Engaging Workforce Development: A Framework for Meeting Community Reinvestment Act Obligations


“Dallas Fed research shows that levels of educational attainment are highly correlat-ed with employment rates and income levels. Unfortunately, educational attainment levels in Texas are lagging, particularly for the fastest-growing demographic groups— blacks and Hispanics. It’s not just about who is left behind; it’s about leaving the economy behind. Texas high school graduates earn 33 percent more, on average, than those who don’t finish high school. College graduates earn 90 percent more than those who only have a high school diploma. Workforce development strategies are essential to increase the employability, productivity and spending power of Texans.”

~Robert S. Kaplan, president and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

“In order to support the long-term prospects of the U.S. economy, it’s critical that policymakers understand the challenges within labor markets. In addition to the Federal Reserve’s policy tools, the regional Reserve Banks can provide information and other resources, such as this guide.”

~Esther George, president and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City


The workforce development system trains, educates and provides social services to working-age individuals to enable them to succeed in the labor force and, at the same time, meet employers’ demand for quality talent. Banks can play an important role in workforce development. This publication is designed to give banks, and organizations interested in partnering with them, tools and information to engage in workforce development activities in ways that may help them fulfill their obligations under the Community Reinvestment Act.


Table of Contents

Part One

About Workforce Development

Part Two

How a Bank’s Engagement in Workforce Development Can Fit CRA Criteria

Part Three

Case Studies of Partnerships Between Banks and Workforce Development Entities

Part Four

A Template for Banks to Tell Their Workforce Development and the CRA Story

Part Five

Conclusion 28

Part Six

Appendix 1: Community Reinvestment Act Resources

Appendix 2: Informational Resources

Appendix 3: Experts in Workforce Development

The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Federal Reserve System. The information presented in this publication is intended for informational use and is not legal advice.
Note: In this publication,“bank” refers to financial institutions that are subject to the CRA and “assessment area” refers to assessment areas or broader statewide or regional areas that include the assessment areas. For details, refer to the CRA regulation.1


Part One: About Workforce Development

The workforce development system trains, educates and provides social services to working-age individuals to enable them to succeed in the labor force and, at the same time, meet employers’ demand for quality talent. The primary role of this system is to function as an intermediary ensuring that employers, trainers, service providers and participants work together to meet their individual and collective goals.

Banks can play an important role in workforce development. Some invest in core activities such as training, education and social services that directly connect workers to jobs. Others provide broader workforce development functions, including small-business development, financial education and ac-cess to financial products and services that build or maintain assets.

By engaging in workforce development, banks can expand on their activities to reach a broader set of stakeholders, develop deeper and more durable, mutually beneficial relationships, and contribute to wider organizational and community goals. In addition, banks may find new avenues of involvement in their markets that leverage their core strengths as financial institutions and as employers.

Workforce development is important to the Federal Reserve System. All 12 Federal Reserve Banks have a community development ofice with the common mission of promoting community and eco-nomic development—including workforce development—and fair and impartial access to credit. The Federal Reserve Banks of Dallas and Kansas City and other Reserve Banks support workforce devel-opment by conducting research, writing publications, designing and hosting events and convening stakeholders.2 This publication is designed to give banks, and organizations interested in partnering with them, information and tools to engage in workforce development activities in ways that may help fulfill their obligations under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).

The CRA was enacted in 1977 to ensure that banks meet the credit needs of all segments of their community(ies), including low- and moderate-income (LMI) neighborhoods and individuals. Recent guidance on the CRA clarified that “economic development initiatives include provisions for creating or improving access by low- or moderate-income persons to jobs or to job training or workforce development programs.”3

The Workforce Development System

The U.S. workforce development system consists of a patchwork of mostly federally funded em-ployment and training providers as well as public, non-profit and for-profit educational and training programs that may provide related social support services. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is the primary federal legislation that governs workforce development policy (see Box 1).

The following sections present an overview of the key actors in workforce development, such as workforce development boards (WDB), and some of the major strategies employed. The goal is to provide a general typology of the basic building blocks of the workforce development system. Al-though there are regional and local variations, workforce development entities can mix and match building blocks to design initiatives to meet specific labor market needs.


Box 1

About the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

Enacted in 2014 with bipartisan support, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) was the first legislative reform of the public workforce system in 15 years. Below are key opportunities presented by WIOA implementation, followed by the potential benefits for banks.

  1. State-level and regional planning: WIOA requires individual states to develop a strategic and operational plan for the state’s workforce initiatives. Local workforce development boards (WDB) outline how they support this plan by creating strategic and operational plans for their respective regions. Banks can use these plans to help determine which strategies, partnerships, initiatives and programs align with their own priorities. The plans may also be useful in establishing the performance context for a Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) strategy. In fact, a bank is encouraged to help tell the story to its regulator about its CRA performance, and this is often done through the performance context. Plans are publicly available on the WDB’s website and are available upon request.
  2. Disadvantaged-population focus:WIOA emphasizes serving disadvantaged populations and others with barriers to employment, such as those who have been unemployed over the long term (typically defined as over 26 weeks), ex-offenders, older workers, out-of-school youth and low- and moderate-income individuals.
  3. Partnership and relationship building:WIOA requires workforce boards to strengthen and expand partnerships with organizations that impact workforce development goals. WDBs are required to draw the majority of their board members from the private sector. This emphasis provides banks a framework for connecting with the broader workforce agenda while remaining focused on their core strengths and interests. In addition, it provides banks with greater access to potential partners for other CRA-eligible projects in their target communities.
  4. Data and performance metrics: Data collection and reporting are essential to unified planning, program implementation and partnership development. This data can help banks establish their CRA performance context, develop strate-gies and guide program implementation as well as prepare for examinations and document CRA activities.
  5. Innovation: The overall growth of participants and programs envisioned through the im-plementation of WIOA and the changes it requires provide a setting for new practices to be tested and scaled. Banks have an opportunity to identify and shape creative solutions by working directly with workforce development entities and aligning their other CRA initiatives with regional and statewide workforce development goals.

There is no single right approach, structure or program. For example, several of these entities may col-laborate on a project or program that targets a specific population, such as veterans or opportunity youth (youth and young adults disconnected from education and employment). In addition, these entities can use two or more strategies at a time, such as sector strategies and career pathways, to make their efforts more impactful.

Workforce Development Entities

Workforce development boards are integral to the workforce system. Every state has a WDB that develops and oversees the state’s overall workforce plan.4 This plan sets the vision, goals, metrics and strategies for the state. These boards also review statewide policies, certify local workforce development boards and coordinate initiatives with other workforce development partners.

Every state is divided into local regions, sometimes defined by counties, population or unique char-acteristics, that are overseen by a local board. The local boards play an important role in the analysis of regional labor market conditions, development of policies for the use of WIOA-related programming and funding, and oversight of program implementation within their areas. The state and regional work-force plans are publicly available on each WDB website and upon request.5

Each local board manages at least one comprehensive workforce center, or one-stop center, that provides a physical location for WIOA-mandated services. These centers are a primary program-delivery channel for workforce services to job seekers, workers and employers.

WDBs play an important role in networking with, and organizing collaborations between, the many stakeholders involved in workforce development initiatives, programs and projects. These stake-holders span the public, nonprofit and private sectors (see Box 2). For example, many nonprofit orga-nizations may provide workforce development programs and services, and a WDB can assist in coordi-nating and leveraging activities across a region. In addition, a WDB may contract with an organization to provide required services such as career-readiness and skills assessments, individual counseling and career planning to eligible clients.

Box 2

Entities in the Workforce Development System

Participants in the workforce development system range from state workforce development boards to educational institutions to business groups. The definitions that follow are from a workforce development vantage point, highlighting each entity’s primary function within the system, and are not comprehensive.

  • State workforce development board: Provide guidance, oversight and support for state workforce policies
  • Local workforce development board: Lead, coordinate, implement and evaluate workforce initiatives to meet regional labor market needs
  • Community or technical college: Provide training and education to prepare students for employment
  • University: Provide education and research to support regional economic development
  • K–12 school: Provide foundational skills and knowledge, exposure to career opportunities and infrastructure for workforce programs targeting in-school and out-of-school youth
  • Chamber of commerce: Identify and represent the workforce needs of businesses
  • Business, business association or industry group: To help ensure that the local talent pipeline meets business needs, provide data on hiring needs to educators regarding the skills, knowledge and credentials required for jobs, and training and employment opportunities
  • Social service agency: Provide a wide range of support to individuals (e.g., transportation, child care, health care, English as a Second Language (ESL) and adult basic education (ABE)) as they obtain or maintain employment
  • Community-based organization: Provide training, job placement services and support services that connect to workforce development initiatives (e.g., food banks can provide food scholarships)
  • Labor group: Represent and support the development of trained, skilled workers
  • Officials/administration of city, county, state and federal agency: Coordinate public resources to fulfill agency commitments toward workforce development goals
  • Philanthropic entity: Provide financial and other support to pilot and scale workforce initiatives
  • Other community partner: Connect mission and program activities to workforce development initiatives
Note: This information is also in “Regional Talent Pipelines: Collaborating with Industry to Build Opportu-nities in Texas,” by Elizabeth Sobel Blum and Garrett C. Groves, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and Center for Public Policy Priorities’ report, December 2016.

Workforce Development Strategies

Workforce development consists of a range of strategies to develop talent and skills, connect employers and workers, and facilitate career mobility. This section outlines many of the most widely used strategies. Some of them are well-researched and have evidence of positive long-term outcomes (e.g., sector strategies), while others are new and innovative (e.g., two-generation strategies). Some strategies have a relatively narrow focus (e.g., basic skills improvement or work-based training), while others have a broader and more comprehensive focus (e.g., career pathways that include basic skills improvement and work-based training). Oftentimes, robust programs integrate multiple strategies to meet their specific goals.

