Local Employer Resource Network
How LERN
Can Address the
Hidden Job Market

It has been estimated that between 50-80% of jobs that are filled on an annual basis are “hidden jobs.” A hidden job is one that is not advertised through traditional methods, if at all. Most hidden jobs are filled through using existing employee networks, word of mouth, and even creation of new positions for people a company may see as having value. This makes the job search extremely difficult.

The Local Employer Resource Network methodology is able to combat the hidden job market phenomenon by entering into existing employer networks. This is done in two ways: through the LERN network of employers and other stakeholders and by case managers playing an integral role within a company’s human resources department.

Why Local
Companies Will
Support LERN
  1. Turnover Costs
    It has been estimated that it costs $3,500.00 to replace one $8.00 per hour employee when all costs- recruiting, interviewing, hiring, training, reduced productivity, et cetera were accounted for. Some sources estimate the cost to be substantially higher at 30-50% of the annual salary of entry-level employees.

    As companies begin to see high turnover in their workforce they are focusing their efforts not just recruitment but retaining valued performers. The LERN provides a cost effective solution to ensuring workers are able to solve work-related and personal issues and are able to stay on the job site and be productive. Turnover for companies with both a large and a small number of employees this really negatively affects their bottom line.
  2. Social Hiring and the Implications on Community Relationship Building
    “Social hiring” is a commitment on the part of an employer to proactively recruit employees with employment needs.

    When a company makes a commitment to the community part of its core business strategy, it not only helps attract and retain top employees, but it also positions itself positively among customers, and increasingly improves its position in the market. For companies with both a large and a small number of employees, turnover negatively affects their bottom line.
Want to
learn more?

Contact Jonathan Lucus at lucus@thearc.org or (202) 534-3706.

About the
Local Employer Resource Network
(LERN) Model

The Local Employer Resource Network (LERN) is a program that has been designed to support local businesses address low retention rates and deficits in employee skill levels. The LERN model intent is to:

  • provide sustainable employment throughout all segments of the workforce by efficiently utilizing community supports, and
  • assist under and unemployed individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in respective communities with maintaining employment and moving into economic self-sufficiency.

The LERN model takes advantage of a consortium of businesses created to share resources and expense of building the skills and capacities of their entry-level workers. This model focuses on the duality of the needs of workers to enhance skill-sets and employers’ needs to find and retain good employees.

Read more about LERN

Generally, the consortium should comprise of six to eight companies in targeted sectors along with local agency job development specialists. The focus of the group is on lower skilled entry-level positions that are most at risk of high turnover. Working with a Chapter of The Arc who supplies the case management/job coaching expertise, the LERN can bolster each individual company’s retention rates by supporting on-site, comprehensive case management for all its employees, both newly hired individuals with I/DD and those already in their workforce who need support with case management issues such as daycare, transportation, and other matters outside of the workplace that effect their work performance.

By using an employer consortium based model, local chapters of The Arc receive an investment from businesses when it comes to developing a talent pool consisting of individuals with I/DD. Barriers driven by government policy do not come into play because the bulk of the financial support comes from the community where folks are integrated into traditional work settings. Workplace barriers are overcome through the consortium coming together monthly to learn from each other. Case managers are placed within a company to support all employees, which reinforces inclusion. Contained in this model is the coherence to job creation that supports equal pay and upward mobility.

Using the LERN model reinforces the notion that individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are valuable assets to the community and the local workforce. It removes preconceived and institutional barriers and leads to integration, self-determination, and most importantly self-sufficiency.

Components of the Program

Employers and Job Development Specialists work together at each individual company to:

  • Identify high-turnover/open positions within each company
  • Design a training and on-boarding process for potential new hires
  • Develop on-site case management procedures

Employers and Job Development Specialists work together in the consortium to:

  • Identify specific industry hiring needs
  • Market the program to other companies
  • Network within the local business community
  • Identify alternative funding sources for program

The LERN should meet on a monthly basis to assess the program. Both internal company successes and barriers are discussed. All member companies benefit from a peer-learning environment where a large concentration of expertise is present.

The Arc@Work's Role

The Arc@Work can support local chapters to:

  • assess their local business community’s hiring needs
  • provide sector turnover, job creation, and industry analysis tailored to the chapter’s specific geographic location
  • develop potential funder lists
  • support the implementation of the LERN program
  • develop corporate relationships
  • provide on-going consulting and technical assistance
 
Funding a LERN

Revenue to support this program in terms of personnel and related expenses should be diversified. Therefore, no one entity carries the entire financial burden. Below is an example pie chart that breaks down possible funding streams.

LERN Funding Model

The capacity of the ERN is expanded through both public and private partnerships. These partnerships can include other nonprofit organizations, community colleges and educational institutions, private donations, VR, Medicaid Waiver, TANF and other social service dollars, fundraisers, and service contracts with other companies. By diversifying the funding it ensures by-in from all key stakeholders and creates long-term sustainability.

Local Chapters of The Arc can help employers take advantage of payroll tax incentive programs such as the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act to recoup costs contributed to the program.

What local businesses get out of the LERN:

  • Focused in-house case management for all employees
  • Access to a qualified, skilled workforce
  • Increased retention rates
  • Positive community relationship building

What individuals with I/DD get out of the LERN:

  • Networking opportunities
  • Community inclusion
  • Integrated job opportunities
  • Competitive wages
  • Upward mobility
  • Integrated case management support
  • Employment safety-net (if laid-off, chances an other company will hire you is greater)

What local Arc chapters get out of the LERN:

  • A community-based employment program
  • Development of revenue generating consulting services
  • Support and expertise from The Arc@Work
  • Future/continual funding streams
  • Community exposure
  • Social Enterprise Development
  • Connections to national employers through The Arc@Work