Program Services

EDSI provides comprehensive job readiness, case management, skills analysis, job placement and retention services to a variety of populations: Employers, TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families), Adult and Dislocated Workers, Non-Custodial Parents, Ex-Offenders, Youth, Refugees, and other economically-disadvantaged, unemployed or underemployed populations. Click here to download an overview PDF of our workforce development program services.


Business Services

Populations Served: Employers

EDSI develops and maintains strong relationships with employers to assess their hiring needs, secure job orders and help fill available positions with qualified employees. The Business Solutions team acts as a liaison between the One-Stop and employers to provide Business Services:

  • Job task analysis and skill gap analysis through our proprietary Skilldex system to help employers better define their needs
  • Referral of employers to existing business community resources
  • Assistance to employers on retention, training, outplacement, labor market information and regulatory compliance
  • Collaboration with other business resource organizations in the community to share information on available services with employers
  • Identification of training opportunities and resources from equipment manufacturers, vendors, employer associations, educational and training institutions and other sources
  • Meetings with the One-Stop Employer Services team and all One-Stop Job Development staff to ensure coordination of employer outreach
  • Brokering of On-the-Job Training (OJT) agreements with employers
  • Development of industry partnerships and supplementing existing research on industries and industry trends

This model provides the opportunity for placements to increase for special populations, and retention rates to stabilize, due to pinpointing the appropriate fit for the employee/employer the first time. It also allows the opportunity for an increased number of employers to place workers into training to increase their skill levels, thus opening entry-level positions and allowing for low-skill placements to be made.

The Business Solutions Team is responsible for the expenditure of Employee Upgrade Training funds and helping to utilize On-the-Job Training (OJT) funds based on employer referrals. The team is aware of funds that may be leveraged from other sources and works to secure them for employers.

Employer Engagement Podcast

EDSI employee Kris Harrell, Business Solutions Manager in Berks County, PA, was interviewed by Coffey Consulting regarding employer engagement. Kris describes effective practices on the topics of employer engagement and on-the-job training.

EDSI Job Fair

A glimpse into a job fair hosted by EDSI's Westland location where participants connect with prospective employers to make successful career transitions.


On-the-Job Training

Populations Served: Adult and Dislocated Workers, Employers

On-the-Job Training, also known as OJT, involves the teaching of skills, knowledge and competencies needed to perform a specific job within the workplace and work environment. Utilizing an employer’s existing workplace tools, equipment, processes and documentation, the employee is able to gain the skills and knowledge to effectively and efficiently perform his or her job. Click here to download an overview PDF of our OJT program services.

How do we do it?

At EDSI, we use the Skilldex system, an automated approach to job and skills analysis, to determine OJT placements and training plans. When appropriate, EDSI staff will conduct Job Task Analyses to determine the responsibilities of the employer’s positions and the tasks performed in those positions, along with the hierarchy of importance, difficulty and frequency of each task. Participants complete a Skills Inventory that will later be used to match them to available jobs and allow them to identify their own skills and compare them to careers of interest. Skilldex gives the employer detailed, job-specific skill information and an efficient means of tracking skill growth and training effectiveness.

OJT services enable employers to upgrade the skills of their workforce at an affordable cost, and at the same time, enable jobseekers to upgrade their skills and qualify for higher-wage jobs. Typically, the employer pays 50% of a trainee’s wages for a designated period of time and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) federal funds distributed to state and local governments cover the remainder of the cost. The employer commits to hire the trainee, if he or she successfully completes the training. 

OJT occurs within the normal working environment an employee will experience on the job. Training may occur as the employee performs actual work or may take place elsewhere within the workplace utilizing training rooms, training work stations or training equipment. OJT is most frequently supplied by another employee who can competently perform the job that he or she is teaching. While the goal of OJT is often to teach basic workplace skills, it also instills aspects of workplace culture and performance expectations in the new employee. 