  • Sector strategies: This tested regional approach to workforce and economic development focuses resources on the needs of a defined industry that is a significant driver in the local economy. Sector strategies are based on partnerships among multiple stakeholders, such as businesses, labor, educational institutions and service providers. They address immediate skill shortages and develop a talent pipeline for future needs. As a result, sector strategies “promote industry growth and competitiveness and improve worker training, retention and advancement by developing cross-firm skill standards, career pathways, job redefinitions and shared training and support capacities that facilitate the advancement of workers at all skill levels.”6
  • Career pathways: This strategy organizes education, training, career counseling and support services to assist workers in gaining the skills they need to advance in defined industries. Definitions vary, but the main elements of career pathways are stackable credentials, easy entrance and exit points, and support services that increase students’ likelihood of success.7 Career pathways requires collaboration between employers and education and training providers. Employers define skill needs, and education and training providers develop programs that teach students these skills. Career pathways can be embedded in broader sector strategies.8
  • Job-quality strategies: Initiatives are emerging to improve the employment outcomes of lower-wage workers.9 While they take slightly different approaches under titles such as “Raise the Floor” and “high-road employers,”10 they recognize that skill development is important but not sufficient to secure economic security. Other ingredients include job design, supervisor training, appropriate benefits and incentives, work scheduling and access to supportive services such as transportation and child care. Taken as a whole, these ingredients provide a more stable work environment for employees as well as direct economic benefits to the employer. “Raise the Floor” strategies are often implemented within the context of sector partnerships as well as with individual businesses.
  • Basic-skills improvement: Basic skills, sometimes referred to as employability or soft skills, refer to the social and life skills needed to perform as an employee. Employers routinely identify poor employability skills as a major barrier for both new hires and incumbent workers advancing in their jobs. These skills are often addressed through training components in technical programs or as stand-alone services. Several frameworks address basic-skills improvement. These include the U.S. Department of Labor’s Industry Competency Model11 and the U.S. Department of Education’s Employability Skills Framework.12
  • Supportive services: These services help an individual participate in job training and employment. Examples include transportation, childcare, dependent care and housing, depending on the individual’s needs. Under WIOA, workforce development boards can provide supportive services and need-based payments to assist participants while they are receiving employment and training services. Such aid provides a significant connection between workforce development and the broader human services sector.
  • Work-based training: Training approaches for employed workers are receiving increased attention, including apprenticeships, work-based learning, on-the-job training and internships. These options give workers the opportunity to gain skills and competencies related to their current em-ployment and relevant advancement opportunities while receiving income and benefits. WIOA emphasizes these approaches, especially for adults and youth with barriers to employment.
  • Two-generation strategies: These strategies address the needs of both parent and child, with the goal of breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty. Traditionally, education, workforce development and social services have been provided to a specific target group such as low-income children, unemployed adults or disconnected youth. A two-generation strategy works with families to reinforce and leverage individual success in education and employment and to increase overall economic security and mobility. The combination of services leads to improved outcomes for the family as a whole.13


  • Self-employment: This is a viable option for many trying to enter the workforce. For some, self-employment will result from a drive to create a new business or bring to market a unique product or service. For others, it can overcome specific barriers to traditional employment, such as past felony convictions or age. WIOA supports entrepreneurial training toward the goal of self-employment and related services for youth, adults and disadvantaged populations. While this strategy is not widely used, there is potential to expand it by strengthening connections with small-business support programs.

Bringing Workforce Development Entities and Strategies Together

These descriptions of selected actors and strategies provide an overview of the basic components of workforce development systems. How these components are selected, arranged and used can affect a program’s effectiveness.

The career pathways strategy, for example, is usually more effective when embedded within a sector strategy with strong employer participation. This helps ensure that the training is relevant, the skills are in demand and connections are made with specific job opportunities. Supportive services may strengthen the program by ensuring that participants are able to manage life situations, focus on the training and complete the program. An appropriate workforce intermediary can ensure that the different actors (e.g., employers, trainers, service providers and participants) work together to meet their individual and collective goals.14

There are many ways these components can come together as a system. Deciding how to engage in workforce development can be an iterative process. For example, a bank can first decide which demographic, issue (e.g., childcare or public transportation to and from work) and/or occupation to focus on. Then the bank can find an intermediary, such as a workforce development board, to connect it to education, training and social services providers that target this demographic. Next, it can work with these workforce development entities to help determine which strategy or strategies to use. Conversely, banks should make themselves available to local or regional partners that solicit their expertise. While innovation is rewarded under the CRA, the general parameters focus on banks’ ability and willingness to be responsive to community needs.

Part Two: How a Bank’s Engagement in Workforce Development Can Fit CRA Criteria

There are many opportunities for banks to engage in workforce development (see Box 3). When considering how to begin or expand such engagement, a bank can interview workforce development entities to determine which initiative, program or project’s goals and objectives most closely align with the bank’s own interests and priorities.

Box 3

How Banks Can Engage in Workforce Development

Below are examples of how banks can get involved in workforce development. For these activities to receive CRA consideration, they must meet the regulation’s definition of community development, which includes economic development. This list is not comprehensive; rather, it provides a starting point for identifying opportunities and actions.

  • Provide a loan to a community development financial institution (CDFI), community development corporation (CDC) or other community-based organization involved in workforce development. Examples of loans:
    • Loans to workforce development programs to support infrastructure development
    • Working capital loans to businesses that are expanding their workforce within a sector strategy
  • Provide financial support through an investment, equity equivalent investment or grant to a community-based organization associated with workforce development. Provide learn-and-earn opportunities through:
    •  Internships
    • Apprenticeships
    • Summer employment opportunities for youth
    • College work-study positions outside of the college
    • Job-shadowing opportunities
    • Transitional jobs programs (subsidized temporary jobs designed to teach workplace skills and provide work experience)
  • Serve on the board of a workforce development entity; volunteer for a committee that uses a bank employee’s professional skills, such as a finance professional serving on a finance committee, or a lawyer providing legal expertise to the entity.
  • Serve as the depository institution for a youth employment program.
  • Provide space for meetings or other administrative support.
  • Participate in student/trainee job preparation by:
    • Mentoring on careers in the banking industry
    • Conducting mock interviews
    • Helping with resume writing
    • Providing financial education and opportunities to build and/or repair credit

Benefits of Partnering with Workforce Development Entities

By participating in workforce development, banks can:

  • Partner with workforce development entities to:
    • Help improve the talent pipeline for their bank and the financial sector more generally
    • Identify new opportunities for their community development work
    • Provide expertise, knowledge and leadership to the workforce system, which could also strengthen a bank’s social capital and reputation in its markets
    • Improve the financial stability of low- and moderate-income (LMI) individuals by increasing their access to full-time job opportunities
  • Expand their marketing and outreach by offering financial services, education and training (as a tenant or through planned events) at a local comprehensive workforce center.
  • Provide value to existing and potential business customers by demonstrating their understanding of the importance of workforce needs.
  • Align their educational outreach with the regional workforce system’s strategies and programs to improve their effectiveness in providing financial education and services to students.

About the Community Reinvestment Act

In 1977, the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) was enacted to ensure that banks help meet the credit needs of all segments of the communities that they were chartered to serve, including LMI neighborhoods.

The CRA requires the regulators to evaluate the performance of the banks they supervise in helping to meet those credit needs, assign one of four statutory ratings to that performance, and make the rating and underlying evaluation public.15 The implementing regulation provides several evaluation methods for banks of different sizes (small, intermediate small and large) and business strategies.16 The regulations also define the area in which this evaluation is conducted (the “assessment area”) and identify the type of information about the community and institutional circumstances that inform the evaluation (the “performance context”).

In order for a loan, investment or service to be considered as community development activity for CRA consideration, it must provide one or more of the following:

  • Affordable housing for LMI individuals
  • Community services targeting LMI individuals
  • Economic development
  • Activities that revitalize or stabilize LMI geographies, designated disaster areas, and distressed or underserved nonmetropolitan middle-income geographies

The July 2016 Interagency CRA Question and Answer guidance provides further clarification of economic development activities that qualify for CRA consideration. The guidance states that “[f]ederal, state, local, or tribal economic development initiatives include provisions for creating or improving access by low- or moderate-income persons to jobs or to job training or workforce development programs” as well as access to supportive services such as day care operations.17

Every bank, regardless of asset size, is required to maintain a CRA public file and make the file available at any branch upon request. The public file includes information on the bank’s assessment area(s),18 branches, products and services, along with a copy of the bank’s most recent performance evaluation. This information can be useful to workforce organizations to identify banks in their areas that may be interested in partnerships based on their current plans and programs.

In many ways, banks depend on strong partnerships with community organizations to meet their CRA obligations. Input from community organizations helps banks gather information about the community development needs in their communities and promising responses. This input also plays an important role in the examination process by providing context for evaluating a bank’s activities.

Workforce Development and CRA Programming

The workforce development system offers resources and opportunities to strengthen a bank’s CRA strategy and programs. This section provides a framework for identifying where banks and workforce development programs could benefit from forming partnerships.

  1. Assessment areas and performance context: The workforce system provides several key planning documents that would be helpful to a bank’s understanding of the credit needs and community conditions in its assessment areas; i.e., its performance context and CRA strategy.19 Because each state is required to develop a strategic and operational plan that directs workforce development programming in the state, the information in these plans is a valuable source of information concerning labor market data, regional economic development areas, key industries, potential partner organizations and the use of funding sources. Local workforce development boards may have more specific plans and data that provide additional detail.
  2. Actors and partners: A bank can follow the hierarchy of the state plan to identify relevant workforce development actors in its area. States vary regarding where the state WDB and workforce programs are housed within government.20 Key initial contacts include:
    1. State level:
      1. Head of the state workforce development board
      2. Staff from state government agencies that support the state workforce development board
      3. Staff at the local municipality, chambers of commerce and economic development entities involved in workforce development
    2. Assessment area:
      1. Local workforce development board director
      2. Workforce development staff at the local municipality, chambers of commerce and economic development entities
      3. President and workforce development staff at local community and technical colleges
      4. Staff of community and economic development entities with whom the bank has a relationship through current CRA programming

State and local workforce development board contacts can be identified by visiting the National Association of Workforce Board’s Workforce Investment Works page at www.workforceinvestmentworks.com.

