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52 instance, in each case the programs were designed in multi- be more likely to bring a customer service attitude and skills phased bonus formats with the referring employee receiving in working with persons with disabilities. two or more payments at designated periods of employment of the new hire. Pre-Screening and Job Previews Current employees are often overlooked in their natural role as informal recruiting resources. Focus group participants The literature and focus group discussions noted the need (vehicle operators) spoke about how they are asked on a num- for effective pre-screening and realistic job previews. It is ber of occasions about the nature of their jobs and how they important to identify individuals who meet all qualifications provide information about their work and on how to apply for and are likely to succeed in the job. Effective pre-screening can the position. The person who enjoys the job of paratransit also prevent high training drop-out rates and preserve train- vehicle operator and is good at it can be a spontaneous cost- ing resources. Providing applicants with a realistic description effective goodwill ambassador for the employer. of the job can also help individuals decide if the job is right for Several focus group participants indicated that they learned them. of their current jobs by word-of-mouth. They also indicated that while on-the-road they are often stopped by strangers who Agency/Company Image inquire about possible employment opportunities. This word- of-mouth recruitment appears to be a significant part of find- Individuals in the community are more likely to seek ing new vehicle operators in current ADA paratransit services, employment with an organization if the word-of-mouth is that and where this is the case, referral bonuses can be particularly the organization is a good employer. Similarly, if the local para- effective. Word-of-mouth recruitment is also likely to work transit service has a positive reputation, individuals interested more effectively when the current workforce is content. Dis- in the job for social or "people" reasons are more likely to satisfied vehicle operators may not be encouraging to individ- apply. uals who ask about the job. Second only to a paycheck, participants in the focus groups Some systems also report that they have had success recruit- that were conducted indicated that they were drawn to the job ing individuals who are retired and seeking a supplemental (or continued in the job) because they liked working with peo- income. This is a particularly effective strategy in communities ple and felt that they were performing an important service. It with significant retirement populations as well as in commu- is possible that building a good local service reputation would nities with retired military personnel. It has also been reported help draw more people to want to be part of the program. by several providers that older, retired employees tend to be Conversely, if the company or service has a negative reputa- reliable and more customer service oriented. They also may not tion, it may be harder to attract individuals interested in doing have a problem working part-time shifts and fewer hours per community work. Higher pay or other compensation may be week. Sometimes, fringe benefits are not as critical if they have necessary to offset this negative perception in order to obtain benefits from their prior jobs. high-quality recruits. On the other hand, older workers may be more sensitive to One approach that may assist with recruitment is to highlight shifts that do not match their lifestyles. While older employ- vehicle operators in local community news stories. This may ees may not mind part-time shifts (e.g., 45 hours per day), also help with retention. A number of systems and providers they may not want to work evening or weekend shifts. If indicated that one of the main reasons for high drop-out rates paratransit systems can be more effective in recruiting older in training is that recruits do not have a good sense of the job workers, they may find it more beneficial to create part-time that they are applying for. Once they learn all of the require- work for these operators rather than to rely too heavily on ments of the job, they decide it is not for them or decide that split shifts. they can get less demanding employment for the same or com- More targeted focus on recruiting older workers is also parable pay. Community news stories may help provide the important since the workforce is aging. As noted previously, public and potential recruits with a better idea of the require- the number of older workers in the workforce is expected to ments of the job of vehicle operator. increase by 56% by 2012. Several reports identified in the liter- ature search stressed that organizations will need to attract Providing Effective Training older workers in the future to remain competitive. Job fairs tar- and Tools geted to older job seekers were reported in the national survey to be one successful way to recruit older workers. In addition to finding "The Right" employee, it is important Some paratransit providers also reported success targeting that employees are properly trained, receive the necessary and recruiting health care and social service employees from tools, and receive appropriate support from others in the home health care and other industries. These employees may organization. The overall work environment is also an impor-