Tuesday, June 25

Wednesday, June 26

Employer Day co-sponsored by

Thursday, June 27

12:00 PM – Registration Opens

1:00 PM – Grantee Meetings (Invite Only)

5:00 PM – National Fund Leadership Awards Dinner

Join us as we honor National Fund leaders including Pete Strange as the first recipient of the Board of Directors’ Leadership Award.

7:30 AM – 8:30 AM – Breakfast & Registration

8:30 AM – 5:00 PM – Introduction to the Day & Morning Plenary

Concurrent Workshops Round I

Discussion Groups


Employer Meetings

Lunch & Afternoon Plenary

Awards Ceremonies

Concurrent Workshops Round II

6:00 PM – Reception

Dallas Museum of Art

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM – Breakfast

9:00 AM – 3:00 PM – Opening & Morning Plenary

Concurrent Workshops Round III


Lunch & Afternoon Plenary

3:00 PM – Adjourn

Select Workshops


A Life Sentence: Understanding and Breaking Down the Barrier of a Criminal Background to Work

Understanding the economic cost of legal restrictions that block access to jobs long after a sentence is served is a step towards resolving systemic barriers that disproportionally affect people of color. Second, comes awareness building and education around changes that can be made to improve equity and competitiveness without compromising public safety. This session will explore new research from Northeast Ohio quantifying the economic cost of excluding those with a criminal background from certain jobs and lift up two examples of health care employers in Greater Chicago that are actively working to change this reality by expanding access to healthcare careers to those who are typically excluded.


Distracted Employees? Workplace Financial Wellness Can Help

Low- and moderate-income employees’ financial lives can be complicated and the challenge of making ends meet may distract them at work. Employers can offer evidence-informed workplace financial products and services targeted towards LMI employees to improve stability and increase wealth. This workshop will draw on the workplace financial tools developed by the Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis and Policy Link. Come learn how to get started and to select the strategies that best meet the needs of LMI employees.


Using Relationships to Develop Healthcare Apprenticeship Programs

Utilizing apprenticeship to help fill workforce shortages and train workers is a growing trend in the healthcare sector. This session will explore how two innovative organizations utilized their relationships to develop healthcare apprenticeship programs. Central Iowa Works in Des Moines worked with UnityPoint and another local hospital to create new apprenticeship programs for Certified Medical Assistants and Certified Nursing Assistants. The Baltimore Alliance for Careers in Healthcare established a competency-based state apprenticeship for environmental care supervisors. The panelists will share what they’ve learned about the beginning stages of program development and how they plan to measure success.


The Retail Imperative: Engaging with and Responding to the Retail Sector

While the retail and service sectors employ over 48 million Americans, they rarely collaborate with workforce development stakeholders. These jobs have been dismissed as low-wage, low-skilled, dead-end jobs. Missing from this narrative are the unique opportunities for entry-level employment with rapid advancement, often without the requirement of an advanced degree and the various career trajectories that spring from this sector. There exists a unique opportunity for workforce development professionals to engage with retail employers to the benefit of workers and business. Join us for an interactive session highlighting three initiatives across the country that are working with retail employers and stakeholders and learn about the best practices that have been developed along the way.


Building a Worker-Centered, Racial Justice-Oriented Local Jobs Policy

The Transportation, Distribution and Logistics sector provides about 12% of all jobs in the East San Francisco Bay’s economy. A large redevelopment project at a former Army Base in Oakland is projected to build 10 additional cross-dock warehouses, adding an additional 600 – 1,200 warehouse jobs alone. A community/public/private collaboration in West Oakland is working to ensure that those new jobs are quality jobs that go to low-income Oakland residents of color. After successfully negotiating a landmark Good Jobs Agreement ensuring living wages and limiting the use of temporary staffing agencies by tenants in the new warehouse space, the partners are developing an apprenticeship-based training pathway to create a robust pipeline of workers and establishing a High Road Staffing Agency to coordinate hiring. Learn from this cross-sector partnership about their successes, lessons learned, next steps, and plans to build on their success with additional good job agreements at other development projects.


The Journey of Good Job Strategies

With the economy growing and record low levels of unemployment, filling open positions and retaining good employees became an even bigger challenge for employers. Learn specifically about three manufacturers journies and technical assistance to help them build their bottom lines by improving the development and retention of their employees. These three employers recognize that their challenges are driven by wages, employee communication, and development. Hear about the lessons learned and findings from this 18-month journey and its long-lasting benefits.


Innovative Rural Approaches to Wealth Building

Building and sustaining healthy, inclusive rural economies requires a holistic approach that intentionally integrates community, workforce, and economic development strategies. Innovative collaboration models are taking root in rural communities throughout the National Fund network that are maximizing resources and bringing new partners to the table. Learn how they are using a population health framework to engage employers and focus on community-wide wealth building.


Creating a 21st Century Workforce Through Work-Based Learning

This workshop focuses on apprenticeship models in a non-traditional sector, Information Technology. This workshop takes a look at work-based learning models in the IT field and how they are promoting the growth of talent in the industry. Learn how these programs originated, how employers have been engaged, and lessons learned from these efforts.


Ending Distance Discrimination: Innovative Models for Improving Worker Mobility

The distance between where people live and where jobs are has been increasing. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Cleveland MSA, where the number of jobs near the average resident declined tremendously since 2000. Because of historic development patterns and policies, the spatial mismatch amounts to distance discrimination. Job seekers, particularly those in low-income communities, are faced with a false choice between a car and traditional public transportation. Lack of job access manifests as a workforce challenge, directly impacting the ability of a worker to reliably arrive at work on time. New transportation models are emerging, putting urban, suburban, and rural mobility on the cusp of radical change. This session will explore how innovations in worker mobility in Cleveland and other communities can improve economic opportunity.


Addressing Intimate Partner Violence Barriers in the Workplace

When we think of workplace barriers that impact women, we think of childcare, transportation, the cliff effect, and housing. Several years ago, Partners for a Competitive Workforce started to hear anecdotally that intimate partner violence was another barrier playing a role in preventing women from completing training, gaining and maintaining employment, and advancing careers. This year, we partnered with several employers, community-based organizations and IPV survivors to explore what employers can do to create an environment that allows women experiencing IPV to continue and advance in the workplace. We look forward to sharing and discussing our findings and next steps.

Thank You to Our Partners & Sponsors