3. Existing programs and opportunities: Banks can conduct informational interviews with key contacts to gain an understanding of issues being addressed. The workforce development system is complex; this initial understanding will evolve and expand. The following three sequential steps will help a bank identify workforce programs that may fit within its CRA strategies and programs:

a. Bank interests: Clearly identify the bank’s current interests in workforce development programming based on the informational interviews and plan reviews. How could workforce programming assist the bank in meeting its CRA objectives, business development goals and organizational development needs?

b. Ongoing programs: Establish a baseline of ongoing programs by identifying and describing those that are in the assessment area. What types of strategies/approaches/models (as described in Part One of this publication) are represented? Which client groups are being served, and which needs are being addressed?

c. Gaps: A bank’s gap analysis can look at two issues: gaps in programming to meet a community’s workforce needs, and gaps within the bank’s portfolio of programs that contribute to meeting the bank’s internal goals. What types of workforce needs haven’t been met in the assessment area? What strategies haven’t been employed? How do the workforce development programs relate to the current programs supported through the bank’s existing CRA programming portfolio? What role could the bank play in addressing the gaps? How would that contribute to the bank’s internal goals?

4. Workforce program assessment: The review of existing programs and gaps provides direction in performing more in-depth assessments of potential opportunities. For example, the bank can research promising practices by other funders and banks in markets facing similar workforce issues. Additionally, the bank can assess specific programs much as it would in other program areas, such as affordable housing. The review should focus on the management, plans, capacity and metrics of workforce programs that have potential to add value to the bank’s CRA goals and strategies.


When a bank would like to earn CRA consideration for a workforce development activity, it must determine if the program qualifies as a community development activity. The Dallas Fed’s Community Development Decision Flow Chart helps identify circumstances that would qualify or disqualify an activity as CRA-creditworthy (see Chart 1).

Chart 1

Community Development Decision Flow Chart


Note: The process assumes that the activity benefits the assessment area or a broader statewide or regional area that includes the assessment area. ISB refers to intermediate small bank.

Source: Community Development Decision Flow Chart, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, March 2014, https://www.dallasfed.org/~/ media/microsites/cd/epersp/2007/4_3.aspx

Identifying More Detailed Information

The Federal Reserve System provides in-depth information about the CRA and how to meet its requirements. For example, the Kansas City Fed’s CRA OneSource21 web portal makes many of these resources easily accessible. In addition, Appendix 1 of this report provides a list of com-mon questions about CRA and where to find detailed answers.


Once a bank has acquired an understanding of the needs of its assessment area(s) and defined the workforce development goals that fit within the CRA’s requirements, it can start to identify potential partnerships. Appendix 2 provides resources from prominent workforce development organizations. Appendix 3 of this publication lists experts in workforce development and provides a synopsis of each entity’s activities, in its own words, and a checklist of how it is involved in workforce development. To help narrow its list of partnership opportunities, a bank can ask the series of detailed questions listed in Box 4. Answers to these questions can help a bank build a profile of each (potential) partner.

Box 4

Identifying Opportunities: Questions to Ask Workforce Development Entities

The following is a list of questions that a bank should ask workforce development entities when considering a partnership with them. Answers to these questions will be useful when telling its CRA story to its examiners and community.

1. What is the program/initiative/partnership’s target clientele? Some examples:

• Opportunity youth (youth and young adults disconnected from education and employment)

• Formerly incarcerated individuals

• Veteran populations

• Individuals with disabilities

• Low- and moderate-income populations

• Populations with low educational attainment

• Industry or business groups (e.g., banking, information technology, health care, manufacturing, construction)

2. What is the goal/objective of this program/initiative/partnership? For example, is the goal to:

• Increase availability of learn-and-earn opportunities? Some examples:

— Internships

— Apprenticeships

— Summer employment opportunities for youth

— College work-study positions outside of the college

— Job shadowing opportunities

— Transitional jobs programs (subsidized temporary jobs designed to teach workplace skills and provide work experience)

• Increase availability of technology or equipment needed in instructional settings for specific occupations?


• Increase availability of support services to help individuals in targeted education or training programs (e.g., transportation, child care, job search, career counseling, financial counseling or coaching, academic tutoring outside of oficial class instruc-tion and individual mentoring)?

• Increase/verify the skills, knowledge, competencies or work functions employers require for certain occupations for use in an educational or job training programs?

• Increase the number of local middle-skill/middle-wage jobs?

• Revitalize or strengthen the economic development of a local community?

3. What industries/occupations are targeted by the program/initiative/partnership?

4. What are the program/initiative/partnership’s biggest successes?

5. What are the program/initiative/partnership’s biggest challenges?

6. What organizations/entities is the bank partnering with? Some examples:

• State workforce development board

• Local workforce development board

• Community or technical college

• University

• K–12 school

• Chamber of commerce

• Business, business association or industry group

• Social service agency

• Community-based organization

• Labor group

• Oficials/administration of city, county, state and federal agencies

• Philanthropic entity

• Other community partner

7. What are the roles/responsibilities of each partner organization?

8. What are the strategies, approaches and models used? Some common strategies:

• Sector strategies or industry partnerships

• Career pathways

• Job-quality strategies

• Basic skills improvement

• Supportive services

• Work-based training

• Two-generation strategies

• Self-employment


9. What does this program/initiative/partnership need to significantly increase its impact, scalability and sustainability?

10.How is each partner addressing financial gaps or sustainability needs?

11.How could the bank be most helpful to the program/initiative (e.g., giving grants, sitting on the board, mentoring, conducting mock interviews, providing financial education, etc.)?


Part Three: Case Studies of Partnerships Between Banks and Workforce Development Entities

This section presents case studies of ways that banks are engaged in workforce development. The information comes from the organizations themselves. Each organization addressed the same set of questions, and highlights of their responses are shown. These case studies represent potential opportunities and types of partners that banks can consider as they develop their programs. The Federal Reserve does not endorse these organizations or afirm that banks’ engagement with them all qualify for CRA consideration.

CAP Tulsa

About CAP Tulsa

CAP Tulsa’s mission is to help low-income families with young children achieve economic self-suficiency. It is a community action agency recognized nationally for developing two-generation strategies to break the cycle of poverty. An example of this two-generation programming is CareerAdvance, a parent-centered work-readiness program that offers training and job placement in high-demand health care occupations to parents of young children. Certifications offered include Certified Nursing Assistant, Patient Care Technician, Licensed Practical Nurse, Phlebotomy Tech-nician, Pharmacy Technician, Medical Assistant and Dental Assistant, all of which have an average starting wage of $10 to $15 per hour.

CareerAdvance provides tuition assistance, financial coaching, peer networking opportunities and other support that is not typically seen in adult work-readiness programs. In addition, its business-development team works with local health care employers to understand their needs and to connect participants with job opportunities.


In addition to connecting participants to training and certification in high-demand jobs, CareerAdvance also aims to educate the community, training providers and employers on how to better meet the needs of low-income parents with young children.


CAP Tulsa partners with many local and national organizations to make CareerAdvance successful.

  • Service delivery: Tulsa Community WorkAdvance and Family and Children’s Services
  • Education and training providers: Tulsa Community College and Tulsa Technology Center
  • Research and program designers: Northwestern University’s Institute for Policy Research, the University of Texas at Austin’s Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources, and others
  • Health care employers: St. Francis Health System, Hillcrest Medical Center, St. Simeon’s Senior Community and other local care providers
  • Community organizations: WorkForce Tulsa, area school districts, Tulsa Housing Authority, Goodwill Industries and others that act as referral sources to the program


Bank Partners’ Involvement

CareerAdvance is supported by banks through grants and volunteerism. Bank employees serve as CAP Tulsa board president, vice president and board member. The organization’s bank partners include global and local financial institutions, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka (JOBS program) and a bank foundation.

A local bank submitted a proposal to the Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka’s JOBS program for support of CareerAdvance in March 2015, from which CAP Tulsa received $25,000 to support staff salaries.

CAP Tulsa has also recently received awards from a bank foundation for $10,000 and a global financial institution for $20,000 to support participant incentives, child care and other expenses.

Biggest Successes

CAP Tulsa has helped over 160 parents begin careers in the ever-growing health care sector. Giving families the opportunity to transition from living off of an insuficient income and public support to earning a self-sustaining wage is the biggest success of the program.22

Biggest Challenges

Time is the biggest challenge for programs like CareerAdvance. Training must be short and pr-vide small successes to show participants that they are making progress, but it also needs to be long enough to ensure participants are adequately prepared for in-demand jobs.

Impact, Scalability and Sustainability

Financial support allowing agencies to implement innovative approaches is vital to increasing the impact and scale of programs like CareerAdvance. Funds to assist with child care and tuition and to offset the loss of wages while in training would be paramount to the success of any replication of CareerAdvance.

Mi Casa

About Mi Casa

Founded in 1976, Denver, Colorado-based Mi Casa serves 18- to 55-year-olds in low-income households whose goal is to obtain middle-skill jobs that offer a career pathway with upward mobility. Eighty-eight percent of Mi Casa’s clients live in households with an income of 30 percent to 50 percent of the area median income of Denver County. Eighty percent of its career program partici-pants are from the city or county of Denver. Other clients are from Jefferson, Douglas, Arapahoe or Adams counties.


Mi Casa offers job-training programs, one-to-one coaching on resume writing, cover letter preparation, negotiation skills, career assessment and bilingual business development services. It also has middle- and high school-based neighborhood centers that offer youth development programs.


For its clients seeking extensive training, Mi Casa provides:

• Four to six weeks of technical- and soft-skills classroom training (including certifications and industry-recognized credentials),

• Customized job-search support and job-placement services in growth sectors (financial services, retail, hospitality and health care), and

• Support services that promote job retention and stability.

