National Fund for Workforce Solutions

National Fund for Workforce Solutions

Investing in Career Advancement for Low-Wage Workers

Preparing low-wage workers and jobseekers for family-supporting careers in high-demand industries through deep employer participation and investment in local workforce development.

The National Fund for Workforce Solutions partners with businesses, communities, and philanthropies to develop employer-driven workforce strategies to help low-wage workers and jobseekers obtain career opportunities, while creating talent supply chains that close skills gaps and strengthen local economies.

Our nation’s economy faces a critical skills gap – the gulf between the skills many workers have and the skills many employers need. Consider that:

  • More than one-third of American workers lack the skills needed to access and succeed in family-supporting careers.
  • An increasing number of jobs require, at a minimum, postsecondary education and/or industry-recognized credentials.
  • Despite persistently high unemployment, millions of jobs remain unfilled as employers in health care, construction, manufacturing, and other sectors report difficulty in finding workers with the right skills.


Factors such as the changing nature of job prerequisites, rapid technological changes, increased global competition, and increased workforce mobility, have diminished the capacity of our nation’s workforce system to adequately prepare individuals for today’s jobs. Solving the skills gap will require stronger connections among employers, public workforce development systems, and education and workforce providers, coupled with greater levels of employer investment, leadership, and participation in workforce development.

The National Fund for Workforce Solutions invests in regional funding collaboratives that provide low-wage workers and jobseekers with the education and training they need to advance in their careers.

These collaboratives are employer-led and sector-specific to ensure that each region’s training programs offer skills and credentials that their own employers are demanding. They also promote improvement to business practices and public policies that lead to better career opportunities for our nation’s workers.

Jobs for the Future is the implementation partner of the National Fund:
  • Managing grants and the site selection process
  • Coordinating technical assistance
  • Leading peer-learning opportunities
  • Conducting research
  • Overseeing the national evaluation of program effectiveness; 
  • Identifying opportunities to engage in public policy discussions and to advocate for changes that advance National Fund principles and practices at the state and national levels

The unique value of the National Fund centers on investing in local communities to establish and sustain regional funding collaboratives. These collaboratives organize sector-specific partnerships that provide incumbent workers and jobseekers with access to better career opportunities, and their advancement also develops a talent supply chain for communities.

The record of the National Fund’s first five years, from 2007-2012, has proven that its model is achieving results across the United States.

National Fund outcomes to date:
  • 42,300 individuals have received career development services
  • 28,600+ degrees, certificates, and other credentials earned
  • 11,700 participants have been placed in jobs
  • 4,060+ employers received recruitment, screening, and job referral services
  • 151 workforce partnerships established
  • $233 million raised ($41 million from national funders that have leveraged $192 million in local funding)
  • Yolonda Morrison

    Impact Profile, Yolonda Morrison: 11 Tons of Opportunity

    Yolonda was helping clean out a shut-down factory where she used to work when she learned about an on-the-job training program just down the street at RTI International Metals, a titanium forger that supplies the aerospace industry. “The economy here is so bad,” she says. “I jumped on that opportunity to try to do better.” Trainees didn't have to pay for training, and actually received wages, followed by official hire.
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