Employer Benefits

  • Employers are reimbursed for 50% of the employee’s wages for a pre-determined time period to offset the cost of training the employee and recoup some of the lost costs associated with hiring
  • EDSI assists the employer in the design of the training plan, specific to the company’s requirements
  • Employees are trained on the actual equipment they will utilize after the training period, instead of equipment used by training vendors or community colleges
  • Very little of the employer’s time is required for the administration of the OJT - EDSI provides the invoices, reviews the evaluations completed by the employer on a monthly basis, and acts as the liaison between the employer and the funding agency
  • Employers retain the ability to make the final selection in the hiring process
  • Skill gap analysis allows the employer to identify the specific training required based on real data
  • The employer is able to review the new employee’s skill progress on a monthly basis

Funding Agency Benefits

  • Provides excellent Return on Investment (ROI) - Individuals participating in the OJT now have a full-time position, as opposed to an Individual Training Account (ITA) where there is no guaranteed job after training is completed
  • Requires less funding than ITAs for similar training and have higher retention because the employee is more knowledgeable about the culture and requirements of the employer
  • Provides real-time data on the progress of the employee and allows for quick intervention to alleviate challenges or barriers
  • Assists the funding agency in meeting performance goals
  • Allows Dislocated Workers an opportunity to return to work quickly, reducing the length of unemployment claims
  • Increases employment opportunities in high-priority industries
  • Enhances regional skill levels
  • Helps build long-term relationships with area employers

Employee (Client) Benefits

  • Direct training from experienced employees on how to perform the job, specific to the employer’s requirements
  • The ability to earn while they learn, allowing them to continue to meet their financial obligations
  • Monthly feedback on performance
  • The expectation of a full-time position after the training period and, in some cases, an increase in salary
  • Case management support services
  • A clear “Career Path” based on the employee’s upgraded skills
  • Job opportunities that would not have been available without the training provided by the employer and the cost offset by the OJT

On-the-Job Training

Segment from Capitol Connections featuring Senator Judy Schwank and EDSI's Kristina Harrell, discussing the OJT Program in the PA CareerLink Berks County.


Employment & Training Programs

Populations Served: TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families), Adult and Dislocated Workers, Non-Custodial Parents, Ex-Offenders, Refugees, Youth

Job Readiness

EDSI’s job readiness curriculum and workshops are designed to provide clients with a comprehensive understanding of workplace expectations and the skills to meet those expectations. Clients prepare for job search by building successful interviewing skills and developing a comprehensive, quality work portfolio, including resumes, cover letters, recommendations and thank you notes. Other critical components focus on developing effective strategies for successful team collaboration, increasing awareness of personal styles and strengths as they prepare to enter the work environment and building effective and positive communication skills. The program design has been successful with a variety of populations because it simulates the responsibilities and demands of the workplace and helps clients build the essential characteristics and behaviors that are most important to employers.

Case Management

EDSI provides individualized case management services for each client, tailored to his/her specific needs and capacities. The primary goal of every case management interaction is to move the client toward the ultimate goal of self-reliance through employment. EDSI staff helps the client create and follow an individualized employment plan and identify solutions to any challenges they may face. EDSI staff members focus on the client’s strengths and provide motivation and encouragement, which builds the client’s self-confidence and capacity for self-reliance.

Skills Analysis

EDSI assesses clients’ skills through the following process:

  • Skilldex® – EDSI’s web-based system surveys individual skills and identifies and catalogs the skill needs of employers – especially employers with a shortage of workers or a high demand for specific skills. Skilldex matches employees or jobseekers to employers, producing a job match report as well as a skills gap report identifying training and skill development needs.
  • Job Task Analysis (JTA) – The focus of EDSI’s Job Task Analysis is to identify and document the job tasks that are being performed in each job. During the job analysis interview, EDSI works with employees who are among the company’s most knowledgeable and experienced employees and are consistently the highest performers in their jobs (referred to as Subject Matter Experts) to determine the tasks they perform and how their job tasks are organized.
  • Skill Gap Analysis – EDSI’s Skill Gap Analysis uncovers jobseeker skills immediately and quickly identifies the appropriate training which may be needed to succeed within a certain position.