Partner Organizations

Mi Casa has a number of banking partners representing community, regional, national and global financial institutions. It also partners with credit unions and nonbank financial services providers. Mi Casa emphasizes that its success is largely dependent on its community partnerships, such as those with:

• mPowered (financial coaching, credit counseling and financial literacy)

• Colorado Lawyers Committee and the Denver Bar Association (free legal counsel and Monthly Legal Night)

• Denver Asset Building Coalition (on-site tax preparation workshops and tax education classes)

• Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning (English as a second language classes)

• Community College of Denver (high school equivalency instruction)

• Dress for Success (career-readiness workshops and donations of interview clothes)

Over 130 employer partners support Mi Casa by providing guest speakers, leading tours, networking, holding interview days, and serving on its Employer Advisory Councils. These councils are composed of representatives from diverse area employers and organized by industry (e.g., financial services or health care) or role (e.g., customer service representatives). According to Mi Casa, members of Advisory Councils play a vital role in shaping Mi Casa’s Career Development Training programs by advising staff on talent needs, hiring practices, training needs and industry trends.

Biggest Challenges

Many of the individuals currently seeking employment in Denver need Mi Casa’s support to overcome tremendous personal barriers to first secure a job and then retain it. Common barriers to employment for participants include transportation challenges, limited options for affordable child care, food insecurity, criminal backgrounds and mental health challenges.

Impact, Scalability and Sustainability

Mi Casa cites patient, flexible, long-term investment as its greatest need because its mission to help low-income individuals achieve greater economic security does adhere to one-year budget cycles, nor does it follow a linear process. To achieve deeper impact, the individuals that Mi Casa serves need the organization to meet them where they are today, provide multiple supports and continue to provide support over time.

Mi Casa identifies funding support as the most helpful contribution banks can make to its programs. Its clients would also benefit from hearing guest speakers, networking with employers, job shadowing, coaching on resumes and cover letters, and practice interviewing for current and future job openings.


Per Scholas

About Per Scholas

Nonprofit Per Scholas offers full-time, tuition-free information technology training to individuals who are unemployed or in low-wage jobs. It operates in six locations: Atlanta, Cincinnati, Columbus (Ohio), Dallas, New York and the national capital region (Washington, D.C., Mary-land and Virginia).

Per Scholas’ approach is employer-driven. It works directly with employer partners to assess their talent needs and hiring challenges for entry- to mid-level information technology (IT) jobs and then designs its training in response to these needs. At the same time, its coaches and volunteers guide students on job-search strategies, resume writing, interview preparation and career development and “soft skills”: communication, conflict resolution, agility, adaptability and emo-tional intelligence.

To help ensure its students’ success, Per Scholas and its community partners provide them with support services such as financial management, behavioral health support and child care. Graduates can continue to obtain career coaching and tuition-free education for up to two years after completion.

Biggest Successes and Challenges

To date, Per Scholas has trained over 5,900 individuals, and 85 percent of them have graduated from its program. Eighty-five percent of graduates earn at least one professional IT certification, and over 80 percent work in IT. In 2014 and 2015, the average initial wage of graduates was $16.12 per hour. Per Scholas says its biggest challenge is ensuring women’s enrollment. It is currently working with a number of community partners to increase the number of women it serves to achieve a gender parity goal of 50 percent by 2018.


Within six months of launching, Per Scholas sites develop a regional advisory board of employers, social service providers and other stakeholders. One of the board’s roles is to help ensure that the IT curriculum covers skills and knowledge that are in high demand in the regional job market. Whether or not employer partners serve on the board, they offer internships and provide volunteers to serve as guest lecturers, panelists and mentors. They also offer support services to participants and refer their clients to Per Scholas.

A number of banks partner with Per Scholas. For example, a global financial institution invested over $800,000 to expand Per Scholas’ reach to Brooklyn, New York. This expansion will enable Per Scholas to serve an additional 140 New Yorkers annually and train them on cybersecurity — a high-demand role in information technology. Per Scholas also partners with a national bank in the National Capital Region that is helping Per Scholas design cybersecurity training curricula (e.g., agile,23 data analytics, virtualization and cloud computing) so that students will be qualified to work in a securities operations center.24

The financial contributions of Per Scholas’ bank partners since 2014 range widely: up to $5,000, $55,000, $100,000 to $341,000, and $1.4 million.


Impact, Scalability and Sustainability

Per Scholas cites a number of ways that banks and its other partners can help it increase its im-pact, scalability and sustainability. Below are a few examples:

• Opportunities with Per Scholas Students and Graduates

— Mentoring in-person or online (e.g., review resumes, conduct mock interviews or guest speak in classes or at “lunch and learns” on career development)

— Host corporate field trips and/or on-site workshops

— Hire its graduates to fill the best entry-level to mid-level IT jobs

• Advisory/Mentorship Opportunities

— Help develop and refresh training curricula

— Serve on a local or national advisory board to:

• Recruit new local advisory board members

• Help develop plans and strategies for growth and impact through educational and corporate partnerships, and staff and fund development

• Leadership Opportunities

— Spread the word about Per Scholas’ work and opportunities to support it

— Help Per Scholas build successful relationships with local executives to meet the following goals:

– Expand and sustain employer partnerships

– Engage its students and graduates in local organizations and industry

– Develop philanthropic support through personal contributions and introductions to private donors, foundations and corporate philanthropies


About Skill QUEST

This nonprofit’s mission is to lift workers out of poverty and into living-wage careers. It is an outgrowth of the community organizing efforts of Dallas Area Interfaith, a network of more than 30 faith-based institutions and community organizations. Skill QUEST’s clients enter its program making an income of less than $10,000 per year. While they are enrolled in an associate degree program, Skill QUEST monitors their academic attendance and performance and supports their career read-iness by connecting them to support services. Once they graduate, it monitors their job satisfaction and performance.

Skill QUEST serves its clients for up to 36 months. The following is a list of services the organi-zation makes available to them.

• Help with child care, housing, utilities and transportation

• Counseling (e.g., to address a personal crisis)

• Immunizations


• Fitness training (one counselor is a Marine)

• Financial education (e.g., budgeting)

• Soft skills and life-skills training (including time management)

• Tutoring and exam preparation

• Leads to job prospects

• Help with writing resumes and interviewing

• Career counseling for job upgrades and veterans’ reentry

• Facilitation of a peer support network to increase graduates’ job retention

Most of its clients graduate in two to three years (in Texas, the community college graduation rate is typically much lower at 14.5 percent).25 Its jobs-driven approach also is generating promising results. Since 2012, Skill QUEST has worked with over 200 clients who are now earning more than $18 per hour in automotive, construction, logistics and paralegal careers. In addition, almost 100 clients are earning more than $25 per hour (over $40,000 a year) in health care and information technology careers.

Skill QUEST is part of a Texas network of organizations that have the same mission—to lift working adults out of poverty and into living-wage careers through education. The organizations also use the same business model and help each other improve by sharing data and best practices. Skill QUEST was founded in 2010, and its network colleagues were established earlier: Project QUEST in San Antonio was launched in 1992,26 Capital IDEA in Austin started in 1998, 27 and Capital IDEA in Houston was founded in 2009.28

Impact, Scalability and Sustainability

When asked what it needs from its corporate and other partners to significantly increase its impact, scalability and sustainability, Skill QUEST said it would like to increase engagement with employers from growth sectors—those expected to need more workers—paying more than $18 an hour. Skill QUEST’s goal is for graduates to have a living wage, career path and benefits.

Bank Partners’ Involvement

Skill QUEST has two banking partners. Both provide financial contributions, but one also provides volunteers, financial education and opportunities to present at events. The bank uses the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. curriculum, Money Smart, as a starting point and customizes training to meet participants’ needs. In 12 sessions, it teaches:

• The importance of having a banking relationship

• Types of banking products and services

• How to manage money, including building savings and limiting debt

• Understanding credit


Year Up

About Year Up

Year Up is a national nonprofit organization focusing on workforce development.29 It operates in 18 U.S. cities (see Box 5), serving low-income adults age 18-24 who do not have college degrees and are highly motivated to succeed. Through a one-year intensive training program, Year Up provides them with opportunities to build technical skills (through courses where they earn college credits and corporate internships) and receive professional training (including public speaking, professional attire and business communication).

Box 5

Year Up Locations

• Arlington, VA

• Atlanta, GA

• Baltimore, MD

• Bellevue, WA

• Boston, MA

• Chicago, IL

• Dallas, TX

• Jacksonville, FL

• Los Angeles, CA

• Miami, FL

• New York, NY

• Philadelphia, PA

• Phoenix, AZ

• Providence, RI

• San Francisco, CA

• San Jose, CA

• Seattle, WA

• Woodbridge, VA

Since its founding in 2000, Year Up has served more than 14,000 young adults. Eighty-five percent of program graduates are employed or enrolled in postsecondary education within four months of completing the program. Those employed are making an average starting wage of $18 an hour, equivalent to $36,000 a year.

Year Up students earn up to 31 college credits and complete a six-month corporate intern-ship at a Fortune 1000 company in information technology (including cybersecurity), financial operations, quality assurance, sales and marketing, project management, customer service or another occupation. Each week, participating students work 36 hours at their employers’ ofices and spend one afternoon at Year Up completing a three-credit professional development course.

Year Up uses a high-expectation, high-support model, and staff advisors, mentors and in-ternship managers help students develop the skills needed to thrive in the business environment. Students also receive an educational stipend throughout the program.

According to New York-based program and policy evaluator Economic Mobility Corp., Year Up reports that it boosted a young adult’s annual earnings by an average of 30 percent compared to a randomized control group. In addition, 90 percent of surveyed corporate partners reported that they would recommend Year Up to a colleague or friend.

