Press Release: Jobs for the Future, Inc. Awarded Social Innovation Fund Grant

Boston, MA (July 22, 2010) - The National Fund for Workforce Solutions, with its implementation partner Jobs for the Future (JFF), has been awarded a two-year $7.7 million grant from the Corporation for National and Community Services under its Social Innovation Fund in Washington, DC.

Partnering with JFF, the National Fund, collaborating with nine national and 200 local and regional funders, will expand its assistance to at least 23,000 additional participants over three years in 24 high-need communities, while at the same time addressing the critical skill needs of more than 1,000 employers. The funds will dramatically increase economic opportunities for disadvantaged workers and jobseekers through investments in regional workforce collaboratives that partner with employers to identify jobs and career pathways in high-growth industries.

The Social Innovation Fund (SIF), administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, is a new way of doing business for the federal government that better targets public-private resources toward solving social challenges. The SIF grants will expand the impact of high-performing organizations and innovative solutions to issues in three key areas: economic opportunity, youth development and school support, and healthy futures.

“This award is testament to the hard work and innovative spirit found at the 23 local sites of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions,” said Barbara Dyer, president and CEO of The Hitachi Foundation, and chair of the National Fund. “As the recovery takes hold and a new  economy emerges, local solutions responsive to local economies are needed to prepare employees for careers and to help employers succeed. The Social Innovation Fund accelerates our work to uncover and share these local solutions.”

“The Social Innovation Fund grant award recognizes the importance of working with both employers and workers so that the investments we make in human capital yield significant benefits to individuals, industry sectors, and our communities,” said Fred Dedrick, executive director of the National Fund. “This grant will challenge the National Fund to expand its work of helping low-income workers succeed in this dynamic economy by responding to the skill needs of our communities’ employers. We know that these strategies are effective and we are anxious to deepen their impact.”

The grant will support new regional start-up collaboratives in 6-8 communities in the south and southwestern regions of the U.S. and broaden the impact of current collaboratives in 12-16 communities where National Fund investments have already brought key stakeholders together around partnerships that serve the needs of both workers and employers. The project will provide for an evaluation of the model’s impact to generate new knowledge about how to address the economic needs of low-income job seekers and the skills needs of employers in particular industry sectors.

“The Social Innovation Fund grant will help our communities to scale up strategies that work in growing or high demand industry sectors,” said Marlene B. Seltzer, president and CEO of Jobs for the Future.

Nine national funders are the core funders for the National Fund for Workforce Solutions: Annie E. Casey Foundationthe California EndowmentFord FoundationJohn S. and James L. Knight FoundationMicrosoftThe Harry and Jeanette Weinberg FoundationThe Hitachi Foundationthe Prudential Foundation; and the Walmart Foundation. The National Fund works collaboratively with its partners Jobs for the Future and the Council on Foundations.

About National Fund for Workforce Solutions
The National Fund for Workforce Solutions is an award-winning national initiative focused on helping low-wage workers obtain good careers while at the same time ensuring that employers have the high-quality skills that will enable them to succeed in this highly competitive economy. Since 2008, the National Fund has raised $24 million to support 23 communities that have contributed an additional $104 million in locally raised resources from 216 different funding sources, including community foundations, United Ways, corporate foundations, workforce investment boards, chambers of commerce and state agencies. Each of these communities has created local funding collaboratives that are collectively investing in more than 80 sectoral workforce partnerships. http://www.nfwsolutions.org.

About the Corporation for National and Community Service
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, and leads President Obama's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.

About Jobs for the Future

Jobs for the Future works with our partners to design and drive adoption of education and career pathways leading from college readiness to career advancement for those struggling to succeed in today’s economy.

www.jff.org
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