American Staffing Association Honors Most Outstanding Work-Based Learning Programs in Staffing and Recruiting Industry


ASA Elevate AwardsThe American Staffing Association today announced the winners of the 2018 ASA Elevate Awards. This new professional recognition program celebrates the most innovative and effective work-based learning programs designed specifically for temporary and contract employees.

Aquent, “Aquent Gymnasium”
Aquent Gymnasium offers free online courses on web development, design, user experience, and content creation to students around the globe. The program bridges the gap between education and opportunity. Gymnasium achieves this by upskilling current contract employees and attracting new candidates to develop its talent pipeline and increase placements. Since launching in 2013, Gymnasium has acquired over 80,000 students and issued over 5,000 certifications.

BelFlex Staffing Network, “LIFT the TriState”
BelFlex Staffing Network and the Freestore Foodbank created LIFT (Logistics, Inventory Management, Facilities Management, and Transportation) the TriState (Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio) in 2017 to help narrow the gap between unfilled manufacturing jobs and underskilled individuals. It offers free training and transportation to program participants who gain the hard and soft skills needed for warehouse, logistics, and transportation jobs. In 10 weeks participants receive hands-on training from experienced warehouse personnel at the Freestore Foodbank; specialized coursework designed by Gateway Community and Technical College; and access to local employment opportunities through BelFlex and other program partners. In 2017‒18, LIFT graduated 43 participants with forklift certifications, making them fully employable through BelFlex or other companies in the region.

EmployBridge, “Better Work Life Academy”
The EmployBridge Better Work Life Academy provides online classes at no cost to the staffing agency’s temporary and contract employees. Since the program was launched in 2017, more than 10,000 EmployBridge associates have enrolled in the academy. The program provides EmployBridge temporary and contract employees with access to more than 20 PennFoster online courses—strategically chosen to serve industries that have the highest demand for skilled individuals. The courses include a mix of logistics, manufacturing, and office‒administrative offerings—each selected for relevance to advancing employee pay, improving future job prospects, and helping to meet the skills needs of some of today’s most in-demand jobs.

HealthTrust Workforce Solutions, “StaRN Nurse Education”
Since HealthTrust established the Specialty Training Apprenticeship for Registered Nurses program (StaRN) in 2014, it has opened doors for 8,000 newly graduated nurses who otherwise would have faced substantial difficulties working in acute care environments because of the dilemma that professionals must possess real work experience in these settings before getting hired. The 13-week program—in medical‒surgery, telemetry, critical care, trauma, and other specialized nursing areas—offers comprehensive didactic education with simulation experiences and clinical preceptorship at the hiring health care facility. The nurses are not charged a fee to participate; instead the health facilities that offered permanent jobs to the nurses (contingent upon successful completion of the training) pay for the program. When participating in the program, the nurses are contract employees of HealthTrust.

Hamilton-Ryker, “TalentGro”
Hamilton-Ryker recently launched TalentGro to offer apprenticeship programs and virtual reality training to address the skills gap in the manufacturing industry. The staffing agency also partnered with the University of Tennessee to offer soft skills training to deliver a more prepared temporary workforce on the job. Hamilton-Ryker clients that used the soft skills training realized a 40-% increase in the number of temporary employees who complete their assignments and a 33-% reduction in turnover. And since it installed virtual reality forklift training for one manufacturing client in Tupelo, MS, Hamilton-Ryker is better able to assess applicants’ skills before placing them on assignments—resulting in a 20-% increase in applicant pass rate.

“The ASA Elevate Awards pay tribute to U.S. staffing agencies that are creatively handling the skills gap, lack of qualified candidates, and backlog of open requisitions by focusing on enhancing the skills of their current temporary and contract workforce,” said Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. “The goal of this new professional recognition program is to place the most innovative work-based learning programs in the spotlight to encourage other staffing agencies to follow by example and launch their own programs to help address these critical talent challenges.”

The Elevate Award winners will be celebrated on Oct. 18 at a recognition ceremony during Staffing World® 2018 in metro Washington, DC.

To learn more about the ASA Elevate Awards program, visit

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About the American Staffing Association

The American Staffing Association is the voice of the U.S. staffing, recruiting, and workforce solutions industry. ASA and its state affiliates advance the interests of the industry across all sectors through advocacy, research, education, and the promotion of high standards of legal, ethical, and professional practices. For more information about ASA, visit

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