Prototype for success

How does one predict whether a job candidate, or a student, will be successful? That's another topic that Linda Hahn, executive director of the Metropolitan Career Center, a Philadelphia nonprofit workforce development organization, discussed with me at lunch on Monday. The MCC offers short-term job readiness programs and longer-term vocational training in information technology. 

Linda said that MCC spends its money upfront on students, marketing to attract them, providing them with counseling and hiring the appropriate faculty. But it gets paid, usually from government sources, when the students complete the classes. So every student who drops out is a financial drain on the program (and that's not even thinking about the consequences for that student).

It doesn't do anyone any favors, Linda said, to accept people into the program who won't succeed. Yet how do you figure out the likelihood of success without turning your back on a person who just needs a break? Linda, who is just six months into the job, said she is trying to create a series of profiles of successful students, to see what elements lead to their success. Then, perhaps, they can choose students who fit into those prototypes.