Press Release: National Fund for Workforce Solutions Documenting Innovation in Getting Americans Back to Work, New Evaluation Data Reveal

BOSTON, MA (June 21, 2010) – The National Fund for Workforce Solutions, involving more than 250 funders nationwide, is proving that innovative, local approaches to preparing job seekers and workers for careers, built on strong partnerships with employers, can deliver results for local economies.

The National Fund today released the results from the second stage of a comprehensive evaluation. Implementing the National Fund for Workforce Solutions: 2nd Annual National Evaluation Report reveals that, in 2009, the second full year of operation, outcomes generated by the 22 National Fund sites include:

  • 18,036 jobseekers and incumbent workers received training and career support, an increase of 286 percent from the year before;
  • 9,735 participants received degrees or credentials, compared to 679 in 2008;
  • 4,058 jobseekers secured jobs as a result of their participation, up from 893 in 2008;
  • Of those who got jobs, 81 percent are working more than 35 hours per week.

“Millions of Americans are desperately seeking jobs with wages and benefits to support their families,” said Fred Dedrick, Executive Director. “The National Fund for Workforce Solutions shows that when communities truly understand what skills employers are looking for, they can develop innovative initiatives to deliver the necessary training and education to workers and job seekers.”

“Our intent is to help 30,000 individuals get back to work and advance in their careers by responding to the human capital needs of hundreds of employers in important sectors of the economy:  health care, construction, manufacturing, transportation, and the emerging green economy.  Although there are more challenges to address, this evaluation shows we have the momentum to reach our goal.”

The 22 National Fund sites each share a commitment to working closely with employers while helping jobseekers and employees build sustaining careers. They each, however, take unique and local approaches to implementing five strategic principles: 1) Create a regional funding collaborative; 2) Organize workforce partnerships; 3) Develop sector-specific approaches; 4) Build career pathways; and 5) Align  regional workforce investments.

Keisha Monique Blake works at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. Project Reach, supported in part by the National Fund, made it possible for her to get her degree and move from a support position to becoming a radiographer in pediatric radiology. “Project Reach was a lifesaver,” she said. “It gave me support. It gave me strength. It gave me encouragement at times when I didn’t feel like I could do it. It helped me to do something that I never thought I could be, that I never thought I was going to do, and that was become a college graduate.” To view a brief video interview with Ms. Blake, and to hear in her words how one local program is helping build careers, click HERE.

The evaluation was conducted by Barbara Baran, Stephen Michon, and Suzanne Teegarden of Workforce Learning Strategies, and Leanne Giordono and Kendra Lodewick of Program and Policy Insights, LLC.

The nine national investors who lead the National Fund are contributing $23.7 million to the effort, which is leveraging more than $104 million from local public and private funders. The national investors are the Annie E. Casey Foundation; the California Endowment; Ford Foundation; John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; Microsoft; The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation; The Hitachi Foundation; The Prudential Foundation; and the Walmart Foundation.

The implementation partners of the National Fund are Jobs for the Future and the Council on Foundations. Jobs for the Future identifies, develops, and promotes new education and workforce strategies that help communities, states, and the nation compete in a global economy.  The Council on Foundations provides its members with services and support to help them succeed and emphasize the value of philanthropy in the lives of people everywhere.

The National Fund for Workforce Solutions is the recipient of the 2010 Distinguished Grantmaking Award for Collaboration, bestowed by the Council on Foundations. To learn more about the National Fund, visit www.nfwsolutions.org.

 

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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