Job Placement

EDSI makes every effort to place the individual in a job that provides self-sufficient wages. Through Skilldex and other assessments, we are aware of the client’s current occupational skills and prior work history. Staff reviews the lists of current job openings to match a client to an employer and the client is given the information to make a call for an interview. For those clients requiring special assistance, or if there are no current openings in a specific industry, EDSI staff make cold calls to potential new employers to positively represent the skills of the client seeking employment. Staff follow up with the employer post-interview to gain insight regarding the client’s strengths and areas needing improvement. This information is shared with the client.

To ensure that a comprehensive job bank is established and maintained throughout the program, EDSI staff goals are to: develop employment opportunities in all labor market sectors represented in the community where a need exists for employees, maintain information on individual employers and their current or emerging needs, and contact employers directly on behalf of individual clients to arrange for and follow up on interviews. Staff are assigned specific industry clusters so they can develop expertise on the needs and opportunities in specific industries. They also recruit professional speakers knowledgeable about high demand jobs to present informational workshops for our clients.


EDSI‘s retention strategy promotes positive adjustment to the workplace and job stability by providing ongoing services to all clients who become employed. After a client is placed in subsidized or unsubsidized employment, EDSI staff provide support through weekly client contact for the first 60 days and then once a month through 180 days of employment. These contacts, including both face-to-face and telephone conversations, will allow the client to discuss any personal, family or job-related issues. The ongoing communication between EDSI staff and the employed client is key to helping the client adjust to the demands of employment and gives them an opportunity to talk about his/her achievements as well as the challenges they face. Where challenges exist, EDSI staff helps clients to develop problem-solving strategies to ensure they succeed in a new workplace environment.

EDSI staff work together to identify advancement opportunities for clients, including opportunities to increase hours at the current placement, training information for the current employment industry, or job training for alternate careers. In addition to the support of EDSI staff, retention incentives have proven to be a successful retention strategy. For example, incentives, in the form of gift cards, may be offered to clients reaching 30 days, 60 days, 90 days and 180 days in employment. Other positive reinforcement strategies include Client Appreciation Days to reward clients with raffles, special workshops, motivational speakers and job fairs. Retention clients are encouraged to attend these events to recognize their achievements and to reinforce a connection to the EDSI team.

The EDSI Experience

We wanted to hear what our clients had to say about their EDSI experiences, so we took a road trip to three of our program locations in Pennsylvania.


Non-Custodial Parent Programs

Populations Served: Non-Custodial Parents

EDSI has been working with the non-custodial parent population since 1999. We designed and developed the original non-custodial parent program in Pennsylvania, and funding and operation of the Philadelphia Non-Custodial Parent program, in cooperation with the Philadelphia Family Court, began in 2004. Based on our achievements in Philadelphia, we currently also operate successful non-custodial parent programs in Pittsburgh and Delaware County, PA.

Our work with program participants results in permanent and sustainable unsubsidized employment. Outcomes include an increase in child support payments, a decrease in arrearages, an increase in economic self-sufficiency and greater participation of the parents in the lives of their children. The strategies we propose educate and involve the non-custodial parents in child support enforcement processes and learning what their financial responsibilities are. Re-unification of our participants and their children begins with financial stability.

EDSI's extensive experience has shown that over 70 percent of our current NCP participants have criminal backgrounds and the majority of those have completed jail sentences. Our Job Developers work closely with “second chance” employers who agree to work with ex-offenders. Since 2004, EDSI has been developing employment opportunities to assist ex-offenders to find and retain employment.

Designed for parents who are not working and have a court order to pay child support, Non-Custodial Parent (NCP) Employment Programs eliminate barriers between the client and employment in several ways:

Job Readiness Classes

  • Delivering classes including: skills assessment, resume writing, understanding the application process, conflict resolution and interviewing techniques

Job Search Assistance

  • Teaching clients to use the internet for computer-based job searches and providing instruction on filling out online job applications

Job Placement Assistance

  • Ensuring clients are placed in unsubsidized jobs that provide optimal earning potential, thereby allowing them to pay child support and pay down arrearages

Job Retention Assistance

  • Providing clients with case management and the opportunity for tiered employment

The EDSI video, “Stepping Up To Fatherhood,” recently earned a bronze Telly Award in the non-broadcast productions-social issues category. The video focuses on EDSI’s successful Pennsylvania Non-Custodial Parent Placement and Retention Program and the potential benefits for its non-custodial parent customers. The Association for Women in Communications honored EDSI with a 2011 Clarion Award in the education category for the video.

