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Public-Private Partnerships



There is growing interest in partnerships between governments and private businesses, particularly around the issue of training low wage workers. These partnerships, wherein public funds are managed by a private sector institution, must be carefully designed and maintained. Government-business training partnerships have primarily taken three forms; incumbent worker and customized training, career ladders or pathways, and state skills certificates and panels.

Non-profit foundations are not the only private entities interested in the direct service workforce. Worker and provider organizations, employers, and corporations are all potential sources of funding for direct service workforce initiatives. Collaboration between public and private entities can also increase access to funding and other resources. Organizations seeking funding should think about which corporations, unions, or other organizations in their state might be open to funding a workforce project, or providing in-kind support and resources. Following are some examples of organizations that have provided funding for, or collaborated on direct services workforce programs in the past.

SEIU Home Care Workers Health Insurance Project (external link) Under a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Service Employees International Union analyzed its past efforts to increase access to health insurance for direct care workers and create replicable models of coverage to be used by the union and other organizations in efforts to reduce the high number of uninsured in the home care workforce. SEIU (external link) represents many home health workers and has several other programs that benefit direct services workers.

Pioneer Network (external link) The Pioneer Network is a network of progressive long-term care organizations and individuals committed to transforming the culture of aging and elder care in America.

Quality Improvement Organizations (external link) Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs) are private organizations that contract with the federal government's Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to improve care quality in nursing homes, home health care agencies, and other health care organizations. The Person Directed Care (PDC) project, lead by Quality Partners of RI, has trained all 53 QIOs to provide information, resources and implementation strategies that will allow QIOs to work with nursing homes on implementing person directed care models. This model encompasses practices and procedures in three domains: workplace practice, care practice and environment.

State University Systems/Local Community Colleges

An employer pool effectively combines individual employers’ assets and risks to create a structure that protects members of the group. They have traditionally been formed for insurance purposes, to establish negotiating power and to protect against catastrophic claims, but employer pools might also be established to collaborate towards a common goal. For example, an employer pool might be formed in order to spread the cost of training across a group.

Amy-Ellen Duke, Karin Martinson, and Julie Strawn published a series of case studies through the Center for Law and Social Policy in April of 2006 called Wising Up How Government Can Partner with Business to Increase Skills and Advance Low-Wage Workers (external link). This report examines five state-funded programs that illustrate the three models of government-business partnerships, and are especially focused on how such partnerships may benefit the low-wage workforce.

Incumbent Worker and Customized Training programs provide funding to offer job-specific training of current and newly hired workers. State-funded programs of this nature range in size and scope; many are financed through employer taxes. According to 2004 research by the Government Accountability Office (external link), 23 states reported using employer tax revenues to fund training programs in 2002. Funding streams included Unemployment Insurance (UI) tax offsets, penalty, and interest funds; and separate employer. However, most incumbent worker training programs do not focus specifically on low-wage workers.

The Massachusetts Workforce Training Fund Program (external link) (WTFP) is one example. The state provides grants to partnerships with a strong emphasis on private sector investment in training. Since, 1999, the fund has been financed through employer contributions to the Unemployment Insurance tax fund. The program provides training to approximately 27,000 workers annually with an annual budget of approximately $22 million.

Career Ladders generally lay out a job sector’s range of positions and educational opportunities to reveal and fill in the existing gaps in education and training services. Ideally, the ladder begins at the lowest literacy and English language levels and extends all the way through a four-year college degree and includes comprehensive services to support student success. Several states – including Arkansas, California, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Oregon—have recently embarked on statewide such efforts. The terminology Career Lattice is also sometimes used to emphasize the importance of lateral, as well as, vertical career movement.

Massachusetts Extended Care Career Ladder Initiative (external link) (ECCLI) began in 2000, seeking to improve the quality of nursing home care by improving workers’ skills. ECCLI provides grants to consortiums of nursing homes and community colleges to create career ladders and to address staff training, work environment, and quality of care issues. The program has trained over 9,000 nursing home employees in Massachusetts.

Kentucky Career Pathways (external link) Since 2004, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) has provided funding to develop and implement career pathways that assist low-income workers. The 16 participating colleges receive $3.3 million each from the state KCTCS workforce development trust fund (KY WINS) and $3 million from business partners through cash and in-kind contributions. By fall 2005, nearly 1,000 students had been served through this program.

State Skills Certificates and Panels bring together employers within a particular business sector to identify workforce development needs and create opportunities for their employees to earn occupational credentials that are portable from one employer to another. State occupational skills certificates provide a mechanism for workers to document their mastery of a specific set of job skills. States such as Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin have pursued industry-based or state-developed occupational certifications.

Georgia Statewide Certified Specialist Programs (external link) For this initiative, the state convened groups of large employers to develop standardized curricula and credentials in key sectors such as construction, manufacturing, and customer service. Funding for development is provided by the Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education; training is provided by technical colleges and universities. The cost of tuition, books, and fees are covered by HOPE Grants, the state-funded financial aid program. As of 2005, over 20,000 certificates have been issued.





Created by: admin. Last Modification: Thursday 14 of July, 2011 14:35:39 EDT by EKDilla.

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