Editor’s Note: Transportation Connections WorkAdvance is now Tulsa Community WorkAdvance.
Mayor Dewey Bartlett and Transportation Connections WorkAdvance Program Director Christopher Bernhardt today announced the opening of the Transportation Connections WorkAdvance center. Transportation Connections WorkAdvance is a new industry-focused career advancement program that provides low-income individuals with technical training, job placement and promising careers in the transportation, aviation and aerospace industries. The initiative is also aimed at helping companies in Tulsa’s transportation industry become more competitive by building better employee pipelines.
“The Transportation Connections WorkAdvance initiative is supporting job growth and providing citizens with the necessary skills for job placement in an industry that continues to grow in Tulsa,” Bartlett said. “This initiative will not only have a positive impact on our workforce, but will improve upon the quality of life for Tulsans.”
The Transportation Connections WorkAdvance center, located at 907 S. Detroit Avenue, is designed to help unemployed and underemployed Tulsa residents gain access to quality jobs in the transportation industry and then advance in those jobs. This initiative provides Tulsa residents with career advancement training, job placement services and specific transportation-related scholarships to local education providers.
“Transportation Connections WorkAdvance really gave me a lot of helpful information, especially on how to write my resume, and I was very prepared for my interview,” said Jordan Moore, a program participant who is now in a paid internship with Melton Trucking. “I really wanted to get the opportunity to work on larger engines and now have the chance to get my diesel mechanic education. With TCW help, I know that I’m on a new career track and that this is the start of something big.”
The program has already enrolled its first 80 customers and currently partners with 14 employers with hopes to reach more than 400 customers and partner with 30 employers by the end of 2012. Madison Strategies Group, a nonprofit workforce development organization, will operate the Transportation Connections WorkAdvance program, which will connect 710 low-income individuals to key job skills through technical training and career coaching. The total five-year budget for the Transportation Connections WorkAdvance program is $3.2 million.
“Transportation Connections WorkAdvance will provide a full range of training and job placement services to new jobseekers that will enable them to attain high paying jobs with specific career advancement paths,” Bernhardt said. “This initiative seeks to provide individuals with the resources to advance in their job and work towards a higher position with long-term stability. Through this initiative, participants will be given the opportunity to take a supervision and management course at Tulsa Community College to help them make their next career step.”
The services of Transportation Connections WorkAdvance are based on a business-driven, sector-based approach which follows markets trends, identifies jobs in growth industries, recognizes the workforce needs of businesses and trains job candidates in order to prepare them for specific trades.
“Demand-driven training is a valuable tool for the optimization of our workforce development efforts in the Tulsa region,” said Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Metro Chamber. “Transportation is a key sector in our community, and this training can help many great Tulsaarea employers fill a real need for qualified workers.”
Transportation Connections WorkAdvance will ensure that individuals receive training for relevant and in-demand jobs in the transportation field, including jobs such as diesel mechanics, drivers and machinists, as well as positions in logistics, operations and customer service. Companies already on-board with the program include Southwest United Industries, Melton Truck Lines, John Christner Trucking and Hoffmeier.
“We are proud to partner with WorkAdvance and provide Tulsans with employment opportunities,” said Angie Buchanan, vice president of Melton Truck Lines. “We are impressed with the customized technical and life-skills training the program provides. We are proud to offer paid internships to these scholarship recipients and are very pleased with their quality of work.”
Funding for the program is being provided though the Social Innovation Fund by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Center for Economic Opportunity, the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, George Kaiser Family Foundation and Tulsa Community Foundation.
“WorkAdvance is a good example of a public-private partnership working to provide employment opportunities to low-income individuals,” said Phil Lakin, CEO of Tulsa Community Foundation. “Tulsa community partners are proud to support our city in joining other cities across the nation to provide evidence-based programs. WorkAdvance, in particular, will offer services that will help improve the quality of life for Tulsans with the greatest needs.”
The WorkAdvance program is one of five evidence-based initiatives to be implemented in cities across the country including Tulsa, New York City, Cleveland, Youngstown, and others. Working together, the partner cities are seeking to expand services and build a national body of evidence in support of promising programs. MDRC, a nonpartisan education and social policy research organization, will conduct an evaluation to determine how effective the services are for both program participants and employers. Additional support for this initiative is provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies, Open Society Foundations, The Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation and Surdna Foundation.
Transportation Connections WorkAdvance staff is also collaborating with community and faithbased organizations to identify Tulsa residents who can benefit from these services. Referrals have already been received from the Community Action Project, Goodwill, Destiny Center and Workforce Tulsa. Through Transportation Connections WorkAdvance, local education providers will be offering full scholarships to Tulsa Tech for diesel technician and aerospace structures training, Central Tech for commercial drivers license training and Tulsa Community College for supervisory development training.
The Transportation Connections WorkAdvance center will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tulsa residents interested in applying for the program can schedule an appointment by calling 918-442-2200.