Over a dozen banks partner with Year Up and contribute $24,700 ($950 a week for 26 weeks) for each Year Up intern they host. Partners include regional, national and global financial insti-tutions and some Federal Reserve Banks. In addition to this core support of Year Up’s internship program, banks have partnered in other ways:

• A national bank has provided more than $1.2 million to Year Up over the life of its partner-ship. Support has included regional resources for the organization’s core programming in key markets, and national support for the organization to track, engage and measure its alumni as they professionally progress.

• A global bank awarded Year Up $5 million through its foundation over five years to support program expansion in up to six cities where the bank has a strong footprint. Funding also supports program quality initiatives that strengthen the curriculum, outcome metrics and alumni support.

• A global bank supports Year Up in communicating the importance of engaging the community concerning opportunity youth through publications, forums and partner discussions.

• A global bank encourages employees to mentor, guest speak and volunteer for the Year Up program.

• A global bank sponsors and hosts an annual leadership forum, which convenes top financial services employers to share best practices in establishing pathways to corporate employ-ment for opportunity youth.

• A global bank’s staff serves on the boards and advisory councils of local Year Up afiliates.

• A global bank leads internship seminars at Year Up sites on topics ranging from the software de-velopment life cycle to an introduction to banking.

Impact, Scalability and Sustainability

Over the past several years, Year Up has increasingly aligned its training program with market needs to better prepare young people for in-demand careers. It works closely with employer partners to determine business needs and tailor its curriculum accordingly.

Year Up’s goal is to expand its geographic footprint to serve 100,000 young adults, continue to enhance its program and invest in its alumni network. To do so, it requires multiyear:

• Philanthropic contributions

• Internship opportunities for students

• Input from employers on curriculum design and content

Part Four: A Template for Banks to Tell Their Workforce Development and the CRA Story

It is important for a bank to explain why it is involved in workforce development to its internal management, customers, community partners, target communities and bank examiners. How much of this information to share depends on the audience. Bank examiners, for example, would need to be able to confirm that the workforce development activity falls within the CRA’s definition of community development and, therefore, is eligible for CRA consideration. The following template may be helpful for banks to provide information to their examiners and the public. Sample text is provided in quotes:30

Section A: Background

  1. Our mission and/or purpose
  2. Our geographic market(s)
  3. Define the CRA
  • “Under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), we are obligated to help meet the credit needs of our entire community, including low- and moderate-income neighbor-hoods. As part of our CRA obligation, we are committed to identifying community development opportunities in low- and moderate-income communities, consistent with safe and sound operations.”
  • “The CRA defines community development activities as those which have the primary purpose of providing affordable housing (including multifamily rental housing) for LMI individuals; community services targeted to LMI individuals; activities that promote economic development by financing businesses or farms that meet the size eligibility sta-dards of the Small Business Administration’s Development Company or Small Business Investment Company programs or have gross annual revenues of $1 million or less; or activities that revitalize or stabilize LMI geographies, designated disaster areas or distressed or underserved nonmetropolitan middle-income geographies designated by the Board of Governors, FDIC [Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation] and OCC [Ofice of the Comptroller of the Currency].”31

Section B: Our Current Area(s) of Focus 1.

  1. About Workforce Development
  • “When broadly defined, workforce development encapsulates not only employment, job training, and services that support workforce development but also education from cradle to career; financial education; and quality financial services and products that build or maintain assets. All of these components are vital to a community’s health, vibrancy and resilience.”

2. Our Community Development Focus

  • “In LMI communities, there are noticeably few opportunities to access ongoing skills development and credential attainment so that they can attain family-sustaining jobs and long-term economic success.”
  • “At (name your financial institution), we are becoming actively engaged in helping LMI communities access workforce development opportunities, particularly communities in our CRA assessment areas. This area consists of … (define the geographic area).”
  • “Workforce development is important to us because …”
  • “We conducted research to learn the major opportunities and challenges in supporting/ promoting workforce development opportunities. The following is an overview of how we conducted this research …”
  • “We decided to focus on the following community development activities that support/ promote workforce development…”
  • “This is how our community development activities meet CRA requirements …” (List materials that you are using as a reference. It is also important to explain how these activ-ities meet one or both of the following criteria, which are from the most recently updated “Interagency Questions and Answers Regarding Community Reinvestment (Questions and Answers).”32

— Are part of “federal, state, local, or tribal economic development initiatives that include provisions for creating or improving access by low- or moderate-income persons to jobs or to job training or workforce development programs.”

— Are “investments, grants, deposits, or shares in or to…Organizations supporting activities essential to the capacity of low- and moderate-income individuals or geographies to utilize credit or to sustain economic development, such as, for example, day care operations and job training programs or workforce development programs that enable low- or moderate-income individuals to work.”33

3. Examples of Qualifying Work

• “We provide leadership through board membership…”

— Specify your roles and responsibilities; highlight those that demonstrate your technical assistance.

• “We provide financial support…”

— Specify dollar amount and type of support (e.g., loan, grant, support of community development financial institution, community development corporation or other community-based organization that supports workforce development)

— Explain how your funds are being used and include the time period — “We participate in student/trainee job preparation by: …”

— Mentoring them on careers in the banking industry — Conducting mock interviews

— Helping with resume-writing

• “We provide learn-and-earn opportunities for individuals meeting low- and moderate-in-come criteria at the beginning of the workforce development activity.”

The bank can create these opportunities through its own internal program (for its own workforce) or through an external program (with organizations that support/facilitate these opportunities). Learn-and-earn opportunities include:

— Internships

— Apprenticeships

— Summer employment opportunities for youth or young adults

— College work-study positions outside of the college

— Job-shadowing opportunities

— Transitional jobs programs (subsidized temporary jobs designed to teach work place skills and provide work experience)

For each activity, include the following information.

• Purpose

• Goals

• Target clientele

• List of partner organizations

• Roles/responsibilities of each partner organization

• Costs to your organization

• Biggest successes:

— Include specific data-driven metrics or indicators that measure success on the program/initiative/partnership’s common agenda, goal or objective

— Include benchmarks that the program/initiative/partnership uses to track improvement in outcome measures (e.g., increasing the number of individuals who earn a target wage after training, or improving the percentage of individuals receiving training who then obtain training-related employment)

• Biggest challenges

• What this partnership/collaboration needs to significantly increase its impact, scalability and sustainability

Section C: Our Projected Impact

Note: The following types of information are important to include in your performance context as you share your workforce development story with internal management, customers, community partners, target communities and bank examiners.

“Our investment in workforce development is intended to help employers in our region build world-class talent pipelines. We and other entities/groups in our region (list them) have identified a specific number of middle-skill jobs and/or occupations (list the number) that are dificult to fill in our region. The size of this gap is estimated to be (list the economic impact) by (list the work-force development, economic development or other entity that has calculated the size of the economic impact). The following is a description of the financial and social impact of our workforce development activities that are focused on building the talent pipeline.” (Below are examples.)

  • “The return on investment is expected to be strong for both our financial institution and the communities in which we invest. Outlined below are estimates of the financial returns.”
    • Financial return on investment (ROI) to your institution: (Explain who calculated this, how it was calculated and the estimated time frame.)
    • Financial ROI to your community partners: (Explain who calculated this, how it was calculated and the estimated time frame.)
    • Financial returns to region/locality due to increased sales taxes, payroll taxes, increased consumption or other indicators:34 (Explain who calculated this, how it was calculated and the estimated time frame.)
  • “It will generate a savings that is estimated to be… (Explain who calculated this, how it was calculated and the estimated time frame.)”
  • “The impact is expected to be positive for both our financial institution and the communities in which we invest. Written below are estimates of the financial, social and health impacts.”
    • Financial impact to your institution: (Explain who calculated this, how it was calculated and the estimated time frame.)
    • Financial impact to your community partners: (Explain who calculated this, how it was calculated and the estimated time frame.)
    • Social impact to your financial institution: (For example, “Our workforce development activities entail developing and maintaining strong community partnerships, which are vital to building mutual trust and respect between us and the community …”)
    • Social impact to your community partners: (For example, “This is what our community partners are saying about our workforce development activities …”)
    • Health impact to the community: (Explain who calculated this, how it was calculated, and the estimated time frame.)35
  • “The financial impact to our institution is neutral/negative in the short term, but the positive regulatory impact (good CRA rating) and intangible goodwill are projected to generate a positive financial impact in the long term. Specifically, the people we help today may grow into our customers tomorrow. Here’s how: (Explain your strategy and plan).”

Section D: Our Leadership Role

  1. Putting Our Leadership Role in Context
  • “A new generation of community development models is emerging, and their common purpose is to make successes easier to replicate and expand. Their prominent features are outlined in the following a.”


Best Practices in Community Development

  1. Use innovative methods to leverage private capital
  2. Blend people- and place-based strategies to realize a broader vision
  3. Provide equal opportunity to quality education so that everyone can reach his/her highest potential
  4. Measure outcomes to identify what works
  5. Invest resources in what works
  • “Most of these community development models also strive to promote small businesses and increase access to living-wage jobs.”
  • “In addition, when the goal of community development efforts is to transform neighbor-hoods for the better, the most successful efforts tend to focus on a well-defined geography, simultaneously addressing housing, education, private investments and social services and leveraging the neighborhood’s unique assets.”

2. Our Specific Leadership Role

“We are playing a leadership role in our assessment area by supporting the communi-ty development best practices listed above/introducing our community partners to the community development best practices and advocating them. Here’s how. (List specific examples.)”


Part Five: Conclusion

Workforce development is important to supporting a stable workforce, strong businesses and lo-cal economies. Banks have an important stake in the outcomes of workforce development initiatives. Banks can use the information in this guide to develop ways of supporting workforce development programs that contribute to their mission and the fulfillment of CRA obligations. In addition, this guide may assist community partners in better understanding the CRA and how it can be used to build stronger partnerships. To get started, banks should:

  • Identify state and local WDB contacts by visiting the National Association of Workforce Board’s Workforce Investment Works page at www.workforceinvestmentworks.com.
  • Review their CRA strategy and portfolio of programs to identify potential connections with workforce development goals.
  • Talk with regional workforce development entities in their assessment area (see Box 2).
  • Discuss potential opportunities with workforce development entities in their area.

