help / search / bookmark / sitemap / feedback
Home
HOME/ORIENTATION
Funding Sources / Links & Resources / Research / Glossary
April 24, 2014
Research...
The Business CasePromising PracticesToolkitTipsheets/Tell Your StoryPublic PolicyU.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education

Research Section

In the face of globalization, technological change, trade liberalization, deregulation and other external pressures, employee skills are becoming increasingly important. There is a growing body of research supporting the connection between investments in work-based learning and positive bottom-line returns for organizations.

Selection Criteria

The following research projects point to key trends in work-based learning, benefits achieved via work-based learning, and productive ways to involve labor in such initiatives.

Disclaimer of Endorsement

The State of Workplace Education in the States: A Policy Perspective
Workplace Learning Research Colloquium

Advice and Information
Benefits of Work-based Learning
Labor Involvement

The State of Workplace Education in the States: A Policy Perspective

Workplace Learning Research Colloquium
(March 6-7, 2003 in Washington, D.C.) – Discussion Summary


Advice and Information

Learning for Jobs: an OECD policy review of vocational education and training which includes best practices from South Carolina and Texas.
View Resource

Counting the Hidden Assets: First Steps in Assessing the Impact of Community College Noncredit Education Programs on the Workforce and Local Economies is a report that makes the case for the training hour as the basic unit of measurement and proposes a taxonomy to classify and describe the range of noncredit activities delivered by community colleges.
View Resource

NC-CALL 12. Local Perspectives on WIA Reauthorization reports on local programs and institutions identified as providing exemplary "adult education for work" services.
View Resource

Strong Students, Strong Workers: Models for Student Success through Workforce Development and Community College Partnerships is a review of community college and state efforts to improve enrollments and completion rates among disadvantaged youth and adults.
View Resource

Re-imagining Community Colleges in the 21st Century is a report that discusses policies on community college-transfer, occupational and developmental activities as well as collaborations among four-year institutions, community-based organizations, business and industrial partners.
View Resource

Training Tomorrow's Workforce: Community College and Apprenticeship as Collaborative Routes to Rewarding Careers is a report that shows the benefits of collaboration between community colleges and apprenticeship programs for workers, employers and community colleges.
View Resource

New Ways to Build a Quality Workforce: An Employer's Guide aims to engage businesses in developing high quality workforces by inspiring creative thinking, providing an alternative model for talent development, providing resource materials and encouraging long-term engagement.
View Resource

The Ill-Prepared U.S. Workforce: Exploring the Challenges of Employer-Provided Workforce Readiness Training examines corporate practices on training newly hired graduates at three educational levels: high school, two-year college, and four-year college.
View Resource

Online Learning for Adults: Factors that Contribute to Success is a resource describing information on institutional factors needed, effective instructional practices and online learner characteristics.
View Resource

Career Pathways Toolkit is a new resource for state and local leaders working to expand education, training and learning opportunities for America's current and emerging workforce.
(http://www.communitycollegecentral.org/careerpathways/index.html)

All Signs Point to Yes: Literacy's Impact on Workplace Health and Safety is a new report that explores the connections between literacy skills and workplace health and safety. 
(http://www.conferenceboard.ca  and go to E-Library for free download)

Recent studies offer advice and information on developing and supporting work-based learning initiatives to employers, practitioners and their partners.

