Ways to Engage

Solutions for Workforce Talent

Led by Coalition on Adult Basic Education and SkillsUSA, Behind Every Employer strategically connects companies with educational leaders across the country to provide solutions for the workforce talent challenges they face both today and in the future.


Beyond the First Meeting

A Guide for Beginning and Cultivating a Thriving Workplace Education Program

Published by “Behind Every Employer”, the guide was created to help adult education providers connect with employers to build strong, viable partnerships. It’s designed from the perspective that the best way to address the needs of students is by adequately building and fostering strong employer partnerships. Once this is done, you are well on the way to meeting the employment or advancement needs of students.

The goal of this guide is to help you get your first meeting with an employer. Making it through that meeting with success while landing the second invite from the employer is your goal!  This guide provides you with proven strategies and common pitfalls educators sometimes experience when building relationships with employers. By the time you finish reading the guide, you can expect to better engage employers, speak their language, and obtain successful outcomes!

Unlocking Economic Prosperity: Career Navigation in a Time of Rapid Change

Executive Summary

Unlocking Economic Prosperity: Career Navigation in a Time of Rapid Change is a new paper from the Harvard Project on Workforce and the National Fund for Workforce Solutions that dissects the field of career navigation to identify the drivers and barriers that disproportionately prevent Black, Latinx, and Indigenous individuals from economic mobility. The paper evaluates the evidence and practice of career navigation and identifies core design principles, concluding with a set of stakeholder recommendations and research gaps that should be further explored. Ultimately, Unlocking Economic Prosperity lays out an evidence-based, field-informed strategy to enable every individual to pursue rewarding careers, contributing to a more prosperous economy. 

Selected Journal Articles

Strategic Planning for Employer-Driven Models

Employer-Led Efforts to Close the Skills Gap Via Untapped Talent Pipelines
by Jamie M. Francis
Published in the COABE Journal, Volume 9, Issue 1, Spring 2020

Talent Pipeline Management® (TPM) is a workforce strategy that focuses on the development and delivery of talent from classroom to career. The TPM approach is designed to give employers the tools they need to feel confident managing career pathways for students and workers, and creates shared responsibility between employers and their talent provider partners to establish successful talent pipelines. This piece will examine the methodology and its application for uncovering untapped talent pipelines. 

Texas Hold’em: Engaging Employers to Close the Skills Gap
by Anson M. Green
Published in the COABE Journal, Volume 9, Issue 1, Spring 2020

This article describes solutions the state of Texas found as it successfully developed a market-driven adult education system to deliver employers, learners, and other system customers a new model for defining student success. After a brief discussion regarding the Texas business and economic climate, the article describes demonstrated methods and examples across five dimensions that tell Texas’ story transformation  to an employer-driven system. These examples provide state and local leaders ways to meet the demands of WIOA and the expectations of students, employers, and system partners.

Investing in Adult Education is an Economic Catalyst
by Reecie D. Stagnolia
Published in the COABE Journal, Volume 10, Issue 1, Spring 2021

Many solutions to the United States’ workforce, economic, and societal issues lie within one of our nation’s greatest untapped resources—adult education. How do we address America’s skills gap? Employers, economic and workforce developers, and educators are all asking this challenging question. For the sake of our nation’s global competitiveness, our adult education system must take our students further faster. We know we must be flexible, nimble, and responsive, addressing the adult education–related challenges of America’s competitive skills crisis with a laser focus and sense of urgency. We stand at the ready to partner with employers and economic and workforce developers to do our part in closing America’s skills gap.

Workplace Curriculum and Instruction

Workplace ESOL Goes Digital: Expanding Opportunities for English Language Learning
by Victoria Neff, Ana Negoescu, and Jen Vanek
Published in the COABE Journal, Volume 10, Issue 1, Spring 2021

This article describes an innovative workplace English initiative that aims to improve access to English language instruction for immigrant workers. Developed by the National Immigration Forum, English for All is a first-of-its-kind, blended training program comprising 40% face-to-face instruction and 60% online learning. The article shares learnings from testing a fully remote model, where instruction was delivered through live, synchronous virtual classrooms. An external evaluation found the program to be a highly effective solution for workers across industries who sought to build workplace English skills but faced barriers enrolling in traditional face-to-face learning opportunities. The model benefits both workers seeking to boost English proficiency and employers seeking to enhance workers’ skills and retain and promote a diverse workforce.

Filling the Soft Skill Gap
by Donna Price and Ronna Magy
Published in the COABE Journal, Volume 10, Issue 1, Spring 2021

Detailed in this article are teaching strategies and activities that can be used in both face-to-face and online adult education classes to develop the soft skills of communication, teamwork, and critical thinking. These skills can be taught in the context of any lesson; they do not need to be contextualized in workplace-related lessons. By integrating these instructional practices in the curriculum, adult education professionals can help adult students acquire the transferable skills essential to thriving in the workplace and moving forward in educational and community environments.

Complex workforce issues are solved through public/private partnerships.

Testimonials View All

Thanks to a training grant from our education partners that funded 75% of the cost, we upskilled our employees with limited English skills which improved our customer service and enhanced our brand. Companies need to partner with adult and career education providers who stand ready to help us compete.
Murdock Webbing Company, Inc.
Central Falls, Rhode Island
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