New Grants to Help Strengthen Workforce Development in Casey’s Hometowns

Posted February 12, 2019, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

A young woman working in a production facility.

In part­ner­ship with the Ballmer Group, the Nation­al Fund for Work­force Solu­tions recent­ly award­ed four com­mu­ni­ties near­ly $2.4 mil­lion in com­bined grants to pro­mote eco­nom­ic mobil­i­ty among low-wage work­ers and address gaps in local work­force sys­tems. Orga­ni­za­tions in Atlanta and Bal­ti­more — two cities with Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion offices and long his­to­ries of invest­ment — were named as recip­i­ents, as well as col­lab­o­ra­tives in Cleve­land and Syracuse.

The Nation­al Fund fos­ters part­ner­ships among train­ing providers and employ­ers in 26 states.

These grants will help four U.S. regions tack­le dif­fer­ent sys­tems — trans­porta­tion, data col­lec­tion, fed­er­al­ly-fund­ed work­force devel­op­ment — in order to ease the path to eco­nom­ic mobil­i­ty for more low-income Amer­i­cans, espe­cial­ly those who have been his­tor­i­cal­ly exclud­ed from oppor­tu­ni­ties,” says Jan­ice Urbanik, senior direc­tor of inno­va­tion and strat­e­gy at the Nation­al Fund for Work­force Solutions.

The Bal­ti­more Work­force Fun­ders Col­lab­o­ra­tive — a pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship between local and nation­al foun­da­tions, cor­po­rate donors and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of city and state work­force agen­cies — will use the three-year invest­ment to strength­en data shar­ing and sys­tems. The goal? Help work­force providers more eas­i­ly exam­ine employ­ment out­comes by race and gen­der, iden­ti­fy dis­par­i­ties, and pin­point effec­tive approach­es that help peo­ple find last­ing employment.

Work­force prac­ti­tion­ers need to know which invest­ments are yield­ing results, espe­cial­ly for peo­ple of col­or,” says Sara Muempfer, senior asso­ciate for the Casey Foundation’s Bal­ti­more Civic Site. An improved data sys­tem will help stake­hold­ers and part­ners deter­mine what pub­lic and pri­vate fun­ders are get­ting for their mon­ey and how to improve upon work­force ser­vices with­in the system.”

Atlanta Career­Rise, a region­al col­lab­o­ra­tive that part­ners with employ­ers in high-growth indus­tries, will lead the charge in Atlanta. To ensure more equi­table access to ser­vices, the group will deter­mine how and where resources are deployed across the region, devel­op a uni­form appli­ca­tion process and eli­gi­bil­i­ty require­ments and increase par­tic­i­pa­tion of non­prof­it providers to deliv­er ser­vices in the community. 

These grants will enable our work­force part­ners to get clear about who they’re serv­ing and how they can improve,” says Janelle Williams, senior asso­ciate in the Foundation’s Atlanta Civic Site. With bet­ter analy­sis and account­abil­i­ty, we can begin to cre­ate more equi­table employ­ment opportunities.”

Learn more about Casey’s efforts to reshape work­force devel­op­ment in Baltimore

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