Breaching the Barriers to Workplace Literacy (2001)
Literacy is a key factor in ensuring corporate competitiveness and personal success. This report explores the question: What are the principal barriers to increasing workplace literacy and learning in Canada's workplaces and how can we overcome them?
URL: http://www.conferenceboard.ca/education/reports/default.htm
eLearning in Canada: Survey Findings (2003)
Recent survey findings on current practices in eLearning for the workplace draw conclusions on users and usage of eLearning, challenges and evaluation, as well as benefits and future use of eLearning. This report will be useful to anyone interested in eLearning, including organizations that want to benchmark and those who want to learn more about best practices.
URL: http://www.conferenceboard.ca/education/reports/default.htm
Keen for the Screen: Employers are Using E-Learning for Employee Skill Development (2000)
Employers were asked what their experiences were with using learning technologies and eLearning in the workplace. This report highlights key findings from this survey, including current and planned usage of learning technologies, the top three barriers to starting and implementing eLearning, and the top three reasons for using them.
URL: http://www.conferenceboard.ca/education/reports/default.htm
Solutions for Employers: Effective Strategies for Using Learning Technologies in the Workplace (2000)
Based on a review of the literature on learning technologies, the report outlines the benefits of learning technologies for employees and employers, the challenges involved in using learning technologies, and the steps employers can take to use learning technologies for employee learning.
URL: http://www.conferenceboard.ca/education/reports/default.htm
Strength from Within: Overcoming the Barriers to Workplace Literacy Development (2003)
Improving workplace literacy isn't easy - but it is rewarding. This report offers practical advice to employers for setting up or sustaining a workplace literacy program. Based on a statistically valid, national survey and supported by in-person and telephone interviews, the report summarizes the findings of a two-year, federally funded research project. It explores literacy program benefits, common barriers and provides solutions and tools that prepare employers for action.
URL: http://www.conferenceboard.ca/education/reports/default.htm
Reauthorization of WIA: HR1261 - Workforce Reinvestment of Adult Education Act of 2003
This legislation will promote economic development and better equip businesses and workers for success in the 21st century economy. The Administration supports reauthorizing the Workforce Investment act of 1998 (WIA) and its key reforms.
URL: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/legislative/sap/108-1/hr1261sap-h.pdf


Benefits of Work-based Learning
Not only organizations, but also individual employees, unions and communities benefit from investments in work-based learning. Several broad-based studies document the specific gains that arise from such programs.
Partnerships, Pathways and Proportional Investment
A report from the Workforce Alliance argues for at least two years of post-secondary training for all U.S. workers. Support and access for basic skills development is also discussed.
View Report
National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVR) – Australia
In their studies of the Return on Investment (ROI) of work-based learning efforts, the NCVR suggests the following about investments in training:
• Returns on training investments are nearly always positive, and can be very high;
• Returns can come in many forms;
• Immediate returns are highest when work-based learning programs are highly focused;
• Measuring returns is not always an easy task;
• Training can act as a support mechanism for other changes in the organization; and
• Returns on training can be enhanced by other human resource policies n the organization.
URL: http://www.ncver.edu.au

Turning Skills into Profit: Economic Benefits of Workplace Education Programs (1999)

On behalf of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Vocational and Adult Education, The Conference Board studied 45 national workplace education projects. This study documented the economic benefits of work-based learning efforts for participating organizations, their employees and associated unions.
URL: http://www.conferenceboard.ca/education/reports/default.htm


Labor Involvement
By supporting work-based learning, unions focus on increasing the value of employees to the company. When employers involve their union representative in planning and delivering education and training, they increase the commitment level of union members to the success of the learning program.
Success by Design: What Works in Workforce Development (2002)
Joint workplace education programs harness the power of collaboration between unions and management to produce exceptional training results that benefit everyone involved. The organizational and individual benefits, and the key design elements of successful joint programs in the United States, are identified and showcased.
URL: http://www.conferenceboard.ca/education/reports/default.htm
Union Roles in Workplace Literacy (1993)
This paper discusses the union role in ensuring that American workers have the skills they need in a dynamic workplace.
URL: http://www.nald.ca/fulltext/report3/rep23-27/rep24-01.htm

Worker-Centered Learning: Labor’s Role (1999)

This digest explores the labor movement's new vision for workers' education. This new educational vision of labor unions is based on the belief that worker-centered learning can contribute both to individual development and the economic viability of the organization.
URL: http://www.ericacve.org/docgen.asp?tbl=digests&ID=95


home | the business case | promising practices | toolkit | tipsheets/tell your story | public policy