Tracking

Student tracking is an administrative activity that can last years after students graduate. A mindset exists that job development and training programs consist of a series of steps that are each regarded in isolation. Unfortunately, this approach discourages the connection between the past and future. The Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) program requires that students look back and that program staff look forward as students progress after graduation. There are several good reasons for this process. Graduates with some certifications may need refreshers or recertification to keep credentials current. Sometimes expectations of the worker or employer are not fulfilled, resulting in an unemployed graduate who needs placement assistance and/or additional training. Successful graduates can become excellent resources in guidance, placement, and mentoring of current students. Graduates often become role models, providing testimony regarding the worthiness of the program to potential recruits, employers, supporters, and partners. Historically, successful EWDJT graduates have contributed to the program in a variety of ways. Become part of the staff. Provide instruction. Serve on advisory boards. Assist in development activities. Feedback from former students can be valuable in maintaining a current and relevant curriculum. Many programs have found social media an effective way in communicating with program alumni and current participants. Each of the issues identified above requires that all EWDJT programs develop a mechanism for making graduates feel welcome, encouraging them to participate in the program after graduation, and giving them a reason to maintain contact. This step is very important, but often overlooked. It is necessary to instill in the graduates an obligation to report his or her progress after graduation. Also inform prospective employers of the tracking process in consideration of placement. Tracking 100 percent of program graduates is a very difficult task. Methods that have been used to maximize graduate participation in EWDJT activities (which also provide tracking opportunities) include several approaches. Maintain and update current email and contact information. Encourage Facebook participation for all program participants continuing past graduation. Maintain a regular newsletter with employment opportunities and current events. Track pre-apprentice candidates into union employment. Continue social events that include alumni and current participants. Offer incentives including refreshers and professional development activities to all graduates. Provide employment and placement opportunities to all graduates. As part of positive dynamics, graduates should accept responsibility for tracking. Likewise, program staff need to develop a periodic tracking instrument and process by which graduates can report and maintain contact. Read More
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The Placement Process – Effective Job Selection

Job offers do not always signify a successful conclusion to the job search activity. Graduates should be informed that, aside from their personal relationship with prospective employers, Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) programs themselves must maintain a cordial and positive relationship with employers for future placement. Students and staff should not “burn bridges”.Thank you letters for interviews, acceptances, and rejections are expected. For continued good relations with the program or with the graduate, it is necessary to maintain positive contact with employers. Whether or not a student accepts a position or is rejected by a company, program staff and students should remain appreciative of the employer’s interest. Issues and economic conditions may change over time, necessitating a search for additional employees. Organizations with environmental workers always remain a potential source of employment and should be treated as such. The dark side of job placement relates to jobs that may not be safe, healthy, or otherwise suitable for graduates. All too often, job openings exist for a reason. Poor management, unsafe or difficult working conditions, substandard pay, or unrealistic expectations can lead to positions that are consistently vacated. If the job has been vacated many times before, employer expectations may be too high, or there may be issues with supervision or working conditions. Applicants need to pay careful attention to the history of the job opening.If the position was newly formed, expectations and performance standards may not be established. If an opening is the result of organizational growth, there may be a number of related positions available. There are a couple questions to ask. Who will be the supervisor? Is there an established human resources policy and a grievance procedure? All of the considerations mentioned are issues that EWDJT graduates and program staff must address as part of the placement process. When jobs are offered, staff should provide graduates with as much guidance as possible in evaluating jobs and following proper etiquette in accepting or rejecting offers. Read More
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The Placement Process – Effective Marketing

