Workforce Development

Investing in Workforce Program Innovation

March 9, 2017  • Ranita Jain, Amanda Newman & Marcela Montes

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In local labor markets across the country, workforce organizations are striving to help unemployed and under-employed individuals prepare for, connect to, and advance in employment. To support this work, the Capital One Foundation established its Human Capital Innovation Fund (HCIF), which between 2012 and 2016 invested in building the capacity of five workforce organizations to pursue new strategies. These organizations are DC Central Kitchen in Washington, DC, the Greater New Orleans Foundation in New Orleans, LA, and Brooklyn Workforce Innovations, The Door, and JobsFirstNYC in New York, NY.

In this report, Investing in Workforce Program Innovation: A Formative Evaluation of Five Workforce Organizations’ Experiences during the Human Capital Innovation Fund Initiative, we describe the five organizations’ experiences planning, implementing, and adapting new strategies. Investing in Workforce Program Innovation offers insights into the complex work of developing and maintaining relationships that cross institutions. We discuss factors grantees considered when identifying partner organizations, the approaches they used to find common ground and work effectively together, and the ways in which partnerships evolved and deepened over time. We describe how organizations cultivated long-term relationships with employers to not only inform workforce program design and promote job placement, but also to engage employers to reflect upon their hiring and employment practices. Finally, we discuss the ways in which HCIF-supported organizations tailored comprehensive and ongoing supports to the unique needs of their participants to help them succeed in and beyond training programs.

We invite all those interested in approaches to enhance workforce development programs to download Investing in Workforce Program Innovation.

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