Workforce Leadership Academies

The workforce development field requires strong, committed, and capable leaders from a range of institutions, including community and economic development organizations, employer associations, community-based organizations, public agencies, community colleges, industry intermediaries, and labor unions. Additionally, the field needs leaders who are not only able to lead their own organizations, but who also can work collaboratively to build effective workforce systems. The Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program is partnering with local, regional, and national organizations to establish Workforce Leadership Academies. These academies will grow a network of such leaders in cities across the country who will strengthen, invent, drive, and sustain workforce strategies and collaborate more effectively to better serve workers’ and businesses’ needs.

Built on the national Sector Skills Academy, EOP’s Workforce Leadership Academies bring together leaders that offer perspectives from the key institutions, agencies, and organizations involved in workforce development in their home cities and regions. Participants are selected in a competitive application process and generally are senior-level managers who are well-positioned to work collaboratively with others in the field of workforce development.

In the Workforce Leadership Academies, participants have the rare opportunity to reflect on and strategize about applying the principles that underlie effective workforce strategies to their local economic and social context with colleagues from across the field. Participants also work with leading practitioners from around the country and are introduced to practical planning tools. Over six to 12 months, they attend a series of retreats and workshops with content customized to the needs and interests of each cohort. Participants apply their learnings to their own organizational strategy. They also conduct local and national research and develop a series of recommendations to address an important local or regional issue. At the end of the academies, key stakeholders, including public officials and funders, are invited to hear presentations and engage in a dialogue with fellows about proposed solutions.

Participants in the Workforce Leadership Academies are a part of the Economic Opportunity Fellows Network. The Economic Opportunity Fellows Network, run by the Economic Opportunities Program, includes Fellows in a variety of peer-learning networks and leadership development programs that cover topics such as community and economic development, financial technology, microenterprise development, and more.

In cities across the continent, local leaders are working to strengthen, invent, & sustain new paths to economic opportunity.