The National Fund for Workforce Solutions will support nine network partners to advance sector strategies that address labor challenges and make jobs better in the service sector
Washington, D.C. (Dec. 7, 2021) – The National Fund for Workforce Solutions is awarding $1.2 million to nine communities to address labor market challenges currently affecting the service sector. These awards are part of a $4.1 million investment from Walmart, made in 2020, to continue engaging service sector employers to improve job quality.
As the economy stabilizes in a “new normal,” service industries are ready to ramp up hiring but are facing labor market challenges. These grantees will help employers rise to meet those challenges in ways that benefit workers, create more equity, and support stronger communities.
“The impact of the pandemic on the service sector can’t be overstated—first with shut-downs and layoffs, and now the need to find workers,” said Tom Strong, director of employer activation at the National Fund. “Our newest grantees all took part in our Service Sector Learning Lab, and I am excited to see how they apply what they learned to support local service sector employers and create more family-sustaining jobs in their communities.”
Five implementation grants of $200,000 will activate service sector employers to change practices that result in better quality, more equitable jobs. Atlanta and Cleveland join three previously funded communities to partner with one or more employers in their region on sector-based strategies to influence employer practice.
Atlanta CareerRise will launch a Talent ReWire Accelerator to help employers in the transportation, distribution and logistics sector analyze workforce data and community-level data on racial equity and inclusion. Employers will design pilot programs to improve recruitment and retention with an equity lens. This work will be done in partnership with ProLogis, Jobs for the Future, Chris 180 and FSG.
To address the challenges in the hospitality sector in Cuyahoga County, The Fund for Our Economic Future in Northeast Ohio will launch a partnership with Destination Cleveland, the Hospitality Management Center of Excellence at Cuyahoga Community College, and Generation Work. This partnership will explore job design strategies to improve workplaces and benefits for service sector employees and job candidates, as well as support employers in Cleveland’s downtown live entertainment economy to attract and retain workers.
Innovation grants of $50,000 over 15 months will help participants develop a new idea or approach that helps essential workers in the service sector improve their economic prospects.
Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative will invest in a strategic roadmap to help sustain and expand their job quality and racial equity and inclusion work in Baltimore, including technical assistance to employers.
SkillWorks in Boston will develop and test a job quality curriculum for business owners and managers in the service sector, which will focus on elements of equity and inclusion, employee ownership, and wealth-building.
Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance will pilot a Chicago Early Childhood Educator Café, backed by 19 local employers. The goal is to create a supportive space for early childhood teachers to come together, study, commune, and collaborate around degree and certification programs and advancing their careers.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans Works will engage dislocated and underemployed hospitality workers through a series of human-centered design sessions. The goal of these sessions is to develop a set of testable interventions that will help hospitality workers and other low paid workers access resources and overcome barriers to work.
About National Fund for Workforce Solutions
The National Fund for Workforce Solutions invests in a dynamic national network of 30+ communities taking a demand-driven, evidence-based approach to workforce development. At the local level, the National Fund’s partner organizations contribute resources, test ideas, collect data, and improve public policies and business practices that help all workers succeed and employers have the talent they need to compete. Learn more at www.NationalFund.org.