Fueling Workforce Development through Local Philanthropy

The Philanthropy Roundtable is America’s largest network of donors united by desire to protect philanthropic freedom, uphold donor intents and strengthen the free society through charitable giving. Recently, the organization held its Better Skills, Better Jobs conference in Dallas – bringing together philanthropic organizations to discuss the role of philanthropy in workforce development.

National Fund for Workforce Solutions President and CEO Fred Dedrick moderated a panel entitled Better Skills, Better Jobs: Philanthropic Strategies with Andrea Glispie of Pathways to Work; Michelle Thomas of JPMorgan Chase; and Wende Burton of the Communities Foundation of Texas. The group discussed a new model of workforce development and its potential to increase the impact of philanthropy.

Each panelist talked about the way their organizations have used philanthropic investments to improve job quality, raise employee satisfaction and address specific needs of the local workforce. The panel agreed that a successful workforce development model should focus on three key areas:

  • Partnership with industry
  • Connection to economic development
  • Reconsideration of the barriers of entry to the labor market

According to Dedrick, “…Foundations get together around the table and start comparing notes. And that collaboration changes the way they make investments locally.”

To learn more, watch the panel discussion here or read about it at the National Fund for Workforce Solutions’ website.

Philanthropic support is a critical for many workforce programs to help individuals find and keep work. Advocacy & Communication Solutions (ACS) works with both foundations and workforce entities to support policy change, develop advocacy and communication strategies, and build successful philanthropic platforms.

For example, with momentum behind Two Generational (2Gen) approaches and a focus on poverty reduction by the Detroit Mayor’s office, ACS helped Corporation for a Skilled Workforce (CSW) by researching and developing core and audience-specific messages and a strategy to advance 2Gen in Detroit.

ACS also created a plan and consistent messaging to help three Workforce Development Boards in North Carolina (Centralina, CharlotteWorks and Gaston County) leverage their board members as effective spokespersons to advance the boards as a go-to resource for the community.

Read more at the ACS website.

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