Investment from The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation will support collaboratives to benefit workforce program participants and advance equitable employment outcomes
Washington, D.C. July 25, 2023 – The National Fund for Workforce Solutions is awarding $1 million to five communities to use Human-Centered Design to improve workforce programs and employment outcomes. The HCD approach requires a mindset that values empathy, avoids jumping to a particular solution, and embraces continuous learning.
This investment from The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation will provide collaboratives with the support needed to adopt and sustain an HCD approach for workforce services and/or training. This new work builds on lessons the National Fund learned from helping employers use HCD to engage their employees to improve workplace practices.
“Human-centered design helps us better understand job seekers’ experiences so we can make sure workforce services and training programs benefit all job seekers and workers, particularly those who have experienced inequitable opportunities and outcomes,” said Carrie Felton, director of Worker Success at the National Fund. “We are so excited for our workforce collaboratives to adopt human-centered approaches that will help them advance more equitable pathways to good jobs and careers, and hopefully create more equitable workforce ecosystems.”
The five communities selected to participate in this program will engage multiple stakeholders in an HCD approach to redesign, improve, and document at least one workforce program, policy, or practice that will directly benefit job seekers and workers. Each community will take a different approach to meet this objective.
The Hawai’i Workforce Funders Collaborative will work with cross-sector partners to develop a human-centered approach to grant-making that is responsive to all job seekers in Hawaiʻi and designs solutions that meet the needs of residents in rural communities and on Neighbor Islands.
KentuckianaWorks and Southwest Indiana Works will work together with core one-stop operators to develop ways to incorporate input from and information about their job seekers, particularly Black and New Americans who experience inequitable career opportunities in their communities, to drive service delivery and program improvements.
The Seattle-King County Workforce Development Council will develop a human-centered approach that is focused on maximizing access to the employment and training services, particularly for job seekers who have traditionally been marginalized and excluded from opportunities.
Springfield WORKS will use a human-centered design process to address inequities in their local nursing career pathway. Through the collaborative’s participation in the National Fund’s Systems Thinking Lab and Advancing Industry Partnerships with Community Colleges project, they have convened relevant partners to analyze disaggregated data on nursing student stop-outs and common challenges to advancing from CNA to LPN.
Workforce Solutions Collaborative of Metro Hartford has identified a gap between the number of young people engaged in outreach activities and the number of young people who enroll in their programs. They plan to use a human-centered approach to connect more young adults of color to their employment and training opportunities.
About National Fund for Workforce Solutions
The National Fund was founded in 2007 with the aim of improving workforce outcomes for low-wage workers and job seekers through developing sector-based industry partnerships. Over the years, our mission has evolved to center racial equity and uplift worker voice in order to make workplaces better for workers, employers, and communities.
We envision a future where all workers have the resources required to thrive, race does not dictate employment outcomes, and all jobs are good jobs. We believe that access to ideas, inspiration, and resources at a national level is key to sparking change and achieving positive results at a local level. Our approach — comprised of coaching, frameworks and tools, funding, and technical assistance and training — ensures that our network members are well-equipped to foster lasting change.