The Federal Reserve offers additional resources and guidance to help banks meet their com-munity development needs and achieve their CRA goals. Banks and community organizations are encouraged to contact the community development staff in their respective Federal Reserve districts to connect to these resources.36


Part Six: Appendixes

Appendix 1: Community Reinvestment Act Resources

CRA Background and Basics

I’m starting to learn about the CRA. How can I learn more?

See this introductory video by the Federal Reserve System: “What is the Community Reinvestment Act”?

How can I determine if an activity counts for CRA purposes?

See the Community Development Decision Flow Chart by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. In addition, see the current “Interagency Questions and Answers Regarding Com-munity Reinvestment (Questions and Answers)” by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC).

I understand that banks’ CRA responsibilities vary based on their size. How do I know if my bank is small, intermediate small or large?

See “Explanation of the Community Reinvestment Act Asset-Size Threshold Change” by the FFIEC.

Where can I find out what a bank’s CRA ratings are?

See the “FFIEC Interagency CRA Rating Search.”

Where can I find Federal Reserve publications and events that include information about the CRA and CRA-related issues?

See FedCommunities.org.

Where can I find additional information about the CRA?

See the “Community Reinvestment Act,“Exam Procedures” and “A Guide to CRA Data Collection and Reporting” by the FFIEC. In addition, see “Interagency Questions and Answers Regarding Community Reinvestment (Questions and Answers)” by the FFIEC.

See CRA OneSource, a Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City website.

CRA Program Planning

What is the performance context and what is its value?

See “Understanding Community Development Needs Through the CRA Performance Context” by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

I don’t know what the needs, resources and opportunities are in low and moderate-income neighborhoods in my market(s). How should I begin my research process? What data are important to analyze? Where can I find these data?

See “Information Useful in Developing a Performance Context” by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and “Community Development Data Guidebook” by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.


Some Federal Reserve Banks also provide information on conditions in low- and moderate-income communities, such as the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s “Tenth District LMI Economic Conditions Report” and the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ Community Outlook Series.

I’m ready to write my performance context. Are there any examples of a strong performance context?

See the “Analysis of Community Development Needs and Opportunities in Los Angeles County” by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and consolidated plans information on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Exchange website. Also, contact your local United Way and public health department about their community assessments and local nonprofit hospitals, which are required to do a commu-nity health needs assessment and community health improvement plan.

Where can I find the federal banking regulators’ joint publication on how banks can engage in workforce development to earn CRA credit?

See “Interagency Questions and Answers Regarding Community Reinvestment (Questions and Answers),” which specifies that:

• “‘Community development’ includes activities that promote economic development” such as “federal, state, local, or tribal economic development initiatives that include provisions for creating or improving access by low- or moderate-income persons to jobs or to job training or workforce development programs.”

• “Examples of qualified investments include, but are not limited to, investments, grants, deposits, or shares in or to … organizations supporting activities essential to the capacity of low- and moderate-income individuals or geographies to utilize credit or to sustain economic development, such as, for example, day care operations and job training programs or workforce development programs that enable low- or moderate-income individuals to work.”

CRA Reporting and Evaluation

How can I prepare for my CRA exam and expand my CRA program?

See CRA OneSource, a Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City website.

I’d like to quickly access information on CRA regulation and examination procedures. Where can I find such information?

See “A Banker’s Quick Reference Guide to CRA” by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. For specific exam procedures, see Exam Procedures by the FFIEC.

Where can I find the CRA ratings of banks supervised by the Federal Reserve, Ofice of the Comptroller of the Currency and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.?

See FFIEC Interagency CRA Rating Search by the FFIEC.

I’m interested in learning about the CRA loan data-collection process. Where can I find information about this?

See “CRA Loan Data Collection Grid” by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

Appendix 2: Informational Resources

The following is a list of selected activities and resources from the websites of prominent work-force development organizations as of May/June 2016. The Dallas and Kansas City Federal Reserve Banks do not endorse these resources unless they are authored/edited by a Federal Reserve Bank or the Federal Reserve Board.

Fedcommunities.org, Federal Reserve community development resources promoting people, place, policy and practices, and small business (website, Federal Reserve System)

“Regardless of your geographic location, experience or sector, FedCommunities.org provides an array of practical resources to help you in your role as a community development pro-fessional, whether your work involves supporting people, places, the policy and practice of community development or small-business development.”

“Federal Reserve Community Development Perspectives: A Summary of Activities, Insights and Future Opportunities,” (publication, Federal Reserve System)

“… an overview of the Federal Reserve’s recent community development (CD) efforts to help address barriers to economic growth and promote fair and informed access to finan-cial markets.”

Federal Reserve Human Capital Compendium (website, Federal Reserve System)

“This repository provides access to research published since 2008 by the Board of Governors and all 12 Federal Reserve Banks on topics related to employment, unemployment and workforce development.”

Investing in What Works for America’s Communities (book and website, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and Low Income Investment Fund)

“… calls on leaders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors to build on what we know is working to move the needle on poverty. This collection of essays provides dozens of innovative ideas that can bring new opportunities to America’s struggling communities. It calls on leaders to recognize that they can work smarter and achieve more by working together.”

“Leveraging Financial Education to Improve the Impact of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act” (conference materials, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston)

“… building the financial skills of Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) youth can be part of a holistic approach to ensuring positive program outcomes. Confer-ence participants will learn from financial education experts what a ‘financially capable’ WIOA youth would look like and highlight initiatives, delivery models, tools and resources for workforce entities and Employment and Training Administration (ETA) grantees to build successful programs and critical partnerships.”


MeasureUp (website, Build Healthy Places Network)

“… a microsite of resources and tools to help you measure and describe your programs’ impact on families and communities and on factors related to health. MeasureUp provides examples, tools, and resources to help you make your case, without having to become an economist.”

Models for Labor Market Intermediaries (e-book, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta)

“… explores the role of community and economic development organizations in workforce development and the importance of fostering and facilitating partnerships to address local workforce challenges.”

National Association of Workforce Boards (website)

“Workforce development organizations need a wide range of workforce resources to stay connected to what’s important in Washington and make informed, smart decisions about how to invest in local workforce strategies. NAWB has curated resources in key areas such as WIOA implementation, Labor Market Information, and promising practices that are available to all workforce professionals. NAWB members enjoy access to specialized com-munications, publications, research, reports, and grant opportunity news as part of their membership dues.”

Note: To find the Workforce Development Board in your region, see the National Association of Workforce Board’s Workforce Investment Works website. Each board has a workforce development plan that is publicly available.


“… unifies the web’s largest place-based data library with simple mapping and reporting tools used in the classroom to the boardroom for research, market studies, business plan-ning, site selection, grant applications and impact analysis.”

Reimagining Financial Inclusion(publication, Ideas42 and Oliver Wyman)

“Instead of trying to squeeze lower-income consumers into existing financial products, we propose a solution that integrates deposits and credit to meet their cash manage-ment needs as well as the needs of financial providers. People living paycheck-to-pay-check need banking solutions designed specifically to help them manage the reality of volatile income and expenses.”

Social Impact Calculator (website, Low Income Investment Fund)

“… a new tool that allows you to put a dollar value on the benefits of things like an affordable home, a great school or access to transit — as well as calculate a rate of social return.”


Transforming U.S. Workforce Development Policies for the 21st Century (book, Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta and Kansas City and the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Devel-opment at Rutgers University)

“Workers and employers in the United States face new realities and uncertainties that current public policies and programs were not designed to address. ... This edited volume brings together contributions from 65 leading scholars and practitioners with diverse perspectives on how to transform workforce policies and practice to:

• Improve opportunities for job seekers, students and workers, especially those who face the greatest dificulties in the labor market;

• Meet the needs of employers and society for a highly skilled and competitive workforce; and

• Deliver effective solutions relevant to educational institutions, businesses, nonprofit organizations and governments.”

“United Way Common Financial Stability Measures: Standards of Measurement and Practice” (publication, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas)

“… provide[s] clear definitions and parameters for each of the outputs and outcomes featured in the Common Financial Stability Measures Framework. This effort should make it easier for participating service providers to know when to measure, how to measure, and who to measure for each of the outputs and outcomes. This effort will also make data easier to understand in the aggregate, which will help United Way and participating providers make data-driven decisions.”

What Counts: Harnessing Data for America’s Communities (book and website, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and Urban Institute)

“… outlines opportunities and challenges for the strategic use of data to reduce poverty, improve health, expand access to quality education and build stronger communities. It is a response to both the explosive interest in using data to guide community initiatives, invest-ment strategies and policy choices, and the vexing questions that accompany data-driven approaches.”

What It’s Worth: Strengthening the Financial Future of Families, Communities and the Nation (book and website, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and CFED)

“Americans everywhere struggle to build strong financial futures for themselves and their families. The new book, What It’s Worth, provides a road map for what families, commu-nities and our nation can do to move forward on the path to financial well-being.”


WorkforceGPS (website, U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration)

“…an interactive online communication and learning technical assistance platform that was designed to communicate with and build the capacity of the public workforce investment system to develop and implement innovative approaches to workforce and eco-nomic development.”

“Youth Employment and Financial Capability: Municipal Action Guide,” (publication, National League of Cities)

“Municipalities play varying roles in supporting youth employment efforts, both formally and informally. City leaders can influence the scope and direction of youth employment programming by making financial capability in youth employment a citywide priority and ensuring that it is part of a broader city strategy to promote financial empowerment.”


Appendix 3: Experts in Workforce Development

This appendix lists entities with expertise in workforce development and provides a synopsis of each entity’s activities—in its own words—and a checklist of how it is involved in workforce development. The information comes from the entities’ websites as of June/July 2016. The list is not all-inclusive. The Federal Reserve Banks of Dallas and Kansas City do not endorse these entities.


