CSP Study Highlights Strategies for Linking Temporary Workers with Skills Training
November 14, 2012
Center for Social Policy
A new paper suggests that an alternative model of temporary staffing programs—one that provides low-income workers and employers with careful job matching and support services—not only helps workers obtain jobs, but also offers them important pathways to gaining the skills that employers are seeking.
"Alternative Staffing Organizations and Skills: Linking Temporary Work with Training" published by the Center for Social Policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston, reports findings from a three-year study of the alternative staffing model. The paper was authored by Brandynn Holgate, Françoise Carré, Helen Levine, and Risa Takenaka, and the study was part of the national Alternative Staffing Demonstration, funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.
Alternative Staffing Organizations (ASOs) are community-based, fee-for-service temporary staffing programs that place job seekers in temporary and temp-to-perm jobs that meet the needs of customer businesses, and also help ensure access to supportive services that overcome barriers to employment. Many low-income workers in this country face barriers to work, such as homelessness, access to affordable childcare and transportation, and limited educational attainment that are outside the service scope of most mainstream temporary staffing agencies.
The center’s new paper offers insights into how community-based organizations are connecting temporary workers to training opportunities drawing upon several successful examples. First, the paper highlights the role of alternative staffing in the context of the entry-level job market. It discusses the value of staffing services—particularly ASO provided services—from the perspective of job seekers, customer businesses, and the workforce development field. Second, the paper provides several examples of training programs and partnerships that combine skills development with staffing and job access.
- Collaborations of ASOs with community colleges, workforce investment boards, and job developers
- Collaborations of ASOs with customer businesses seeking apprentices and community colleges
- ASOs combining job access with in-house training programs
Educators, workforce development professionals, and policy makers and administrators will find this paper useful in learning more about how the alternative staffing model operates for entry-level workers and how the model relates to the skill training field. Practitioners, already engaged in alternative staffing, will find it helpful to consider potential avenues for new connections to education and training programs that can help their temporary employees advance in the job market.
The paper is the second in a series on findings from the center regarding the Alternative Staffing Demonstration. An earlier paper is The Alternative Staffing Work Experience: Populations, Barriers, and Employment Outcomes. Finding the Right Fit: How Alternative Staffing Affects Worker Outcomes is the center’s final report on the demonstration.
The four ASOs participating in the study were Emerge Staffing in Minneapolis, Minnesota; First Source Staffing of Brooklyn, New York; Goodwill Staffing Services of Austin, Texas; and Goodwill Temporary Staffing of St. Petersburg, Florida.