Wednesday, June 26 - Morning Workshops

Accelerating Change in Healthcare to Benefit Frontline Workers


Change is hard, but peer learning makes it easier and faster! Healthcare employers engaged in CareerSTAT’s Healthcare Workforce Development Academy accelerated changes to their business practices and rolled out new frontline worker programs with the support of an engaged peer learning network. Employer engagement is fundamental to creating sustainable systems change and peer-to-peer exchange presents an opportunity to strengthen employer engagement from a learning perspective. This panel discussion will explore how participants in the Academy leveraged the peer learning experience to create an accountability structure to accelerate the adoption of best practices for frontline worker investment. 

Achieving Economic Mobility through Innovative Approaches in Adult Education

Research shows that as the economy evolves, the demand for education, skills, and credentials also increases. High-performing adult education providers are critical if individuals are to succeed in occupational training. Unfortunately, adult education and training programs are often siloed and may not be equipped to address the various barriers underserved populations face. Learn how two regional funders collaboratives are leveraging community-based partnerships to build capacity, close foundational and occupational skill gaps, and mitigate common barriers to adult education and employment. 

Advocating for Skills: The Business Case


Join Business Leaders United (BLU) in an employer-led discussion sharing their efforts to advocate for federal policies that support their businesses by expanding access to skills for their current and future workforce. The discussion will include BLU’s efforts around work-based learning, Pell eligibility for short-term credentials, investments in career and technical education, and system-wide support for sector partnerships.

Building a Prosperous Community for All

Health & Wealth

Creating the conditions in which people can all thrive, live, work and age is dependent on both social and economic conditions. Prosperity is dependent on many elements: your zip code, education, job, health and access to quality care. Come learn about the social determinants of health and why employers should care about them. This workshop will highlight different employer-based strategies used to ensure all individuals can participate in an inclusive economy.

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

Job Quality

In Northern California, the transportation, distribution and logistics sector provides 34,000 direct jobs and 110,000 indirect jobs. A large redevelopment project at a former Army Base in Oakland is projected to add an additional 600 – 1,200 warehouse jobs. A 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 the jobs provide living wages and limiting the use of temporary staffing agencies, the partners are now developing an apprenticeship-based training pathway to create a robust pipeline of workers and establishing a High Road Staffing Agency to coordinate hiring. Come hear from this cross-sector partnership about their successes, lessons learned, next steps with the Oakland Army Base project, and plans to build on their success with additional good job agreements at other large East Bay development projects.

Can Work-Based Learning Ease Talent Issues?

Work-Based Learning

To attract new talent, advanced manufacturing employers are creating work-based training programs that ensure new employees learn exactly what they need to do the job. When combined with intentional recruiting strategies, customized “earn and learn” on-the-job training enables under-represented populations to gain skills while being placed in full time, permanent positions with benefits and a livable wage. Learn about the innovative strategies that employers and their partners are using to make OJT successful.  

Does Making All These Changes Make a Difference? Benchmark Your Business.

Job Quality, Evaluation & Impact

The Aspen Institute has partnered with Working Metrics to develop an easy to use tool that provides an instantaneous scorecard of your job growth, wage growth, and job retention results vs. the national industry average. Use this report to get new insight into your performance and the results of your suppliers or bidders. Make more holistic sourcing decisions and identify ways to improve your internal practices. Attract new business and investors because companies with superior human capital results deliver superior products and services and long-term financial results.

Getting and Using Data to Drive System Changes

Systems Change, Evaluation & Impact

Collecting data is only useful if it’s used for decision-making. Businesses, philanthropy and the public sector can each use workforce data to drive positive system changes. Learn how funders in Baltimore are seeking to create a better data system to collect and report on industry partnership outcomes; how counties in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul region are using workforce data to inform public sector job requirements; and how Real Time Talent (a data initiative of the Minnesota Chamber Foundation) is using data to align demand and supply across the state. 

Reframing the Narrative on Race: Lessons from Awareness Building in Northeast Ohio

Racial Equity

What happens when a community comes together to unpack the history of structural racism and how it manifests locally? Over the last two years, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, the Fund for Our Economic Future, and other engaged partners funded a learning journey to increase shared understanding of racial inequality in Northeast Ohio and foster productive dialogue among stakeholders. Through intensive trainings provided by the Racial Equity Institute of Greensboro, North Carolina, thousands of participants have heard a detailed history of racism in America that directly challenges deeply-held assumptions and reveals the devastating impacts of persistent racial inequality. The result is a community equipped with a common lexicon and increased local capacity to sustain racial awareness and support local change aimed at advancing a more equitable society. This session will share lessons from this effort and relay the important role of a common narrative in reducing racial disparities. 

