National Fund for Workforce Solutions
The Casey Foundation invests in this five-year, $30 million effort, by regional and national funders, to strengthen and expand high-impact workforce development partnerships across the country. Now active in 22 urban and rural regions, the National Fund is helping low-skilled workers advance in their employment and helping employers to meet their needs for skilled workers. The Fund works with local and regional funder collaboratives to build partnerships and advocacy. Recently, the National Fund received a $7.7 million federal Social Investment Grant that will help expand its work.
One of the pilots that helped launch the Fund's work was the Baltimore Workforce Collaborative, in which the Casey Foundation joined a group of philanthropic and public workforce funders to underwrite key projects in the Baltimore region. The project has created pipelines for qualified workers to fill critical shortages in Baltimore-area healthcare facilities, the area's booming construction industry, and the biotechnology field. These pipelines include:
- Baltimore Alliance for Careers in Healthcare. Career coaches funded through the alliance work in area hospitals. The alliance supports a healthcare training program focused on basic academic and workplace skills. Nine hospitals, two community colleges, six foundations, and three public service agencies are part of the 70-member coalition.
- JumpStart. This pre-apprenticeship program is coordinated by the Job Opportunities Task Force with instruction by the leading association of Baltimore contracting firms. Participants receive basic academic instruction as well as an introduction to construction skills. After two training sessions, 70 percent of participants were placed in jobs, most in the construction sector.
- BioStart. This three-month initiative teaching math, reading and laboratory skills prepares trainees for a laboratory associates training program. The training includes case management and professional development assistance, and targets unemployed, or underemployed, East Baltimore residents. See more on Casey's work in East Baltimore.