Basic skills improvement: Programs that address skills and competencies such as interpersonal interactions, teamwork, promptness, etc.

Career pathways: Approach that aligns progressive training and skill development op-portunities with identified career progression (e.g., certified nursing assistant to certified medical assistant to LPN)

College completion: Programs that help individuals complete college through wrap-around services, scheduling adjustments, financial assistance, prior learning assessments, etc.

Job-quality strategies: Policies and practices that improve job quality for lower-wage workers (e.g., job redesign, job scheduling and supportive services such as transportation and child care)

Sector strategies: Organizations that act as a connector or broker between workers and employers by identifying needs, resources and solutions

Skills development: Programs that develop specific skills and competencies that are im-portant to employers.

Supportive services: Programs that provide access to services such as transportation, child-care, financial counseling, etc.

Two-generation approach: Strategy that addresses the needs of children and their parents or guardians in terms of employment, education and support services.




Alliance for Quality Career Pathways (AQCP)


The Alliance for Quality Career Pathways is a partner-driven, CLASP [Center for Law and Social Policy]-led initiative funded by the Joyce Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, and the Greater Twin Cities United Way. The Alliance’s goal is to help state and local/regional partnerships strengthen their career pathway systems to help individuals in need access and succeed in education, training, and career pathway employment, as well as fill critical skill shortages in companies and regions.

The Alliance Framework Initiative

In 2012, CLASP invited 10 leading career pathway states and their local/regional partners to join Phase I of the Alliance (2012-2014). CLASP and the Alliance partners jointly developed and provided consensus support for the Alliance for Quality Career Pathways Framework 1.0, which establishes a com-mon understanding of quality career pathways and systems. In Phase II (2014-2015), the Alliance focused on implementing the framework and sharing lessons with the field.

The Alliance framework provides a clear set of criteria and indicators for what constitutes a qual-ity state and local/regional career pathway system, as well as metrics to assess participant progress and success. The framework is designed to help career pathway partners continuously improve their systems. It also can serve as a collaborative, comprehensive strategy for policymakers and funders to align and enhance their investments, technical assistance, and guidance for building, scaling, and sustaining career pathway systems.

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

  • Career Pathways

American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) www.aacc.nche.edu

The American Association of Community Colleges is the primary advocacy organization for the na-tion’s community colleges and works closely with directors of state ofices to inform and affect state policy. The association represents nearly 1,200 two-year, associate degree-granting institutions and more than 13 million students.

AACC supports and promotes its member colleges through policy initiatives, innovative programs, research, and information and strategic outreach to business and industry and the national news media.


  • 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative
  • Back to Work 50+/Women’s Economic Stability Initiative
  • Job Ready, Willing, and Able Initiative

Workforce and Economic Development Program

The Workforce and Economic Development Program brings together community colleges, ofices of economic development, workforce boards, labor market entities, employers, and other organizations to improve the economic prosperity of business, workers, and communities. AACC provides technical assistance to member colleges to promote the alignment of priorities, strategies, and resources with those of workforce and economic development partners in response to regional labor market needs.

The program’s goals include:

  • Improved economic prosperity of workers, business, and communities
  • Increased use of promising practices as common practices
  • Enhanced community college leadership role in building and sustaining high-quality programs and services supportive of regional economic growth strategies

Workforce Development Institute

AACC’s Workforce Development Institute is a yearly convening for exchanges and networking for economic and workforce leaders at community colleges and their partners [from both private and public sectors].

Policy Work

The Government Relations Ofice of AACC represents the needs of the nation’s community colleges and their students to federal policy makers. The association’s government relations agenda covers a broad array of issues.

[Two legislative priorities of AACC surrounding workforce development include:]

• Authorizing and funding a program dedicated to supporting and expanding innovative community college and industry partnerships

• Increasing funding for the occupational and adult basic education programs authorized in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

  • College Completion
  • Sector Strategies
  • Skills Development


American Association of Retired Persons Foundation (AARP) Foundation www.aarp.org/aarp-foundation

The American Association of Retired Persons Foundation, a charitable afiliate of AARP, helps struggling seniors by being a force for change on the issues they face today. Building on AARP’s reputation, AARP Foundation has the ability to support and work with local organizations and programs nationwide to coordinate, fill in the gaps, and help effective initiatives grow.


  • Direct Assistance Legal Advocacy
  • Raising Awareness
  • Back to Work 50+ Program

Back to Work 50+ connects struggling Americans over the age of 50 with the information, support, training, and employer access they need to regain employment, advance in the workforce, and build finan-cial capability and resiliency to prevent them from slipping into poverty later in life. Back to Work 50+ is targeting job seekers over the age of 50 at more than 20 sites across the country.

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Career Pathways


Annie E. Casey Foundation


The Annie E. Casey Foundation is devoted to developing a brighter future for millions of children at risk of poor educational, economic, social and health outcomes.

Work, Education and Income Initiative

The Foundation aims to create new opportunities for low-income adults and parents to build their skills, get into the workforce, move forward in their careers and become financially secure through:

• Creating workforce partnerships throughout the nation and building evidence on the effectiveness of sector-specific employment programs

• Developing ways for parents with employment barriers, such as a criminal record or limited En-glish proficiency, to enter the workforce

• Advocating changes to state and federal policies and public systems to better serve lower-skilled adults, parents and youth.

The Jobs Initiative

Launched in 1995, the Jobs Initiative was an eight-year effort in six cities to connect inner-city adults to family-supporting jobs and to improve the way urban labor markets worked for low-income, low-skilled workers. The initiative’s lessons continue to inform Casey’s work to improve economic stability for families and communities.

The Human Services Workforce Initiative

The Human Services Workforce Initiative was the first national effort to address the urgent need to recruit, train and retain human services workers qualified to make decisions that affect disadvantaged kids and families. In 2005, the Cornerstone Consulting Group assumed leadership of the initiative, developing Cornerstones for Kids.

Center for Working Families

The Foundation’s Center for Working Families model helps low-income individuals and families get on a path to financial stability. Funders and organizations throughout the country have taken up and adapted this approach, forming the Working Families Success Network in 2013. Here’s how it works:

• Offering a coordinated set of three key services in a single, convenient location, making these resources more accessible to individuals and families needing assistance.

• Providing financial coaching and education.

• Helping people find work and advance their careers.

• Improving access to public benefits, such as the earned income tax credit, which can help families make ends meet.

Strengthening the Workforce Policy

This report identifies five central problems that confront policymakers in attempting to improve workforce development programs.


• The American workforce is undergoing a major demographic change, and workers are less prepared to move into their jobs.

• Workforce systems are often too compartmentalized, causing ineficiencies and poor alignment with employer needs.

• State and local oficials struggle to implement a “dual customer” approach that meets the needs of both job seekers and employers.

• Inconsistent standards make it dificult to measure the performance of workforce programs.

• Federal and state requirements make it hard for local initiatives to focus on the most disadvantaged workers.

Based on lessons learned from the Jobs Initiative, the report also offers policy recommendations at local, state and federal levels.

• At the federal level: reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act

• At the state level: assurance that workforce systems are, indeed, systems that effectively offer services necessary to train the workforce

• At the local level: provision of new sources of funding and better coordinated services while developing new partnerships

Collective Impact in Workforce Development: A Working Paper

This working paper explores the concept of collective impact in the workforce development field: its successes, limitations and potential for benefiting prospective employees and business alike. Drawing from interviews with experts, this report offers several examples of multisector collaboration and recom-mendations for implementing such strategies for funders, policymakers and organizations focused on employment and training.

Laying the Groundwork for Collective Impact: A Working Paper

This paper offers suggestions for leaders of multisector initiatives working to generate collective im-pact on local community issues. It focuses on the critical early phases of the work and tackling issues such as poverty, education and workforce preparation.

Grant Making

As a private philanthropy based in Baltimore and working across the country, we make grants that help federal agencies, states, counties, cities and neighborhoods create more innovative, cost-effective re-sponses to the issues that negatively affect children: poverty, unnecessary disconnection from family and communities with limited access to opportunity.

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Job-quality Strategies

• Sector Strategies

• Supportive Services

• Two-Generation Approach


Ascend at the Aspen Institute http://ascend.aspeninstitute.org

Ascend at the Aspen Institute is a hub for ideas and collaborations that move vulnerable children and their parents toward educational success and economic security. Ascend takes a two-generation approach to our work, focusing on children and their parents together and brings a gender and racial equity lens into our analysis.

[To carry out this work, Ascend at the Aspen Institute is engaged in three strategies:]

• Elevating and investing in two-generation programs, policies, and community solutions

• Building a network of diverse leaders through a national fellowship program and learning network

• Engaging the perspectives, strengths, and resilience of low-income families to inform programs and policies

2Gen Toolbox

The 2Gen Toolbox is a growing collection of resources [models, case studies, tools, etc..] developed by Ascend Fellows and Ascend Network partners that pioneers two-generation leaders and organizations working to create opportunities for and meet the needs of children and the adults in their lives together. Our goal for the Toolbox is to facilitate learning, adoption, and scale of two-generation approaches.

2Gen Outcomes Bank

The 2Gen Outcomes Bank is a crowd-sourced database designed to help capture and organize the outcomes, research, tools, and evidence base for two-generation approaches, strategies, and programs. Within the database, you will find outcomes, indicators, and research organized for children, parents, and families across the core 2Gen components of education, economic assets, health and well-being, and social capital.

The Ascend Fellowship

The Ascend Fellowship is a values-based leadership program that builds on the Aspen Institute lead-ership tradition. Ascend Fellows learn from faculty, participate in signature Institute convenings and plat-forms, tap networks of social justice and other leaders, and carry out action plans that advance their innovations and solutions on behalf of children and families.

Aspen ThinkXChange

Aspen ThinkXChange is a national convening of leaders with bold ideas for creating an intergenera-tional cycle of opportunity for low-income American families. [Ascend has hosted three Aspen ThinkX-Changes,] gathering dynamic leaders from across sectors to identify opportunities and solutions for mov-ing children and their parents together toward stability and success.