Toolkit for Crafting Inclusive Employer Practices and Policies

Job Quality

Over the past two years, The Women’s Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation has researched how the cliff effect, self-sufficiency, and approximately 40 employer policies impact recruiting and retention of all workers. Also, Partners for a Competitive Workforce and the Women’s Fund have been conducting research on the prevalence of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and its connection to job training and employment. This led to the creation of a toolkit employers can use as they rethink and redesign their policies for their workforce. Learn about the toolkit and how one hospital has applied it to their retention efforts and what employers can do to create an environment that allows women experiencing IPV to continue and advance in the workplace.

Wednesday, June 26 - Afternoon Workshops

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

Racial Equity, Healthcare

Across the country systemic barriers disproportionally affect people of color thus narrowing employment possibilities for individuals and talent pools for businesses. Barring individuals with criminal histories from employment is one of these barriers. Understanding the economic cost of legal restrictions that block access to jobs long after a sentence is served, and awareness of what changes can be made to improve equity and competitiveness without compromising public safety is imperative. This session will explore research from Northeast Ohio quantifying the economic cost of excluding workers with a criminal background and lift up two examples of healthcare employers in Greater Chicago that are working to expand access to healthcare careers to those who are typically excluded.

Creating Cohorts of Employers to “Jump the Chasm”

FSG’s Talent Rewire initiative and Grads of Life facilitate and support Opportunity Employers: employers interested in innovative approaches to recruitment, retention, and advancement of untapped, high-potential talent. Through interventions such as Innovation Labs, 7-second resumes, and manager training, Talent Rewire and Grads of Life are helping employers to address pain points when building inclusive talent pipelines. Come learn how they are working with cohorts of employers and industry associations to support adoption of best practices that meet business needs at scale.

Distracted Employees? Workplace Financial Wellness Can Help

Job Quality

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 PolicyLink. Come learn how to get started and to select the strategies that best meet the needs of LMI employees. 

Exploring Intersections Between Racial Equity and Workforce Development

Racial Equity

Through this interactive workshop, we will explore the role that workforce stakeholders can play in advancing racial equity in workforce development. We will hear findings from a historical analysis of the San Francisco Bay Area’s public workforce system through a race and gender equity lens and learn about Baltimore’s Workforce and Racial Equity Community of Practice. Speakers will share their unique perspectives on applications of REI informed strategies from emerging lessons to what is holding us back. Participants will engage in small group work, utilizing the Associated Black Charities’ 10 Essential Questions for Workforce Development as a framework for exploring action steps.

Healthcare Industry Partnership Use of Job Quality to Improve Frontline Worker Retention


The North Texas Health Employers Learning Consortium was formed in April 2017 to address industry-wide challenges of hiring and retaining frontline workers. With philanthropic support, three participating employers implemented job quality strategies to reduce turnover of Patient Care Technicians. Hear how these hospitals are using the job quality framework to retain and grow entry-level talent.

Information Technology Partnerships and Programs

Information technology partnerships are being organized to address the various needs of technology companies as well as technology functions and occupations in other industry sectors. In each community, the partnerships are organized differently and operate programs to address the needs of the partnerships. Apprenticeship models in this non-traditional sector are promoting the growth of talent in the industry. Learn from employers and workforce development practitioners how these partnerships and programs are being implemented.

Investing in America’s Workforce: How CDFIs Promote Job Quality and Reduce Income Inequality

Job Quality

Since the Great Recession of 2007–2009, income inequality has emerged as one of the leading economic development issues in the United States. Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) that support job creation can help bridge this income gap by working with businesses to create quality jobs that offer fair wages, good benefits, meaningful advancement, and wealth-building opportunities. CDFIs are private financial institutions with a mission to serve low-income, low-wealth, and other disadvantaged communities and populations. This session will explore the role that CDFIs can play in supporting quality job creation and opportunities for partnership.

Making Work Based Learning Work for Business

Work-Based Learning, Policy

Work-based learning strategies – including apprenticeship – bring structured learning into the workplace, helping new employees raise their skills over time while meeting the immediate workforce need of businesses. To expand these opportunities, businesses need public policies that bring together the right industry partners, address the risk firms take by hiring workers who are still in training, ensure that employees bring value to the company, and – hopefully – become long-term employees. Hear from Business Leaders United (BLU) about state and federal solutions to expand apprenticeship.

