Equitable Economic Recovery Is Possible if We All Work Together
JFF’s new webinar series, ‘Better Together,’ showcases education and workforce partnerships working to build an America where economic mobility is accessible to all.
By Daniel Minty
With millions of people out of work, a racial justice movement underway, and the labor market in a state of constant change, the problems facing learners and workers seem larger than ever. Postsecondary professionals may find it difficult to even begin to comprehend the steps necessary to build an America where economic mobility is accessible to all learners and workers—regardless of race, creed, income, or any other identifier—and where education meaningfully and equitably prepares learners for the world of work.
There are efforts underway across the work and learning ecosystem to make economic mobility more accessible and equitable nationwide: Community-based organizations are connecting students and workers to social services. Community colleges are testing new reforms, such as guided pathways, that radically reconfigure a student’s route to a credential. And employers are developing innovative training programs to help workers build new skills rapidly. But these efforts are often siloed—restricted to specific fields or undertaken as one-off initiatives. If we want to make a real impact, we have to work together.
If we want to make a real impact, we have to work together.
Insights From Experts
That’s why JFF created a new webinar series called “Better Together: Forging Partnerships for Equitable Economic Recovery,” in which experts and leaders from across the work and learning ecosystem will discuss how partnerships improve their programs and create better outcomes for learners and workers.
JFF has worked as a connector in the workforce and education fields for more than 35 years, and in “Better Together,” we’ll be drawing on our experience in those areas and the relationships we’ve built to publicize the efforts of individuals and organizations that are breaking down barriers and working across systems to effect change.
A Look at What’s Possible
Our January 26 debut episode, “Exploring Strategic Alignment Between Philanthropy and the Work and Learning Ecosystem,” offered an introductory look at what’s possible.
Marcia Ballinger, president of Lorraine County Community College in Ohio, recalled how she responded to a new state IT training initiative called TechCred by partnering with employers and launching 21 short-term technology credential programs, providing Lorraine County learners with on-ramps to technical jobs and career advancement opportunities.
Participants will walk away from the webinars with a new toolkit of strategies to jump-start equitable economic recoveries in their communities.
We also heard from Diane Walker, director of industry liaison and postsecondary partnerships for the Antelope Valley Union High School District in California, who discussed the district’s efforts to develop industry-driven career pathways in partnership with local employers while also offering homegrown human services in partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Social Services.
Both Walker and Ballinger pointed to a growing hunger in the field for opportunities to work with partners to bring about change. The moment is now.
“Better Together” will continue through April. We will hear about more targeted strategies in future episodes.
A New Toolkit of Strategies
Over the course of the series, we look forward to hearing all of the stories of partnership that the network will share, and we hope that participants will walk away from the webinars with a new toolkit of strategies to jump-start equitable economic recoveries in their communities.
By drawing on the knowledge of our greater Postsecondary Network, we can point to shining examples and continue to form a community that continually strives to work better together. Our current moment is calling for a reckoning and a truly equitable economic recovery. Join us as we learn how we can be better together.
Visit the Better Together page on our website to find a list of episodes, recordings, and resources, and to register for future episodes.