New Funding to Promote Good Jobs
The National Fund for Workforce Solutions received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to identify the key motivations for small businesses to design better jobs for their workers. “Given that about half of the U.S. workforce is employed by small and medium businesses, understanding why some of them choose to make their jobs better—or why they don’t—could be transformative,” said Janice Urbanik, senior director for innovation and strategy at the National Fund.
Overheard in Davos
Last week, the World Economic Forum hosted their annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Business and political leaders from around the world spoke about critical issues facing the world’s economy. There was a big focus on stakeholder capitalism, the future of corporations, and investing in a better, more sustainable future. Our senior director of innovation and strategy, Janice Urbanik, took the conversation to Twitter. Here’s some of what she said.
President’s Corner: Listening to Workers
While it may seem obvious and essential that programs designed to help workers and job seekers are created with their input, the reality is that too often they are not. At the National Fund we have learned how critical it is to develop a deep understanding of worker needs and preferences before implementing new skills training or changing practices and policies to advance current employees or remove barriers to work for job seekers. When employers and workforce and educational systems ignore the voice of employees they make uninformed—and often incorrect—assumptions about what workers need or want. This can lead to poorly designed interventions, unintended consequences, and negative responses from those being assisted. For these reasons, the National Fund has made supporting worker success and facilitating increased worker engagement one of our five-year strategic priorities. To help us implement this strategy, we are bringing on our first full-time director of worker success (formal announcement coming very soon).
In the meantime, and as always, we welcome your suggestions for how we can include worker voice in all that we do. Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spotlight on Best Practices
Align Workforce with Organizational Priorities
When organizations truly succeed at developing their frontline workforce, it is because they’ve made it part of the way they do business, rather than relegate it to stand-alone or one-off programs. That means the resources invested and actions taken to support frontline workers reflect organizational priorities and values. Aligning workforce development with overall priorities helps secure leadership buy-in from the CEO down.
Listen to CareerSTAT members discuss the value of aligning frontline workforce and organizational priorities.
Co-Invest for Impact: A Shared Ownership
At the National Fund, we catalyze our network to co-invest in a set of integrated solutions that enable workers, employers, and communities to advance a skilled workforce, promote good jobs and invest in equitable outcomes. By using a co-investment model that leverages both private and public funding, our network of communities have greater resources to do the work. In our most recent blog, we talk to Jen Gifford and Paula Gilberto of the Workforce Solutions Collaborative of Metro Hartford. Read it here.
To Change Systems, You Must First Identify the Right Problem
We spend too much time asking, “What is the workforce system? What is systems change?” Instead, the problem itself should help define the boundaries of the system; you can see which connections are relevant or not. Focus on how, not what. In 360 Degree Choice of Direction, National Fund Director of Systems Change Bryan Lindsley walks through the challenges of defining and describing the work of systems change and asking the right questions.
360 Degree Choice of Direction – Bryan Lindsley
Success Across the Network
Media and Articles
National Fund for Workforce Solutions