Nothing About Me Without Me

Employers know that they SHOULD ask their workers what they want or what would help them, but they often do not. Sometimes employers are hesitant for fear of raising unrealistic expectations. What should employers do? Learn new ways to tap into the ideas and wisdom of frontline workers and engage them in identifying and implementing changes that benefit workers and the business.

Seizing the Opportunity for Systems Change

Systems Change

Change – political, bureaucratic, social – sometimes presents the opportunity to transform public policy, employer practices, and workforce investment. Interest in cross-sector collaboration can jumpstart buy-in to embark on major changes to workforce systems. Learn how funders and employers in Atlanta are collaborating with workforce boards on human-centered design and how funders in Syracuse are collaborating with a new mayor, businesses, and a college to diversify the construction and tech industries.

The Journey of Good Job Strategies

Job Quality

With the economy growing and record low levels of unemployment, filling open positions and retaining good employees is an even bigger challenge for employers. Learn about the journey of three employers – two manufacturing, one long term care – and the technical assistance provided to help them, who improved their bottom line by developing and retaining their employees. The employers will discuss how their good job strategies address challenges of low wages, employee communication, and development. They will share lessons learned, results, and anticipated lasting benefits for the companies and their employees.

Thursday, June 27 - Morning Workshops

Developing Strategies for Workforce Equity: JOIN’s Racial and Social Equity Workforce Benchmark Network (WBN) Initiative

Racial Equity, Evaluation & Impact

Powered by United Way of Greater Philadelphia & Southern NJ, this learning community brings together the collective expertise of JOIN and two national partners—Corporation for a Skilled Workforce (CSW) and Race Forward—to provide targeted group and individual coaching to workforce development agencies and other community partners. The overall goal is to strengthen organizations’ capacity for using data and evidence-based practices to improve workforce program results and increase matchmaking between employers and job seekers in the region as United Way works towards ending intergenerational poverty by 2030.

Driving Systems Change in Three Cities: Collaboration, Advocacy, and the Role of Philanthropy

Policy, Systems Change

The New York City Workforce Funders have supported an array of advocacy efforts—from investment in nonprofit advocacy organizations to engagement with City officials—throughout its decade-and-a-half history, garnering successes, failures, and lessons along the way. Join this session to explore past and current investments in New York City and State workforce policy, along with reactions and reflections on similar efforts taking shape in Chicago and Philadelphia.

Ending Distance Discrimination: Innovative Models for Improving Worker Mobility

Systems Change

In communities across the U.S., 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 the most out of 96 metro areas from 2000-2012. Lack of job access manifests as a workforce challenge: it directly impacts the ability for a worker to reliably arrive at work on time. The spatial mismatch is inefficient, ineffective, and, because of historic development patterns and policies, 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. Meanwhile, new transportation models are emerging, and urban, suburban and rural mobility is on the cusp of radical change. This session will explore how innovations in worker mobility in Cleveland and other communities can improve economic opportunity.

Innovative Approaches to Rural Wealth Building

Health & Wealth

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. 

Measuring and Communicating Success and Impact

Evaluation & Impact

A critical and tricky responsibility that the National Fund and its member collaboratives have is measuring the success and impact of their efforts and effectively communicating that impact to their major stakeholders through data and storytelling. In this workshop, we share examples of organizations successfully doing this.

Organizing for State Policy Changes


This workshop will provide examples of three state workforce policy campaigns that united local advocates to push for new funding and/or policy changes that could lead to critical improvements in successful employment outcomes for low wage workers.

Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeships

Work-Based Learning

The Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA) is a multi-year, collaborative initiative that will support the success of efforts in states and cities to expand access to high-quality apprenticeships for high school-age youth. Expanding youth apprenticeship is a strategy for building a more inclusive economy by connecting the learning needs of students with the talent needs of industry. This workshop will also feature the North Carolina Justice Center and Guilford Apprenticeship Partners who will share their success in increasing racial equity in youth apprenticeships.

Taking a Trauma-Informed Approach to Workplace Success

Health & Wealth

Many disconnected youth and adults suffer from toxic stress, trauma and in some cases, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As a result, stable employment can be challenging. To fully harness the talents and skills of this underutilized and significant segment of the labor market, a number of WIBs, youth-serving organizations, and employers are incorporating trauma-informed practices to ensure workplace success. Come learn how adverse childhood experiences (ACES) inform this work and the evidence-based approaches being taken in the field – including how a “seven-second resume” allows job seekers to focus on assets vs. deficits.

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.


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