take part in more job-specific training and gain better
results once they improve their foundation of basic
Participating in Job-Specific Training
in Job-Specific Training
in Job-Specific Training
Percentage of Employers Reporting Benefits
Participating In Job-Specific Training
Nearly 75 per cent of
employers found that more of their employees
participated in job-specific training after completing
WEPs. Employees were significantly more willing and
interested in acquiring new knowledge and in improving
themselves. Employers’ estimates of the extent of the
improvement were typically in the 25-50 per cent range.
These returns are
highly attractive to employers. In fact, some of them
got involved in WEP programs in the first place to
achieve greater success with their higher level
job-specific training and cross-training. They knew that
impressive gains in job-specific training results can
come when employees develop their workplace basic
The impact can be
considerable: one employer calculates that there has
been an eight-fold increase in employees taking part in
job-specific training. Before, when he offered training
only one or two participants, usually supervisors, would
sign-up. Now many more employees from the shop floor are
taking training. This improved willingness to train was
especially important with respect to successfully
completing ISO certification courses.
don’t know that we could have become ISO certified
if we hadn’t opened the training door."Over our
60+ year history, no more than 1 or 2 individuals
would take classes, now there are 6 to 8 per
Small Central-U.S. Metal Fabrication Company
With WEPs, training
moves down the hierarchy; employees take greater
ownership. They are more eager to learn and seek more
information about job-specific training opportunities.
Partly, this is because they become aware that the more
job-specific training they get the higher their chances
are to be promoted. The result in some companies is that
there are waiting lists for training classes.
education has provided a different class of employees
now. They seek education now rather than have it
forced on them. We went from 15 per cent to 60 per
cent of our workforce seeking education."
Large Mid-Western Hi-Tech Company
WEP graduates are
often more interested in cross-training than they had
been before. In one workplace, employees who took the
basic math course became willing to cross-train as
cashiers. In another workplace, two women working in the
kitchen took the food service management course by
correspondence on their own initiative. In another, a
hospital where management strongly encourages
cross-training to other jobs, the WEP courses prompted
employees to see cross-training as a career opportunity.
Participation in WEPs
may also increase employees’ interest in taking other
training, such as team building and problem solving, to
address specific workplace issues that they face.
ESL is often crucial
to increasing participation in job-specific training.
ESL training raises employees’ comfort level and makes
them more willing to take the risk, because they feel
empowered. Afterward, staff with previously limited
English skills are more active in meetings and planning
sessions. Companies profit from that.
wasn’t that they didn’t want to learn, but they
didn’t want to be embarrassed."
Director of Human Resources,
Large Northwestern Hotel
Sometimes, WEPs offer
employees tailored literacy development that is linked
to job-specific training. For example, one electronics
company is able to prepare employees for blueprint
reading classes through initial WEP basic training and
so avoids having to exclude employees from training
because they do not understand course content. The same
company’s strategy of integrating ESL and basic skills
into other regular job-specific training has paid major
dividends. It met its goal of 75 per cent of ESL
graduates enrolling in at least one six-week module of
are less reluctant to speak out so they are more likely
to take job-specific training. They are noticeably more
excited about learning; they want to be introduced to
new things because they are more confident they will
understand. This is important for companies that
actively use cross-training as a strategy for meeting
their skills needs in the workplace.
we would have training on a new process or
cross-training into another area, people wouldn’t
want to take it. They would be afraid they couldn’t
do it. We noticed a big difference after WEPs. They
had more confidence. They wanted to go out and get
training. As a result, the company now gets more
applicants to training for quality assurance,
engineering support, inspector positions, etc."
Assembly Department Manager,
Large Northwestern Electronics Manufacturing Company
Improved Results in
More than half of the
employers identified improved job-specific training
results among employees who completed WEPs, ranging from
25 - 50 plus per cent. After training, WEP graduates get
much more out of job-specific training because they are
more literate and their understanding is greatly
enhanced. They can retain information presented in
subsequent job-specific training much better than
previously. Their capacity was so improved in one
company that employers were able to move people from
fourth grade to eighth grade educational level.
Afterwards, 25 per cent of the employees felt much more
comfortable inputting data.
WEP training leads to
a wide range of job-specific training gains.
Job-specific training is more successful when employees
are able to ask more questions and make more comments
during training because they have a more complete
understanding of the training.
language skills are often crucial in WEP learning gains
because they increase students’ ability to understand
subsequent job-specific training conducted in English.
With improved language skills in their WEP and an
ESL-conscious curriculum, employees get more out of
job-specific training. Graduates of WEPs are more likely
to gain an overall picture of what they are learning and
put it in the broader context of organizational goals -
why they are learning. Their improved literacy and
communications skills tend to make them noticeably more
vocal in workshops and training sessions and more
willing to work together in teams. Their self-confidence
makes them less embarrassed and self-conscious and more
likely to speak up in training sessions. Coupled with
clear improvements in their ability to read, write and
communicate, employees who complete WEPs gain much more
from job-specific training than other employees with
unresolved basic skills problems.
The impact on
corporate performance can be very significant. One
company felt that it was not getting value for money
being spent on ISO training because its employees did
not properly understand the documents and technical
specifications they were using in the certification
process. The tables were turned once employees took a
WEP; afterwards many more passed their ISO 9000 and
other certification tests. In another, spectacular
instance of the impact of WEPs on job-specific training
outcomes, another employer found that the passing rate
in a technical course went from 1 out of 25 to 28 out of
29. At a third company, where before the WEP only one
person had completed the computerized blueprint reading
course, afterwards 27 more completed it.
basic skills set the stage for more successful
participation in subsequent job-specific
Co-ordinator, Skills Enhancement Program,
Large Eastern Hospital
The skills upgrading
and the resulting higher self-esteem enabled many
employees to participate in further training, including
emergency medical technician training, basic computer
operations courses, health information technology
college programs, and even GED and high school diploma
in Job-Specific Training
Over half of
employers reported that their employees obtained quicker
results in job-specific training after completing a WEP.
In some instances the impact is striking: one employer
reported a 70% improvement in the rapidity and the
accuracy of employee learning. At another company, two
new production lines have been created since WEP
training; the employees who took the new positions were
those who had been training through WEP and showed
faster job-specific learning abilities. Those completing
more than one course were 15 per cent quicker in
applying new knowledge about coding and medical
One reason for
quicker results is that WEP graduates are more willing
and open to taking on other skills and so put more
concentration and energy into subsequent job-specific
training. This is important to employers who cannot
afford unnecessary down time.
The benefits for
employers extend beyond formal job-specific training.
WEP graduates understand instructions more quickly;
usually the first time. Before, many of them would try
to learn by imitating others because they did not
understand the training. Afterwards, they spend less
time translating documents and information and more time
absorbing it. As a result, supervisors need less time to
explain job tasks and departmental information.
One employer noted
almost 50 per cent improvement in the rapidity of
learning abilities of the employees on the line. Another
employer observed that her employees understand things
the first time, rather than having to go over the same
information many times. So great has the progress been
that now some training offered almost seems too basic.
amount of time we need to spend on training has
decreased, because the employees are catching on
Large Food Preparation Company
learning curve is much shorter."
Large Scientific Instruments Manufacturing Company
results in job-specific training mean speedier changes
in workplace performance, which in turn leads to
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Last updated: February 18, 2001 .