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Innovation at JVS: Job Quality

“A tight labor market is a terrible thing to waste.”  – Paul Grogan, President and CEO, The Boston Foundation

JVS is taking advantage of the tightest job market in a generation, to help our clients play “catch up” and our employer partners to become more competitive by focusing on job quality. Improving job quality is a strategic goal of our agency, seeking to at least double the number of clients placed in a quality job by 2022. This work is informed by learnings from the Aspen Institute’s Job Quality Fellowship.

Job Quality Benchmarking Tool

JVS created a survey tool in order for employers to evaluate and benchmark the quality of their jobs. The tool was created based on input from JVS clients and staff members, and identified the following job quality components for entry level jobs: Salary and Wages; Access to Benefits; Scheduling; Access to Career Ladder; and Leadership and Work Environment.

This tool allows JVS staff to filter companies by component to find the “right fit” jobs for their clients. In addition, the tool increases consultative efficacy by delivering data driven, customized feedback to employer partners; therefore helping employer partners compete for top talent in this competitive job market.

Employers can use results of the survey tool to:

    1. Benchmark themselves against local competitors offering the same job title
    2. Receive a customized report and tailored advice on how to match or beat competitors on the 5 job quality components

Interested in learning how competitive your jobs are? Please complete the survey and request a report.

Job Quality: Incumbent Workers

Through funding from the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, JVS conducted job quality projects throughout 2018 and 2019 with area employers. These projects offered creative solutions to talent acquisition, staff development and job satisfaction.

Talent Pipeline – JVS partnered with the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network to pilot a new concept for recruiting and training Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) known as the Talent Pipeline model. JVS cohorts were offered full-time hours with a stable, reliable schedule and full benefits. “Traditional” hires were offered a traditional role, which is often part-time or per diem with rotating shifts. JVS’s talent pipeline candidates retained their jobs 50% longer than traditional candidates, with 81% of talent pipeline candidates reporting that Spaulding offers them a quality job. Over the past year, JVS has expanded the Talent Pipeline into serving Pharmacy Technicians and Animal Care Technicians and plans to expand the model to additional occupations in 2020.    

Staff Development – JVS and boloco surveyed current employees and its extensive alumni network to learn if participating in company-sponsored professional development impacted their earning potential, educational growth, and career pathway. Survey findings indicate that 65% of employees who participated in company-sponsored ESOL classes received promotions, with 70% of their overall staff receiving raises. JVS continues to work with boloco to better understand how professional development trainings can be explicitly linked to career ladder opportunities, as if additional training partnerships could increase impact.

Job Satisfaction – JVS worked with The Boston Home (TBH) to design a Universal Worker role in order to provide physical relief for maturing workers and create customizable work tasks for employees based on their skill and preference, in order to enhance workplace satisfaction. Key outcomes include an estimated 5 minute reduction in resident wait time wait for Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) assistance, as well as CNAs reporting a 39% reduction in physical strain, and improved job satisfaction for both the Universal Worker and the CNAs.

Job Quality: Immigrant Job Seekers

JVS has leveraged this tight labor market to create opportunities to tap overlooked talent for key vacancies and career growth. Our services for English Language Learners pair vocational English-language instruction, with career and educational supports in order to increase take home earnings and move up in the labor market.

English for Advancement – JVS launched the English for Advancement (EFA) program in 2016 to create a new model of adult education/ESOL that integrates English language acquisition and employment services. A key part of JVS’s Pay For Success project, EFA provides clients with contextualized ESOL and intensive job coaching and placement services. Early data suggests that this innovative model is generating impressive earnings gains for clients.

Together We Rise – In 2018, JVS and Combined Jewish Philanthropies launched Together We Rise (RISE), designed to help refugees living in the Boston area and “stuck” in low-wage jobs, move up into better quality jobs. RISE targets already re-settled refugees who have advanced their English skills but have not been able to move into better jobs. RISE connects clients directly to a better job, enrolls them in training, or helps prepare them for post-secondary education that will lead to a quality job and career.

To learn more about JVS’s job quality strategy, please contact Mandy Townsend at mtownsend@jvs-boston.org.