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 (JT) 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?

  1. The primary result of good placement and tracking efforts is having graduates employed in sustainable, safe jobs that lead to prosperous futures.
  2. Effective placement and tracking create goodwill and a positive reputation between the JT program, employers, and the community.
  3. Placement and tracking results in a solid information database upon which the JT program can be evaluated and found worthy of additional support.

Finding good jobs for JT program graduates can be subdivided into three tasks.

  1. Effective marketing to prospective employers of environmentally trained workers.
  2. Effective presentation of program graduates’ unique and specialized skills and credentials.
  3. Effective job selection by matching student abilities with job opportunities.