Reflecting on Summer 2023

National Fund hosts academics, experts and workers for discussion at Harvard University.

Summer seems to have flown by and it has certainly been an eventful one to say the least. We’ve been busy here at the National Fund! This has been the first summer since I came aboard as CEO where our staff has been able to hit the road and travel. We’ve visited collaboratives in Chicago, Mobile, Wichita, Boston, served on panels to offer hot takes on major workforce equity issues and hosted several in-person meetings that have been invaluable to moving our work forward.

Back in June, our Systems Change team joined our partners from the Annie E. Casey Foundation to host Generation Work™ partners. It was a terrific opportunity for everyone to engage with peers and share what they were doing to support young workers of color. In July, CareerSTAT hosted healthcare professionals in DC for a two-day gathering focused on creating more equitable workplaces. National Fund staff also made stops in Puerto Rico and Denver to host technical assistance training in support of Unidos US Avanzando 2 Good Jobs initiative.

Most recently, National Fund staff joined Harvard University’s Project on Workforce to co-host a roundtable discussion on career navigation. This event was part of a research project aimed at understanding how education and workforce systems impact people’s career trajectories. It brought together national experts, academics, workforce practitioners and — perhaps most importantly — workers to discuss some of the project’s key research findings.

I had the opportunity to join in the discussion and it was a privilege to be in the room to take in the various perspectives of people who are central to this work. But what excited me most was seeing the National Fund’s commitment to centering frontline voices take shape. Making the voices of people whose lives are impacted most central to the discussion allowed for a grounded, rich exchange of ideas and helps the field understand what’s truly needed to spark change.

The roundtable also highlighted the deep expertise and excellent thought partners we have in the National Fund’s collaborative network. People often look to the National Fund to respond to various workforce issues on a national scale. The deep bench of strong advocates and champions of equitable workforce we have in our network also allows us to see national issues through a local lens. Their participation was a major highlight of our roundtable discussion, and when others get to see our network in action — it’s always a proud moment!

As the Career Navigation project continues, I’m looking forward to seeing what innovative solutions and recommendations come out of this groundbreaking research. Can’t wait to see what the next few months has in store for us!