The Rhode Island economy faces twin challenges: a worker gap among employers and a skills gap among workers. In combination, these are fueling a squeeze on workers and businesses. On the other hand, several new initiatives have been launched by state agencies, nonprofit organizations, and local and national foundations to upgrade the quality of services and to foster collaboration among state agencies involved in workforce development. With all of these efforts to improve the workforce system, the potential exists for lack of coordination in terms of goals, strategies, and projected outcomes.
With that in mind, the United Way of Rhode Island’s Building Adult and Neighborhood Independence Steering Committee conducted a listening process with policymakers, funders, employers, advocates, and nonprofit organizations to identify common ground and potential strategies to align resources and actions around a set of shared core values for a high-performing workforce development system in Rhode Island (Skill Up Rhode Island). Based on that process, JFF prepared Good Things from Small Packages for the committee.