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Workforce Development

Imaginal education structures targeted for success in employment through transformative job training

In 1980 the US Department of Labor selected Training, Inc. as one of the Top Ten Exemplary Job Training programs in the country.



At that time the program had 97% of the participants completing the program with 90% of them placed in jobs.



The Training, Inc. program has been a demonstration of imaginal education applied in a workforce environment for more than fifty years. Carol Walters, the former Executive Director of the National Training Inc. Association, summarizes the history of the development of Training, Inc. starting in 1974.  

An overview of Training, Inc. in Boston

On November 16, 2020 there was a 45TH TRAINING, INC. ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION. Carol Walters started the session with these thoughts: “It has been  said that sometimes great things come from small beginnings.  I remember an analogy the Oak Brook Association of Commerce and Industry (one of the original partners) once used to describe the program when they said Training, Inc. was like an Acorn that grew to be a Mighty Oak.  The program has had a big impact in so many areas of so many lives including each of ours.  Oaks tend to have a long life-span as evidenced by the group gathered here today to celebrate 45 years of existence.  Mighty Oaks can live forever because small acorns have fallen over the years and continue to fall and take root in many places.  More Great Oaks exist in continuing Training, Inc. and affiliated programs and in workplace development initiatives across the land.  We will hear more about these later in our time together.”  Right click on this link to see the video of the 45TH TRAINING, INC. ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION:

How imaginal education makes Training Futures successful

Training Futures


An award winning adult training program in Northern Virginia, Training Futures was designed and led by Susan Erickson Craver and Marla Burton from 1996-2010.  Its 25-week program uniquely offered college credits to students while gaining workplace skills. Susan describes the role internships and Toastmasters play in the program:  


      • Internships. Remember that play we saw eons ago in Chicago called “Getting My Act Together and Putting it on the Road”?  Internships are like that. They give the industry seal of approval for each person’s imaginal journey. The participant experiences slayed any doubt dragons that the “new me” was not going to hold steady in the “real world.”  It is exhilarating to have an imaginal journey tested and proven by outside, objective forces.


      • Toastmasters was all about the trainees finding their voices and telling their stories. We literally witnessed stories going from those of victims to those of heroes in the telling. It was powerful and often reduced guests to jelly. I often thought of D. H. Lawrence’s line, “the song of one who has come through.”  



In 2003 (the 7th year of Training Futures), the Trickle Up case study was written on the program, documenting the community benefits of workforce development (Executive Summary of case study). In 2007 Aspen Institute awarded Training Futures $300,000 and in 2010 the Aspen Institute wrote this report of the program results. A representative from Booz Allen gives a graduation presentation  and this report shows documented success. In 2011 a partnership between Northern Virginia Community College and Training Futures wrote a case study called “Rediscovering the American Dream of Opportunity” states:

      •  94% of enrolled participants successfully completed the 25-week program, one of the nation’s top success rates for job training programs serving low income workers
      • 84% of participants successfully completed a median of 17 NOVA college credit hours while at Training Futures, more than a full-time semester course load
      • 84% of program graduates secured new jobs following the program, a strong outcome despite the recession
      • Newly-employed participants reported average initial wage gains of $3 per hour over previous earnings in their first new job (29% increase), equivalent to a $6,000 annualized earnings increase.

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