June 20, 2023 - Written By Markle | Blog Archive
At Markle, we understand career coaching plays a crucial role in helping people find jobs that move them out of low-wage roles and into jobs that provide opportunities for career advancement. Access to career coaching services can empower individuals by providing the support and information they need to understand their options and increase their chances of getting the job they want.
That’s why earlier this spring, we convened workforce leaders from the Rework America State Network who had utilized Markle’s resources with state career coaches or were keen on doing so. This included representation from Alabama, Colorado, DC, Indiana, Missouri, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin, to participate in a state coaching cohort. The aim of the cohort was to bring states together in a collaborative effort focused on building stronger, human-centered career coaching ecosystems that connect job seekers to good jobs. We hosted three virtual meetings, where participants shared best practices, identified common challenges, and discussed approaches to using data and measuring outcomes. The group came together in Denver, Colorado last week for a culminating working session to identify solutions and map out considerations for their state coaching plans.
Throughout the convening, a series of engaging conversations were held, delving into several key topics that are integral to the advancement of career coaching:
One takeaway from the event was the importance of human-centered coaching. This approach emphasizes building deeper relationships and promoting greater understanding between career coaches and their clients. By prioritizing strategies that place the human element at the forefront, career coaches can achieve more successful outcomes and foster long-term success for job seekers. However, it was acknowledged that this approach is more time intensive and can create challenges for staff in serving the prescribed number of clients while also meeting onerous reporting requirements. To address this concern, one state has proactively incorporated storytelling alongside data collection to ensure that the unique experiences and accomplishments of everyone who comes to a coach for help are considered.
Even in places where human-centered coaching is prioritized, it is crucial that people from all backgrounds have access to these valuable coaching services. Efforts are being made in various states to raise awareness of career coaching as a resource for anyone looking for employment, regardless of educational background. These efforts include bus ads, newsletters, radio ads, and community events to reach a broader audience.
Another important topic discussed during the convening was the need for ongoing training and professional development opportunities for career coaches. As the labor market rapidly evolves and technology, including artificial intelligence, becomes more prevalent, career coaches must stay informed about emerging trends, industry shifts, and new technologies that impact job seekers. While the value of training career coaches was understood, it was acknowledged that barriers to training still exist. These barriers include understaffed workforce centers and overwhelming caseloads that make it challenging for professional development for career coaches to be prioritized.
Attendees shared ideas and examples on how to overcome these issues. One attendee shared that their workforce centers have initiated career coaching training programs that draw content from the Rework America Alliance coaching training. Although initially attended by only 10 people, the last two trainings saw a significant increase, with 75 participants joining. Another participant shared that their workforce center has introduced “Wise Up Wednesdays,” aiming to provide career coaches with more frequent access to training opportunities. Addressing Challenges and Embracing Opportunities
The convening provided a platform for open discussions on the challenges and opportunities faced by career coaches.
Dan Denniston from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development expressed his enthusiasm, stating,
“This convening will greatly enhance my work because I’m learning a lot about the initiatives other states are undertaking. I will bring back numerous valuable ideas and suggestions to present to my state and say, ‘Were you aware of this?’ These learnings will significantly benefit me as a career coach and aid in developing tools that the state can utilize to support our job seekers.”
Dan Denniston – Indiana Department of Workforce Development
Conversations revolved around identifying common obstacles, such as limited resources at the state level and systemic barriers that hinder individuals’ career progression. Participants also engaged in brainstorming sessions to explore challenges and potential solutions in the following areas:
While these challenges are complex and won’t be solved overnight, the convening provided a sense of camaraderie as participants learned how others were addressing shared challenges. Learning about the solutions implemented elsewhere encouraged the group to bring these strategies back to their states to consider incorporating into their state coaching plans.
To further this momentum, Markle staff will disseminate the learnings from this cohort to other states and incorporate the lessons into how we continue to elevate and support the career navigation ecosystem while helping states prepare coaches to support job seekers for the future of work.
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