The first level of placement is marketing graduates. Connecting graduates to employers is analogous to promoting the Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) program to new students during the recruitment phase. The first step of marketing is a resume and cover letter, followed with progressively more detailed information as requested. Resumes are easy to handle and transmit in either printed or digital format. To be selected for an interview, job candidates must demonstrate that they have sufficient knowledge, skills, and experience required for successful performance. Getting an employer’s attention is much easier when the prospective employer is familiar with the EWDJT program or has previously employed a program participant. The process is even better when employers have an opportunity to interact with prospective candidates. Resume writing should be incorporated as part of a larger, comprehensive life skills curriculum. While such curricula cannot be supported with EPA EWDJT funds, supplemental funding from state and local employment services (i.e. the Department of Labor CareerOneStop Centers), churches, or other community groups may be used. There are many strategies to promote graduates to employers. EWDJT placement services—Placement efforts by EWDJT staff can be the most effective vehicle for several reasons. Staff members know the students and graduates of the program and can provide references for additional positions. Program staff know the subject matter and can answer questions first-hand regarding student abilities and credentials. CareerOneStop Centers—The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has an extensive network of job development and placement services in virtually every community across the United States. Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) exist in every state and can be located through the National Association of Workforce Investment Boards (NAWB). This website provides in detail the location and contact information for state and local programs. Partnering with WIBs provides access to CareerOneStop Centers, targeted employment programs, supplemental training services, and student support. As discussed in other chapters, the importance of partnering with WIBs cannot be overstated. In areas such as recruitment, supplemental job training services, and job placement, the WIB may be the single, most important and helpful resource in your community. Internships and company visitations—Often, job openings do not reach traditional marketing channels, but instead are filled internally or by recommendation or familiarization. In some cases, positions are created when employers discover candidates having potential value for the organization. Therefore, the more contact students have with employers, the higher the likelihood they will be offered a job. This approach works because employers have a chance to familiarize themselves with the candidate. Work-study programs, internships, part-time employment, and co-op education programs are excellent vehicles for placing students. When students work for prospective employers, mutual information exchange occurs regarding company culture, work environment, and expectations. Establishing work-study or co-op programs in an EWDJT program can be a very effective vehicle for placing graduates. The closer and more familiar the prospective employer is with the program, the more likely an interview will be granted. For this reason, it is important to invite prospective employers as guest speakers, instructors, advisory board members, and leveraged supporters. Internet job searches—In addition to providing local job development and placement services, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has made extensive use of the Internet. America’s Career Kit is a collection of Web-based resources provided by the DOL. America’s Job Bank America’s Career InfoNet Find an American Job Center ONet Commercial job development and placement services are abundant on the Web. While the effectiveness of these sites varies widely, do not overlook them as excellent sources of job-marketing information. Some websites provide employer information by geographical area and industry. Others provide job search tips and resume development ideas. Below is a partial list of popular Web-based job marketing services. Find Top Tech Jobs Career Builder Auto Hire Careersite Monster SimplyHired Indeed LinkUp Occupational Outlook Handbook Newspaper classified ads—Newspaper ads rank with Internet job search services as a difficult way to secure a job. Openings that appear on the Web or in print will likely be viewed by many individuals interested in the same position. Newspaper ads, however, should not be ignored but included as yet another pathway for potential job placement. Human resources consultants suggest storing and tracking newspaper ads as a source for future job openings. Employers who advertise for positions obviously need environmental workers from time to time, and should become candidates for direct marketing efforts. Professional employment services—Professional employment services require a fee, which is usually paid by the employer for locating candidates with specialized high-demand skills. Instances could exist where firms must quickly ramp up environmental remediation capabilities in order to fulfill a contract. For that reason, EWDJT program staff should maintain contact with professional employment services that specialize in environmental workers. One such site is the Brownfield Renewal Job Board sponsored by the Brownfield Renewal Magazine. Temporary staffing and labor contract services—Temporary staffing services are often used by EWDJT programs as a pathway for job placement, both for temporary and full-time employment. Because of the nature of many environmental jobs, full-time positions may not be available when graduates are seeking employment. Labor contracts or temporary job services can sometimes turn into permanent employment, but primarily they act as a “peaking” service. When work demands additional staffing, but not necessarily full-time employment, employers rely on temporary staffing services to provide supplemental assistance. This is a common practice in the environmental remediation field. Construction sites can require workers with specialized skill sets and certifications for limited periods of time. Contract labor or temporary staffing firms smooth out employment peaks and valleys by furnishing employers with a pool of trained, certified workers. This benefits the workers by providing jobs from a variety of employers. By consolidating jobs, contract labor services can also serve as a centralized employer, affording benefits and support services to workers who might not qualify for those services based on short-term employment. A major advantage of temporary job services is that short-term placement allows employers and graduates the opportunity to become acquainted. If graduates and employers mesh, temporary workers may be offered full-time positions when they become available. Personal networking—Personal networking is a highly effective approach in securing a job interview. Often job seekers know recent graduates who can provide a recommendation. Friends or relatives working in large organizations can provide inside information regarding possible job openings and company culture even if they do not work in the environmental arena. Popular opportunities for networking include: Alumni reunions and mixers—Graduates can mix with former graduates to network and share experiences. As with prospective employers, engaging former graduates in the EWDJT program provides a networking opportunity for new graduates. Employer open houses—Invite prospective employers and graduates to tour facilities, exchange ideas, and discuss topics of mutual interest. Career events—Host events specifically oriented to job development, marketing, and placement. Job fairs—Many communities and employment services sponsor periodic job fairs. Job fairs address many organizations and occupations so they become excellent opportunities for personal networking and credential presentation. State and regional environmental conferences—Increasingly, states are forming Brownfields Associations that hold conferences attended by private sector stakeholders and governmental organizations. Environmental conferences provide an excellent venue for networking and providing an understanding to employers interested in EWDJT graduates. Cold calls—Cold calls can provide pleasant surprises when used by EWDJT staff as well as by job candidates. Pools of prospective employers may be uncovered by placing cold calls to human resources personnel who might fall through the cracks during the normal placement process. Large organizations not normally involved in the environmental field may need individuals with knowledge of environmental and/or Brownfields issues. Insurance companies, banks, realtors, architects, shippers, landscaping, and governmental organizations are just a few examples of those who may have a limited demand for people with environmental knowledge. Organizations like these would not necessarily be targeted by traditional placement activities of an EWDJT program. Placing cold calls to non-traditional employers can often be difficult and nonproductive, but can occasionally be worth the effort and may turn up excellent opportunities for graduates. Read More
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The Placement Process – Effective Presentation

