Identify skill gaps in the current workforce
Employers are best positioned to pinpoint skill and knowledge gaps within their current workforce, though they may need support from partner organizations to gather the data necessary to do so. Partners like nonprofits running pre-employment programs, workforce-focused public agencies, and academic institutions can be great resources to employers when designing and implementing skill- and knowledge-gap surveys. Working together as a sector to identify areas of data need can help make collection methods replicable, no matter the size, structure, or function of each employer.
Collect that data!
The most pertinent data for employers to collect and share with partners is typically unavailable to the general public, yet is key to designing a great pre-employment program and comprehensive career pathway. Rates of turnover in on-the-ground positions, retention as related to experience and/or earned certifications, and employee demographics are all indicators of the health of the workforce. See an the table below for an example of what data sharing agreements specify between career pathways partners, referenced from the U.S. Department of Labor Career Pathways Toolkit.
Transparency is key
The more forthcoming employers can be about the most common complaints their HR departments deal with, the kinds of norms that exist with their crew culture, and the interest and ability for employees to grow within the organization, the easier it will be for a pre-employment program to prepare participants for entry into the workplace.
Taking measures like ensuring a certain level of anonymity during data collection and agreeing that all data collected are shared within the bounds of the partnership, and figuring out a procedure for external partner communications may help put some partners at ease, and encourage more participation in these data-gathering exercises.
Check out section 6.2 of the Department of Labor’s Career Pathways Toolkit which will help you identify the data you need to design and effective program.