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Workforce Development Glossary

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Adult Basic Education (ABE) - Services or instruction below the post-secondary level for individuals who lack sufficient mastery of basic educational skills to be able to function effectively in society and who do not have a high school diploma or its equivalent.

Affirmative Action - A plan or program designed to remedy the effects of past discrimination in employment, education or other activity, and to prevent its recurrence.


Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS) - CASAS is a nonprofit organization that provides competency-based curriculum management, assessment and evaluation systems to education and training programs.

Creaming - A term that refers to practice of selecting people who are most likely to succeed in a program to participate.


Department of Labor (DOL) - Federal department charged with preparing the workforce and ensuring the adequacy of the nation's workplaces.


Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) - The EITC is a subsidy to low-wage workers. This policy essentially makes a minimum wage job paying $4.25 worth $6.00 an hour for a family with two or more children. Together with food stamps, the expanded EITC can lift families with full-time workers out of poverty.

Economic Dislocated Workers Adjustment Assistance Act (EDWAA) - Program serving workers who have been laid off and are unlikely to find similar jobs without assistance.

English as a Second Language (ESL) / English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) - These terms are often used interchangeably to describe programs of instruction designed to help individuals of limited English proficiency.

Equipped for the Future - EFF is the National Institute for Literacy's framework for adult education that identifies what adults need to know and be able to do to be literate, compete in a global economy, and be a responsible citizen and parent.

Even Start - A national family literacy program funded by the federal government.


General Educational Development (GED) - A series of tests that offer people who did not finish high school the opportunity to earn high school credentials.

Glass Ceiling - Refers to invisible, artificial barriers that prevent qualified individuals from advancing within their organization and reaching full potential.


Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) - Federal legislation establishing programs providing job training services for dislocated workers and the economically disadvantaged.


Life-Skills Training - Professional association for individuals working in employment and training programs.


National Association of Private Industry Councils (NAPIC) - National association representing the interests of the nation's Private Industry Councils.

National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP) - Professional association for individuals working in employment and training programs.


Occupational Skills Training (OST) - Training that provides vocational skills in a classroom setting.

On the Job Training (OJT) - Subsidized, short-term, hands on training.


Private Industry Councils (PICs) - Local public-private partnerships that plan and oversee job training and employment programs for economically disadvantaged adults and youth as well as dislocated workers.


Quota - Refers to the application of preferences in efforts to meet a specific numerical outcome or goal.


School to Work (STW) - Federal program to prepare young people for further educational careers in high-skill, high-wage jobs.

Secretary's Commission on the Achievement of Necessary Skills (SCANS) - A Department of Labor-led effort to define the knowledge and skills required by high performance work environments and to consider how these attributes might be best assessed.

Service Providers or Intermediaries - Organizations that train individuals in hard and soft skills to ready them for success in the workplace. Many service providers also offer counseling and technical assistance to employers.

Soft Skills - Workplace standards of behavior needed to interact and cooperate effectively with co-workers and the general public.

Structured Job Search - Intensive job search activities provided through certain career counseling centers. Activities may include group sessions and phone banking to seek jobs.


Wage Subsidies and Tax Credits - Incentive programs targeted to business owners who hire former recipients.

Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) - Federal legislation that requires employers to provide notice of 60 days in advance of certain plant closures and mass layoffs.

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