Educators and employers often seem to speak different languages, with different goals in mind. But when it comes to preparing people for work, they have the same objective—helping learners gain the skills and opportunities they need in order to succeed in the workplace. This brief highlights strategies for building effective employer-educator partnerships to increase college and career success for underprepared youth and adults. It is part of a series from JFF’s conference Bridging the Gap: Postsecondary Pathways for Underprepared Learners.
Our nation’s system for educating and training adults has not changed significantly since it emerged during an industrial age when organizational structures, technology, and skills requirements evolved little from year to year or decade to decade. With at least 60 percent of jobs requiring some postsecondary training within the next decade, Jobs for the Future is partnering with workforce development systems and job training programs to get more lower-skilled workers the skills and credentials they need to meet employer demand and keep family-supporting careers.
More than one-third of American workers lack the skills needed to access and succeed in family-supporting careers. For 93 million adults, very low academic and occupational skills have created almost insurmountable barriers to family-supporting careers or even entry into technical training programs that could lead to good jobs at decent wages. Yet millions of jobs remain unfilled, despite high unemployment, as employers in health care, construction, finance, manufacturing, and other sectors report difficulty in finding workers with the right skills.
JFF helps workforce developers advance more low-skilled, low-wage workers in today’s economy, while improving the competitiveness of employers.
Our services combine on-the-ground technical assistance in planning, designing, implementing, and scaling up career advancement strategies, with coaching, state and federal policy advocacy, and participation in extensive peer learning networks.
Our staff brings 30 years of experience and expertise working in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, with employers, intermediaries, regional workforce partnerships, funding collaboratives, local Workforce Investment Boards, and state policy stakeholders.
- Career pathway program design
- Industry-postsecondary partnerships
- Employer engagement
- Peer learning networks for practitioners
- Data analysis
- Financing strategies
- Labor market information analytics
- Advocacy and policy change
- 42,000+ low-skilled adults have received education and training services to further their careers through regional collaboratives of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions. More than 12,000 have been placed in higher-wage jobs.
- 2,076 low-skilled adults have been trained since 2010 to perform green economy jobs through one of eight GreenWays collaboratives. 1,489 have completed their training, and 902 have been placed in jobs.
- 40 high-level hospital executives have teamed up to promote making training investments in frontline workers through the CareerSTAT initiative.
- 2,600+ national leaders in education and workforce reform have shared and learned innovations and data-proven practices to help strengthen our workforce and our economy at 25+ JFF-led peer-learning convenings since 2012.