Effective presentation is presenting each student as a worthy candidate through appearance, interview, and documentation. Appearance and personal presentation during the introduction and interview is a life skill, and ideally part of any comprehensive Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) program. Personal hygiene, dress, speech, and attitude should be addressed, as well as ensuring that students are conversant in technical issues associated with the positions they are seeking. Life skills instruction cannot be funded with EWDJT dollars, but costs for such training can usually be found through other sources. See Support Services period. There are several talking points related to training that may be discussed during an interview. Environmental topic areas studied. Nature and conditions of the environmental work. Certifications and credentials earned including association affiliations. Special recognitions and awards. Travel and relocation preferences. Interest in additional responsibilities and potential for advancement. Physical limitations or other issues that may influence job performance. Many of the talking points listed above are about the job seeker’s preferences, abilities, and expectations. Unless informed otherwise, job seekers should assume the prospective employer is not knowledgeable regarding the candidate’s technical abilities and credentials. Job seekers should be prepared to discuss technical issues. Above all, job seekers should be good listeners. The prospective employer will provide background information, expectations, job performance measures, and compensation associated with the vacant position. Criminal and incarceration history should not be an issue but, at some point, needs to be addressed. Many EWDJT programs work with ex-offender populations and are extremely successful placing graduates in good jobs. Program staff must be sensitive to employer attitudes and company re-entry policies. The challenge is to place graduates where they will be respected and appreciated. Read More
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Introduction

Placement and tracking of students is the final and one of the most important activities highlighting the completion of successful environmental job training. While it is the last step, it is one of the most difficult to complete successfully. Time and effort for placement, and especially for tracking, can easily be underestimated as its fulfillment extends years after graduation. Ultimately, the goals of placement and tracking are to: Find sustainable jobs for students. Maintain contact with students. Provide post-placement services as needed. Engage graduates in recruiting and mentoring of new students. The objective of placement is to find the best job match for each student. After finding that job, it may be necessary to provide additional support to students in their jobs or to assist in relocation if placements fail. Tracking is more administrative in nature and follows each student’s progress, including promotions, salaries, and commendations. Most Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) grantees have found student tracking to be extremely difficult as graduates move, change employment, and migrate into new jobs. An effective tracking program establishes a method for capturing post-graduation training and work experiences. Successful tracking requires close relationships with employers and students. Building a culture that welcomes, values, and promotes continued participation by program graduates is the prerequisite for a tracking program that works. Sometimes, however, incentives are necessary to bring information back after students have graduated. Why are placement and tracking so important? The primary result of good placement and tracking efforts is having graduates employed in sustainable, safe jobs that lead to prosperous futures. Effective placement and tracking create goodwill and a positive reputation between the EWDJT program, employers, and the community. Placement and tracking results in a solid information database upon which the EWDJT program can be evaluated and found worthy of additional support. Finding good jobs for EWDJT program graduates can be subdivided into three tasks. Effective marketing to prospective employers of environmentally trained workers. Effective presentation of program graduates’ unique and specialized skills and credentials. Effective job selection by matching student abilities with job opportunities. Read More
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