Work Readiness Activities : Center for Employment Training
Program/Practice Name: Center for Employment Training (CET)
Type of Program/Practice: One of the country's most effective employment training programs, CET is focused on helping those in need of job skills or retraining. CET's mission is to promote human development and education by providing people with marketable skills training and supportive services that contribute to self-sufficiency.
Program/Practice Description: A nonprofit community-based organization, CET was established in 1967 and is headquartered in San Jose, California. A nationally accredited vocational education institution, CET operates 12 vocational educational centers in three States and has been replicated in the U.S. in addition to Belize and Chile.
CET focuses on serving low-income persons of all backgrounds with multiple barriers to employment. Students are males and females from 17 years old to individuals in their 60s.
Background/Program History: CET was started as a faith-based initiative focused on improving the lives of poor and disadvantaged individuals, primarily migrant and seasonal farm workers, through skill training, human development, and job placement assistance. In less than 4 years of operation, CET was rated as the most effective training program in the nation among projects funded by the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce. In 1990, the Rockefeller Foundation released results of a 5-year national study of programs serving female minority heads of households and CET stood out in every category of measurement. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush recognized CET as a model program for replication across the country. In 1992, CET received a $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to replicate CET nationwide. CET provided technical assistance to local communities, rural and urban, who were interested in replicating the CET model. In particular, CET centers were established on the East Coast and served primarily African-American TANF participants. In 1995, CET earned accreditation and maintains accreditation standards today. In 2004, CET received the top Workforce Innovations 2004 Award from the U.S. Department of Labor for "Recognizing the Demographics of the Workforce." CET celebrated 50 years of skill training and human development in 2017.
Innovations and Results: CET centers operate year-round and feature an open entry, competency based learning format. There are no fixed semesters or quarters. There is no applicant testing as a prerequisite to enter training. CET does not require a minimum education and accepts individuals without a high school diploma or GED.
CET students train 5 days a week, 6 to 7 hours daily, year-round, in a highly individualized, noncompetitive environment, attending skills and job training until they achieve competency levels of a minimum 70 percent in a given skill. Classes are conducted in a simulated work environment, promoting good work habits and collaboration. Human development is an essential program requisite for participants and incorporated into every aspect of the training program. Human development is integrated to include workplace know-how, work preparedness, good attendance and punctuality, and job search skills. CET provides job placement assistance for all graduates. Extensive follow-up is performed with all students after placement to ensure stable employment and job growth.
CET offers a variety of courses/skill training options. CET students are trained by instructors who have industry sector experience and provide instruction and workplace simulated supervision to best prepare students for long-term job placement. Instructors work in core unit teams with other staff to provide a holistic learning environment for each student. Core unit teams meet weekly to assess student progress. Instructors typically meet with students bimonthly to assist them in achieving competencies and deal with any important issues or crises.
Services: CET offers a variety of services, which vary from center to center. They typically include:
- Vocational guidance
- Vocational English as a Second Language
- Job preparation instruction
- GED preparedness instruction
- Federal Financial Aid for those who qualify (Pell grants, student loans, work study)
- Transportation services
- Emergency assistance (food, housing, medical, clothing, child care)
- Information and referral services
Funding: CET receives funding support from two primary sources: local/State/Federal government and the private sector.
Partnerships: A large part of CET's success over the years has been its close ties to industry standards and employer demands. Instructors are hired directly from industry and have experience in a particular field. CET offers training in high-demand occupations and maintains close relationships with local employers through Technical Advisory Committees. These committees provide CET with direct contributions of time, resources, and equipment. Technical Advisory Committees assist CET in accomplishing its goals of training, placing qualified personnel in jobs, and validating training curricula.
Tips to Implementation:
CET's holistic and unique job training design, the Contextual Learning Model, has been critical to its success. During its 50 years of operation, CET has learned to not rely exclusively on federal funding but to leverage other resources, including Pell grants, student loans and partnerships with local governments and organizations.
Keys to Success:
CET's unique holistic approach to educational job training offers students a variety of supplemental services.
CET's unique mode of job training design, the Contextual Learning Model, integrates skill training, basic skills instruction including Vocational English as a Second Language, human development, job preparation, and job placement conducted in a simulated work setting.
CET's partnership with industries and employers.
CET is accredited, which permits students to apply for Federal financial assistance programs (Pell and Supplemental Educational Opportunity grants, student loans, work-study) to help students with tuition and living costs.
Highly knowledgeable instructors who demonstrate flexibility and expertise in offering students individualized instruction in an open entry, open exit system.