Type of Practice: Program Development / Curriculum / Classroom
Program Area(s): CTE / Workforce Prep / Pre-apprenticeship
Region: Inland Empire
Consortia Involved: About Students Regional Consortium, Riverside
Riverside Adult School and the Riverside Unified School District partnered to implement a substitute preparation program to address student challenges with obtaining employment and the shortage of substitutes in the district.
We found that our students and community members who were looking for work, specifically in the school system, were struggling with finding employment when they did not possess a high school diploma. Also we were seeing that individuals were struggling with the application process in order to apply for jobs within our school system. Often individuals did not have the digital literacy skills or soft skills to get through this process without some assistance. Lastly, when looking for substitute employment it is the responsibility of the application to pay for items such as the background check/finger printing, food handlers license, and drug screen/physical exam. This was a barrier for many people. These issues, paired with our district having a daily need for substitute employees in custodial services and nutrition services was what brought us to develop this program. Both of those classifications did not require a high school diploma in order to be hired and offered flexible schedules for people who were attending adult school or needed flexibility due to their children or other commitments. Since there was a daily need for substitutes, once a person was hired they could essentially work every day if they would like.
Riverside Adult School, in partnership with the Personnel and Leadership Development Office in Riverside Unified School District, developed a 4 week/40 hour course in which adults who desired to become substitute custodians/nutrition service employees could enroll and if they are successful in all of the components of the course they would be hired as an employee. Students in this course are assisted with preparing a resume, collecting letters of recommendation, interview skills, soft skills needed to be a quality employee at a school site or department, the specifics of the jobs they are looking to be hired in including presentations from the managers in each of the departments they would be working in, tours of the food service facility, custodial/chemical certification, and assistance submitting the job application through Edjoin. While students are enrolled in this course they complete the job application, district written testing, drug screening, physical fitness examination, obtain a food handlers license and are cleared by the Department of Justice through LiveScan fingerprinting. A student who successfully completes those items is hired and begins work sometimes before the course is even over!
Through a partnership with the Personnel and Leadership Development Office in Riverside Unified School District we have a dedicated Human Resources Technician that works with the teacher of this class (and the students) to monitor the application process on the back end. Many people apply for jobs via Edjoin and if a person does not include all of the proper documents their application will be screened out. Students in our program have the benefit of the dedicated human resources technician who communicates with the teacher about missing or incorrect items so that the student is not screened out. The classroom teacher works side by side with the student to ensure that all parts of the application are complete and is in constant communication with the Human Resources Techncian.
The Nutrition Services and Custodial Department are also strong partners who look forward to accepting our students into their departments when they complete the course. During the course managers from these departments come and speak to the class, give tours of the facilities and hand on demonstrations of the work that the employee will be performing.
Through the use of CAEP dollars Riverside Adult School fully funds the process for a student to become hired. There is no cost to the student. LiveScan, physical exam, drug screening and food handlers card are all costs that are covered by CAEP so that there is no monetary barrier to the student obtaining employment.
If a student is not successful in any of the pre employment process (drug screen, or physical exam for example) they are not hired but are able to use the tools and soft skills learned in the program to assist them in obtaining employment elsewhere.
The outcome of this program is that adults are hired by our school district in substitute custodial/nutrition services positions. We started this program in February 2018 and since that time 320 people have completed the program and become hired in our school district. The beautiful part is that when permanent positions open up the hiring managers have been quick to hire our former students because of the reputation that the program has throughout the district now. So many students each year are hired as substitutes but are then quickly hired as permanent employees.
We were recently featured in a publication that tells a personal story about one of our students: https://issuu.com/news_review/docs/about_040821_rbg_hires?fbclid=IwAR1lmi9NC-AfOw5pOZ2vuufLMo6V_vIBnptXdHqIwKKwS-CVYQ10ofrle3Y (Page 6)