements at program entry, skill level gains by program completion, and potential stumbling blocks over the course of the training program due to fluctuations in skill level needs. From these profiles, individuals are provided with the information they need to identify their own strengths and areas needing improvement so they can make informed decisions as they pursue their education and career goals. When combined with a job or occupational profile, curriculum profiles can help assure employers that program graduates (i.e., current and prospective employees) have the WorkKeys skills and skill levels needed in order to be successful on the job.

Employers, are you looking to increase the skills in your area talent pool?

Curriculum Alignments help facilitate objective discussions between employers and educators to identify courses of action that can be taken to update curriculum to meet employer needs. The results from a Curriculum Profile and a Job or Occupational Profile are the foundation of a curriculum alignment. An alignment typically involves comparing the skill needs of the curriculum to the skill needs of the job or occupation in order to identify any gaps and then making plans to close to those gaps.

ACT in the News

The Role of a Workforce Program in Economic Development

It takes a village, quite literally, to build a community’s workforce. That’s why a group of training and educational professionals invited two local leaders at the forefront of economic development.

Economic Alliance Development President Lou Ann Nisbett is on a mission to attain certification as an ACT® Work Ready Community in Jefferson County, Arkansas. Also on the agenda was Eddie Thomas, area manager for South Arkansas Workforce Centers. Together, they underscored the importance of utilizing a national framework to grow the local workforce and its benefits to local employers.

This community’s use of the ACT National Career Readiness Certificate is only one example of how to bolster the economy with a certifiable work credential. Head to New Orleans for the Workforce Summit this October to hear how other economic development professionals do it!

Further Evidence That Skills Lead to Higher Incomes

Many believe that people with greater knowledge and skills have better opportunities to earn more money. New ACT research supports this notion.

ACT worked with one of the nation’s largest consumer credit reporting agencies to obtain income records from 2011 through 2016 for 50,000 individuals who took ACT WorkKeys—a system of assessments that measures essential workplace skills. By performing well on WorkKeys, examinees can earn a National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC), which is a nationally-recognized credential that can help people secure employment and higher incomes. Based on study results, workers who earned higher NCRC levels in 2011 tended to earn higher incomes and increase their incomes more in the five years after testing.

Specifically, the groups with Silver, Gold, or Platinum NCRCs increased their median incomes within two years of taking WorkKeys, and this was true for high school and adult examinees. Moreover, income increases for NCRC earners outpaced national trends by a wide margin. In all, these findings are consistent with the claim that performing well on WorkKeys and earning higher NCRCs levels can help people secure higher incomes in the short- and long-term.