Social Innovation Fund

With the goal to “find what works and make it work for more people,” the Social Innovation Fund has helped the National Fund for Workforce Solutions reach scale and measure the effectiveness of its programs. Among the first set of SIF grantees, the National Fund partnered with SIF from 2010 to 2016 to jointly invest in 28 communities across the United States.

Matching $15.7 million dollar-for-dollar with federal support, the National Fund generated more than $30 million worth of investments to support low-wage workers in developing new skills, help businesses access critical talent, improve training and education programs across the country, and foster local investment in the skills and careers of local residents. These investments were matched locally, meaning that each federal dollar invested resulted in more than three dollars of investment. With the support of SIF, the National Fund reached significant scale and conducted two rigorous evaluations, proving that its training models are more effective than traditional programs, helped train and advance 62,000 incumbent workers and jobseekers and specifically helped over 15,000 jobseekers find employment.

Based on two quasi-experiential studies conducted on similar programs in Ohio and Wisconsin, we found out that this model produced more job placements and resulted in higher wages and retention rates.

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In Wisconsin, the job placement rate for a manufacturing partnership was 21 percent higher than the comparison group of individuals who didn’t participate in an industry-driven program. Furthermore, participants in the National Fund program were retained at almost double the rate of other programs and earned more than $16,000 in additional wages.