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Customized Training: Businesses Partner with Community Programs for Workforce Development

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What Is Customized Training?

Training tailored to the needs of a specific business or group of businesses is called customized training. These programs are often designed in partnership with training providers, like local community colleges. When teamed up with vocational rehabilitation, these programs can connect motivated, trainable candidates to competitive, integrated employment opportunities.

As a result of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act of 2014, VR agencies were provided with funding earmarked specifically for employer engagement. Customized training is a great way to use that aid to partner with businesses. Leveraging the training expertise of community colleges is a win-win-win.

Types of Customized Training

There are a number of different types of customized training, which are typically driven by employer need.

Community college programs use their training expertise to prepare workers who need specific skills for a particular business. Recent grants have provided incentive for community colleges to create programs that prepare job seekers for high-wage, high-skill positions.

Registered apprenticeships are customized training programs supported by the Department of Labor. In these arrangements, employers sponsor a job seeker who is then trained in a specific industry sector like IT or healthcare. The apprentice works for the sponsoring company in tandem with training that is provided in either a classroom setting or by hands-on experiences.

On-the-job training (OJT) takes place directly on the job site. As with apprenticeships, trainees work while learning how to do specific tasks needed by the employer. Learners work alongside more experienced colleagues who share their expertise. In this situation there is usually an understanding between the trainees and the employer that there will be a permanent hire at the end of the training.

Each of these customized training methods can help agencies, businesses, and training centers create a pipeline for job seekers with disabilities to find well-paying, mid-level jobs with opportunities for career growth.

Customized Training Toolkit

A Customized Training Toolkit was created by Explore VR, which is a program within the Institute for Community Inclusion at UMASS Boston. ExploreVR offers vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies easy and convenient access to a range of VR research, related data, and tools for planning, evaluation, and decision-making.

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