Stepping Up to Fatherhood

"Stepping Up to Fatherhood," winner of a 2011 Telly Award in the non-broadcast productions, social issues category, focuses on EDSI's successful Pennsylvania Non-Custodial Parent Placement and Retention Program, and the potential benefits for its Non-Custodial Parent (NCP) clients.

Giving Fatherhood a Chance

Learn more about EDSI’s non-custodial parent programs.  Learn how we support clients in transition to provide for themselves as well as their children.


Reentry Services

Populations Served: Ex-Offenders

Reentry services are provided to ex-offenders recently released from incarceration. Individuals in this population need jobs in order to reenter society and become self-sufficient members of their communities.

EDSI provides:

  • Skills assessment through our proprietary Skilldex system
  • Job readiness workshops
  • Job search assistance
  • Case management and referrals to agencies for help in removing barriers to employment
  • Job placement
  • Job retention
  • Peer group support to deal with the difficulties of living on their own, adjusting to a new job, and reconnecting with family members

Many ex-offenders are court-ordered to contribute to the financial support of their children. Holding a job is crucial to reuniting with their children and taking part in their lives on a consistent basis.


Backpacks to Briefcases

Populations Served: Adult and Dislocated Workers, Employers

Backpacks to Briefcases is an innovative program - developed by EDSI, partnering academia, business and government. Through this partnership, Backpacks to Briefcases helps recent college graduates secure internships that will lead to permanent employment opportunities. The program is centered on creating a new pathway to help recent graduates find employment opportunities that channel their degrees. Click here to download an overview PDF of our Backpacks to Briefcases program services.

At EDSI, we are passionate about helping recent graduates successfully transition into the workforce in a market where recent studies suggest that:

  • Only 51% of recent graduates are employed full-time
  • 39% of recent graduates are working in a field very closely related to their degrees
    • (Source: “Chasing the American Dream: Recent College Graduates and the Great Recession” May 2012)

The impact Backpacks to Briefcases has made in the workforce is immediately recognizable. Its partnered approach has achieved:

  • 82% placement into paid internships
  • 66% placement into full-time positions

The program generates a tremendous push for workforce development programs. Businesses who need assistance with current projects gain the benefit of a free, qualified intern. Recent college graduates receive the benefit of no longer having to compete against experienced professionals for entry-level positions.

How Do We Do It?

Backpacks to Briefcases employs several methods to achieve the goals of the program:

  • Recruit recent college graduates who are unemployed/underemployed who have completed a Bachelor’s degree 6-24 months prior to entering the program
  • Provide short-term, project-based internships at area companies
    • Interns are paid a stipend of $12/hour for 3 months at 32 hours per week ($4,600 total cost)
  • Provide job readiness and career coaching for candidates including filmed mock interviews and a networking event

Every enrolled Backpacks to Briefcases participant attends a 5-day intensive training that teaches a multitude of skills in resume writing, interviewing techniques, 30-second speech rehearsal and job search strategies. Filmed mock interviews are performed with each participant in order to identify critical areas for growth and improvement. The week of employment training concludes with a networking event that connects recent college graduates with area employers.

Employer Benefits

The Job Development team at EDSI recruits employers to attend a catered networking event, matching attendees with qualified college graduates. In the past, Backpacks to Briefcases has achieved a 2:1 ratio of employers to college graduates. This yields a significant opportunity for employers to find the help they need to complete existing projects that may otherwise be cancelled or delayed due to a lack of resources or staffing. Ultimately, this approach allows recent graduates to demonstrate their skills and abilities to perform the required responsibilities and tasks of the job and dramatically increases the likelihood of the employer extending full-time job offers at the conclusion of the internship.


Youth Services

Populations Served: In-School Youth, Out-of-School Youth

EDSI operates a number of programs for youth ages 18-24 who are in school and out of school.

