WAGE™ is a job readiness training program conducted through the Adult Education Division of the Arkansas Department of Career Education.
WAGE™ includes 112 basic skills competencies based on the Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) which have been determined as essential by the nation’s and Arkansas’ employers.
WAGE™ offers six state-issued certificates: Employability, Industrial, Customer Service Level I, Customer Service Level II, Bank Teller and Office Technology.
WAGE™ accepts students who assess at less than a 12.9 grade-level (12th grade, 9th month) equivalency on the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE)™ and who have a goal of obtaining a job, retaining a job, improving their skill level to gain improved employment, or entering next-level workplace training.
WAGE™ is based on the same alliance principles as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and requires more than 50 percent employer participation on the local WAGE™ alliance advisory committee for an Adult Education Center to become WAGE™-certified.
The alliance also includes participation agreements with the Arkansas Department of Human Services, the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, WIAO, chambers of commerce, human resources associations, local leaders, staffing and training agencies, economic development agencies and boards, as well as other educational providers.
Participating employers allow adult educators to perform literacy tasks analysis on positions that rely on foundation skills for maximized employee performance. Adult educators use the literacy task analyses to customize competencies within the context of local employers.
WAGE™ uses consistent assessment and aptitude instruments statewide. WAGE™ industrial and clerical certificates are recognized by employers statewide as having the same standards of 12.9 grade level equivalency on the Level A TABE™ (math, reading, and language), 100 percent on the WAGE™ test, and consistent achievement levels on the specific industrial and clerical components’ assessments and aptitudes.
Participating employers agree to give added consideration to WAGE™ students; given all other candidate qualifications are equal.
Some employers provide various incentives to encourage employees to complete WAGE™ including: a sign on bonus, increase in hourly rates, release time for classes, or as a pre-requisite to be enrolled in next-level workplace training.