Building Better Programs

Mathematica: Employer Resource Networks

This issue brief describes the Employer Resource Network (ERN), an innovative, employer-based model that pulls together a consortium of small- to mid-size businesses to provide job retention services, work supports, and training opportunities for entry level employees, many of whom are receiving public assistance. The primary focus is job retention, with a strong secondary focus on skill building. ERNs also include strong partnerships with other service delivery systems and organizations such as social service agencies, workforce development agencies, chambers of commerce, and community and technical colleges. This particular employer-based service model has been implemented at six sites within four counties in Michigan, involving 45 employers. Services include short-term, “high touch” case management, job and life skills training, and specialized resources and supports.

The following description is intended to provide an overview of key features of the ERN model so that other employers and government agencies—most notably workforce development agencies—may consider whether and how ERNs or a similar approach might be used to develop new services or enhance existing ones in their own local communities.

Employer Resource Networks: Uniting Businesses and Public Partners to Improve Job Retention and Advancement for Low-Wage Workers