Developing Employer Contacts for Employment Programs

Increasing initiatives to integrate special populations into employment have changed the attitude of program implementers to employers. More and more now regard employers not only as job suppliers but as clients and active partners with an important contribution to make to the training and preparation for work of the non-employed. It is thus important to learn about their needs and try to meet them.

At TEVET’s initiative, the Myers-JDC-Brookdale conducted a study addressing two main questions:

  1. In what way are employers involved in employment programs abroad?
  2. How has the field developed with regard to Israeli employers, and in what ways are they involved in employment programs for special populations?

The report presents successful international examples of involving employers in implementing employment programs and examples of Israel’s experience in the field. It analyzes the new approaches to increasing employer involvement developed in TEVET programs in recent years. As part of the new model of employer-contact development devised in 2010, the novel position of ECD officer was established. The officer is responsible for forming and fostering connections between the programs and employers. The report examines the way that officers work with employers and with other program staff. It is based mainly on in-depth interviews with ECD officers in various TEVET programs and with the ECD national director at TEVET.

The study found that:

  • ECD officers adopt two marketing approaches, according to the character and needs of employers:  an economic-business approach, which emphasizes the profitability of an employer’s cooperation with an employment program; and the responsible-social corporate approach, which speaks to corporate image and a desire to contribute to the community.
  • Unlike the patterns abroad, the involvement of Israeli employers in employment programs hardly ever proceeds in an organizational context but on the individual level. However, like the situation in the US, we have been seeing increasing instances of Israeli employers organizing tours of work sites for program participants, lecturing before them, helping them improve interview skills through simulation, and displaying receptiveness to culturally-adapted screening.
  • Since the establishment of the employer-contact program at TEVET, new ways of working have been developed with both employers and program staff, and comprehensive, systematic knowledge has accumulated on translating these into practice. This knowledge contributes to the professional construction of the role of ECD officer and thus to an orderly process of training and professionalization.

The findings were presented to the steering committee of the study. The report can serve as a basis to develop employer contacts, and contributes to the continued development of the field at TEVET.

The study was initiated and funded by TEVET.

Citing suggestion: Slater, Y., & King, J. (2014). Developing Employer Contacts for Employment Programs. RR-662-14. Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute. (Hebrew)