The field of workforce development helps job seekers enter and advance in the workforce, and it helps employers improve their hiring, training, and advancement practices. To optimize local workforce systems, practitioners must dismantle silos and create coherent systems and services that balance the needs of both workers and businesses. Can the workforce development field itself set an example as it strives for equitable economic mobility?
In the blog post “The Cobbler’s Children Have No Shoes: Why Workforce Professionals Need Their Own Good Jobs Strategy,” authors Dee Wallace and Sheila Maguire — senior fellows with the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program — refer to a pre-pandemic survey revealing that half of workforce professionals in New York City earned less than the city’s median wage, and half of those surveyed considered leaving their jobs within the year. That same study found that people of color made up 80% of the city’s workforce development staff, yet higher earners and organizational leaders were disproportionately white.
Let’s explore how the workforce development field can be more reflective of the change it seeks to cultivate. Join us this fall and winter in the “Workforce Leadership Café” for a series of conversations with leaders who are contributing their talents and insights to this rich field of practice. Guests include sponsors of local Workforce Leadership Academies and others who are exploring talent development and job quality in workforce development.