PPA President Colleen Graber and Vice President for Research Operations David McConnell shared their expertise in workforce development at the Hire Education Conference on December 5 in Hot Springs, Virginia.
Ms. Graber and Mr. McConnell’s first presentation reviewed how business and higher education can form effective partnerships, drawing on examples of successful manufacturing-focused collaborations from three states. To a standing-room-only crowd, Ms. Graber and Mr. McConnell highlighted the many ways employers can be engaged to foster stronger training programs and how college staff and faculty can better understand the employer perspective. In their second session, the researchers discussed lessons from PPA’s evaluation of the Virginia Community College System’s Virginia Financial Success Network (VFSN) and two other major studies involving financial coaching, as well as other relevant research literature on the subject. This presentation provided insights on enrolling participants, engaging participants, and outcomes expectations for financial coaching programs.
The VFSN brings financial coaching to customers of workforce centers in eight of the state’s workforce regions. PPA is conducting a randomized controlled trial to measure the VFSN’s impact.
The Hire Education Conference is a gathering for Virginia community college leaders, workforce development professionals, and others to explore the ways in which college programs can address the needs of local businesses.
PPA is doing extensive work evaluating workforce development programs around the country to understand how well programs are working and to support improvements for the benefit of job seekers and regional economies.