Try-Out Employment:  An Innovative Opportunity for Business and Job Candidates

Southeast KANSASWORKS has received significant feedback from their employer partners concerning the difficulty in maintaining long-term, stable employees, and the decline in qualified candidates applying to open positions in our 17 county region.

Recognizing that fact, Southeast KANSASWORKS has debuted a transitional jobs program – targeting the population of job seekers who are not quite ready for full-time work, or who face significant barriers to maintaining employment. Promoting it as Try-Out Employment, the goal behind the pilot is two-fold: Provide paid, part-time work experiences to job seekers as a ‘bridge’ for their re-entry into the workforce, while giving our employer partners an opportunity to ‘try-out’ an employee – from a workforce pool that they would have not previously considered for their employment.

Try-Out Employment is structured around a 29-hour work week, with little restriction on the type of employer or business that can act as the worksite. Eligible job seekers are those that are chronically or long-term unemployed, or who face significant barriers in obtaining employment. Try-Out Employment customers also participate in soft skills workshops during their work experience to help build upon their new work skills, fostering their potential for maintaining long-term, stable employment in the future. Employer worksites benefit with access to additional labor, the chance to evaluate a potential new hire in real-time, and the ability to transition the worker into their company, full-time, with the assistance of on-the-job training dollars. Employers are under no obligation to hire jobseekers placed in Try-Out Employment but feedback has been positive so far in the pilot program:

Through April, Southeast KANSASWORKS has placed 20 job seekers into Try-Out Employment, including several who have now moved on into full-time employment with their worksite. The program will continue through the end of June 2018, where a renewal for a full year will be considered. In this current era of statewide low unemployment, Southeast KANSASWORKS is committed to establishing new pathways and resources for both employers and job seekers – and Try-Out employment is one such new way in which we can continue to fulfill our mission to build and connect a trained and qualified workforce.

“I think the Try Out program has given positive results for us at Matcor. We have had four people come work for us through the program. Four people that possibly would never had gotten a shot at employment with us. Two of the employees have been very good and we hired them. The other two had some problems with attendance and were unable to be selected for full-time employment. I do consider this a win for us and the two other employees, but I don’t look at it as a loss on the other two. They were given a chance but showed why they are struggling to hold full-time positions.”

– Jack Hatzenbuehler, HR, Matcor Industries

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