Partner4Work Leading Systemic Shift as Leaders of White House Workforce Hub

Sometimes it’s hard to picture what we mean by “systems change,” as we toss that phrase around when discussing our work. That’s why I was excited to visit Pittsburgh earlier this month, to get an on-the-ground look at the work the National Fund’s network partner, Parner4Work, is leading to spark change in their local workforce system.

Partner4Work, the Pittsburgh area’s workforce development board, graciously hosted the National Fund’s board, staff members, and funders for our June board meeting. They are helping to bring to life a thriving workforce ecosystem as leaders of one of the White House Workforce Talent Hubs.

The Workforce Hub initiative aims to link underrepresented groups with well-paying jobs in clean energy and other high-demand sectors created through historic federal infrastructure investments. Pittsburgh is one of five focus regions nationwide pioneering targeted workforce development models that could be replicated in other parts of the country.

During the first day of our visit, we toured the Energy Innovation Center, a unique space that integrates workforce development programs, green technology research laboratories, and a business incubator. We heard from a range of representatives from across the region’s clean energy sector.

The tour offered examples of some of the cutting-edge projects that urgently need workers to make them a reality. It’s clear that clean energy leaders are reimagining what’s possible and we need to help them also reimagine the jobs they create for these new innovations to ensure no worker is left behind.

The Partner4Work team shared how they are approaching local efforts to increase job quality in the childcare sector as part of National Fund’s broader childcare initiative, Shifting the Childcare Industry: Better Jobs for Better Access. We heard about innovative solutions in the region — like a childcare center for airport workers — that are directly addressing systemic challenges keeping workers from entering or staying in the workforce.

The momentum in Pittsburgh is exciting and encouraging. As impressive as this visit was, the most gratifying moment for me was hearing Susie Puskar, COO for Partner4Work, say that being a part of the National Fund network really prepared them to serve as a White House Workforce hub. A big thank you to Susie and our new National Fund site director, Bonny Yeager, for hosting a tremendous visit, and to all those who took time to meet with us during our time in Pittsburgh.

Amanda Cage

-- President and CEO, National Fund for Workforce Solutions