EDSI Chicago ServiceWorks operates summer and year-round youth programs. The year-round program is a comprehensive work-based learning program for out-of-school youth with an interest in the Hospitality sector. The program is organized around the 10 Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Youth Elements and presents occupational, work maturity, basic and career skills in a comprehensive program that also addresses the participants’ physical, social and psychological needs through leadership and mentoring activities. Youth receive training to prepare them to achieve the National Retail Federation Foundation Customer Service Certification and the ServSafe Food and Sanitation Certification.

A summer program targeting hard-to-serve youth whose households receive public assistance, are basic skills deficient, parenting teens, gang-affiliated, non-custodial fathers of children in low-income households, foster children, youth with disabilities or youth with limited English proficiency. Youth complete the Illinois WorkNet Work Readiness training and the ServiceWorks Customer Service Training.

EDSI also provides out-of-school youth services in the Raleigh, North Carolina area.

Helping Today’s Youth

In 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the rate of unemployment among young people under 25 was 16%.  Without prior work experience, it is difficult for youth to obtain employment.  We spent some time with unemployed youth listening to their needs and trying to see through their eyes.


Tiered Employment 

Populations Served: TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families), Adult and Dislocated Workers, Non-Custodial Parents, Ex-Offenders

  • Recruit from a qualified applicant pool
  • Reduce your hiring and turnover costs
  • Increase retention
  • Enhance employee productivity and performance

EDSI’s Tiered Employment Program addresses both the program and employers’ concerns regarding employee retention. Tiered Employment provides a structured series of “tiered” steps the client passes through to reach his or her career and income goals. The program gives the client a clear vision and timeline for his or her career development. At the same time, it gives the employer a specific time for employee separation to occur, allowing for an orderly process to backfill the position and transition the position responsibilities. Tiered Employment stops “dead end” job placement. The Tiered Employment Program establishes a strong relationship between the employer, the client and EDSI. Employers who typically experience high turnover are very receptive to this program.

General Tier Overview:

  • Tier I Position: Introductory wages with no benefits
  • Tier II Position: Increased wages, may or may not offer benefits
  • Tier III Position: Increased wages, offers benefits and employer-sponsored training

The basis of the program is straightforward. The Tiered employer agrees to hire a client for a period of up to six months and work with the center staff to monitor the employee’s attendance and growth in the position. The client agrees to accept employment and stay with the Tiered employer for a minimum of six months. At the end of six months, if the employee has achieved the necessary growth and attendance benchmarks, he or she is certified as Tier II- or Tier III-eligible (depending on the Tier of the initial placement) and may receive a significant raise with the existing employer. The employee may also be placed with another employer who is seeking an employee for opportunities that require a positive work history and evidence of job growth and success.

How does Tiered Employment benefit Employers?

Tiered Employment serves as a no-cost recruitment resource by providing employers a steady supply of referrals from training providers and social services agencies.  Tiered Employment also stabilizes an employers' workforce, thus reducing costly turnover.  Because our participants understand they will be eligible for advancement opportunities after successful employment at tiered positions, they are more likely to stay on the job and work harder.

Click here to download our Tiered Employment overview PDF.


Rapid Response

Populations Served: Dislocated Workers

Rapid Response is a pro-active, reemployment service provided to businesses and their employees when notification of a substantial layoff or permanent closure of a facility has been given. As part of a Rapid Response team, EDSI works with employers and employee representatives to:

  • Assess the transferable skills of employees through our proprietary Skilldex system
  • Connect displaced workers to available employment opportunities in their communities or within an industry
  • Provide flexible, customized services onsite, accommodating any work schedules to minimize disruptions associated with job loss
  • Identify training resources to enable workers to upgrade their skills and qualify for new employment

EDSI designed and operated the National Demonstration Project for Dislocated Workers in the 1980’s, and has been involved in multiple Dislocated Worker and Rapid Response programs since. We have worked with numerous companies in the manufacturing, packaging and aerospace industries and with government entities, in each case, placing high percentages of workers in new jobs.

EDSI understands our vision and helps us get there. Throughout the project, EDSI has helped to define more clearly what we need, redefine deliverables and propose feasible solutions. Monica Markovich; Program Manager, Educational and Training Programs - Indiana Department of Workforce Development

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