Top 10 for 2Gen

Top 10 for 2Gen outlines six principles and 10 specific policies to guide the design and use of two-gen-eration approaches. These recommendations span early education, post-secondary education, economic assets, and health and well-being. These policies work within the existing legislative and funding landscape rather than seeking new funding or legislation.

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Two-Generation Approach

Atlanta BeltLine http://beltline.org

The Atlanta BeltLine is the most comprehensive revitalization effort ever undertaken in the city of Atlanta and among the largest, most wide-ranging urban redevelopment and mobility projects currently underway in the United States. The Atlanta BeltLine is a sustainable redevelopment project that will provide a network of public parks, multi-use trains and transit along a historic 22-mile railroad corridor circling downtown and connecting many neighborhoods directly to each other.

Job Training Classes

In 2010, the Atlanta BeltLine and the Atlanta Workforce Development Agency collaborated on the implementation of a training program for local residents. The program focuses on greenspace construc-tion, and 100 percent of trainees from the inaugural class were placed in jobs in construction and other industries. Additional classes are planned for the near future, and are scheduled based on the volume of construction projects and opportunities that need to be filled through program partners.

Workforce Resources and Documents

• Workforce data information

• Documents related to the creation of workforce partnerships

• Information about the large scale social change that is created by collective impact

The Workforce Partnership in Healthcare

The Atlanta BeltLine Partnership, New Hope Enterprises and other organizations have collaborated to form the Atlanta BeltLine Workforce Partnership in Healthcare.

[This partnership] is providing participants with the job readiness training, technical training and coaching support required to secure full-time, entry-level healthcare employment as the first step toward a healthcare career.

Throughout their technical training and for up to six months after being hired, participants will receive coaching from The Center for Working Families in which they will develop financial plans and ca-reer goals and receive support in managing life issues. Participants will also have access to support services offered through Atlanta Workforce Development Agency and the Georgia Department of Labor.

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Basic Skills Improvement

• Career Pathways

• Sector Strategies

• Skills Development

• Supportive Services



Started in 2006 in Los Angeles by The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation, BankWork$ trains young adults from low-income and minority communities for lasting careers in the financial services industry. As part of a five-year, $4 million national expansion in partnership with Bank of America, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo, the program is scheduled to launch in 12 to 15 major cities, including Los Angeles, Phoenix, Houston and Chicago, by 2018.

BankWork$ Classes

BankWork$ classes are free for participants age 18 or older. The classes run for eight weeks and provide training in the skills needed for jobs as tellers, customer service representatives and personal bankers.

Additional Career Services

• Job interview practice

• Job placement assistance

• Ongoing coaching and mentoring for career advancement

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Basic Skills Improvement

• Career Pathways

• Skills Development


Boston Foundation www.tbf.org

The Boston Foundation was founded in 1915 to receive gifts from donors and to use those resources to make grants to the nonprofit organizations that serve the Greater Boston community.

Today, we are one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the nation. Our donors meet their own philanthropic goals, while adding to the Foundation’s overall strength. We also play a civic leadership role for our region through publishing fresh research, convening people to discuss our region’s challenges and creating powerful agendas for change.


SkillWorks is a $25 million public-private partnership between the Boston Foundation, the City of Boston, local and national philanthropic and corporate entities designed to meet worker and business needs while developing pathways out of poverty.

SkillWorks invests in employer-driven, sector-based training and placement strategies to help low skill, low- and moderate-income residents move to family-sustaining jobs and to help employers find and retain skilled employees.

Allied Health Initiative

The Foundation launched the Allied Health Initiative in close partnership with major Boston medical centers. This initiative allows hospitals to educate and train their own low-skilled workers and prepare them for allied health careers.

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Career Pathways

• Sector Strategies

• Skills Development


CAP Tulsa https://captulsa.org

CAP Tulsa is one of the largest anti-poverty agencies in Oklahoma. CAP Tulsa provides support and guidance with early childhood education and comprehensive enrichment programs for the entire family.

CareerAdvance Program

CAP Tulsa’s CareerAdvance program offers free training and job opportunities to help current and alumni CAP Tulsa families as well as other Tulsa area low-income families with children ages 8 and young-er to secure a high-demand career within the healthcare field, such as training for a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and Medical Assistant (MA).

This program includes no-cost tuition, books and childcare and provides participants with individual job coaching, connection with local employers, peer support, and career readiness skills. Most certificates can be earned in 18 weeks or less.

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Basic Skills Improvement

• Career Pathways

• Skills Development

• Supportive Services

For more information, see the CAP Tulsa case study in the full report.



CareerSTAT is a national network of health care leaders who advocate for employer investment in the skill and career development of frontline workers. These investments help workers obtain family-support-ing wages and careers while also improving business outcomes for health care providers.

To encourage these investments, CareerSTAT:

• Engages health care leaders who champion the business case for investments in frontline workers

• Recognizes employers who make a sustained commitment to invest in frontline workforce development

• Documents effective practices and the business impact in a wide variety of health care settings

• Disseminates best practices and making the business case for investment in frontline workers to industry leaders and public policy makers.

Access Resources and Technical Assistance

CareerSTAT supports its network of partners by providing coaching, technical assistance, and an ar-ray of print and online resources and reports to help organizations strengthen investments in the frontline health care workforce.

Frontline Health Care Worker Champion Recognition Program

CareerSTAT’s Frontline Health Care Worker Champion recognition program was created to ac-knowledge health care organizations that have made a lasting investment in their frontline workers by promoting internal career progression and providing access to on-site training and skills development opportunities. Representing a variety of regions and sub-industries, these employer champions are health care leaders that provide exemplary training and development opportunities for their workers.

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Career Pathways

• Job-quality Strategies

• Sector Strategies

Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)


The Center for Law and Social Policy is a national, nonpartisan, anti-poverty organization advancing policy solutions that work for low-income people. Promoting policy solutions that im-prove job quality is an essential part of CLASP’s agenda to reduce poverty, support families, reward effort, and expand opportunity.

Additionally, because education and training are drivers of economic mobility and opportuni-ty, CLASP works to strengthen federal and state education and training policy to ensure that low-wage workers and low-income individuals can enter and advance in the labor market. This ensures that American businesses have access to workers with skills they need to compete.

Opportunities for Action Memos

As part of this effort, CLASP will be providing short, action-focused memos outlining how states, local areas, advocates, and service providers can leverage opportunities to serve low-income youth and adults through state and local plans, policies and guidance, and budget choices. [Some topics relating to workforce development include:]

• Career Pathways: State Plan & Policy

• WIOA: Performance Negotiations

• Career Pathways: Using the State Eligible Training Provider List to Support Quality & Coordination

Advocacy for Two-Generation Policies

CLASP works at all levels of government to advance large-scale policy opportunities and sys-tem reforms that address the needs of children and parents together as a family. This “two-gener-ation” approach to public policy helps children thrive and parents succeed at school, work, and caregiving, supporting economic opportunity for both generations.

Work/Life and Job Quality Promotion

Promoting policy solutions that improve job quality is an essential part of CLASP’s agenda and mission. CLASP’s advocacy on work/life and job quality concentrates on paid leave, predictable and responsive schedules, and advancement opportunities.

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Career Pathways

• Job-quality Strategies

• Supportive Services

• Two-Generation Approach

Center for Work Ethic Development


The Center for Work Ethic Development is helping organizations and individuals build work ethic. By developing curriculum, certification, and support materials, we are helping future and current employees on a path for workplace success. It is the only institution focused on the research and advancement of work ethic.

Training Events

• Free Train-the-Trainer webinars

• Training workshops with trainer certification

Bring Your ‘A’ Game to Work

Available in youth, adult, and veteran versions, the Bring Your “A” Game to Work curriculum is based on the book, written by Hall of Fame Speaker Eric Chester, and input from educators, employers, and workforce development professionals.

Program components of Bring Your “A” Game include:

• Curriculum guides

• Participant workbooks

• Textbooks

• Work ethic certification

• Multimedia resources

• Train-the-trainer certification

Work Ethic Proficiency

The Certificate of Work Ethic Proficiency is an add-on component of the Bring Your “A” Game to Work curriculum that helps them to differentiate themselves in the ever-competitive job market. Our assessment requires a 90 percent score in order to pass and then provides a portable credential participants can use to prove their understanding and mastery of the seven behaviors of work ethic.

Speaking Engagements

The Center for Work Ethic Development also provides engaging and informative presentations based on our research and experience. Delivered by CEO Josh Davies, these keynote presentations, workshops, and in-service training classes are a powerful way to educate and inspire your audience.

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Basic Skills Improvement

Corporation for a Skilled Workforce (CSW)


The Corporation for a Skilled Workforce catalyzes nationwide transformative change in education, economic, and workforce development through research and action. We have worked with dozens of workforce investment boards, state workforce agencies, community-based organizations, and colleges to create lasting impact through their collaborative activities.

Advocacy for Competency-Based Credentialing

Corporation for a Skilled Workforce has embarked on a multi-year initiative to increase dramatically the use and interoperability of quality competency-based credentials across the country.

CSW is focusing on two strategies to advance competency-based credentialing in the U.S.

• First, we’re developing, in partnership with CLASP and support from Lumina Foundation, a meta Credentials Framework that will offer a common picture showing how all credentials can be un-derstood in terms of the competencies holders of those credentials possess. This approach centers on the idea that we can and should “connect the dots” between degrees, certificates, certifications, and other credentials, making them all part of a shared way learners can communicate their com-petencies.

• Second, we’re engaging states, colleges, industry groups, and others in a range of practice-based efforts to develop and implement competency-based credentialing work.

Integration of Sector Strategies and Career Pathways

We facilitate the creation and sustainability of industry sector partnerships to address skills gaps and longer-term talent development needs in service of robust and transparent career pathways for workers and students.

[We do this work by:]

• Supporting sector partnerships in undertaking career pathway alignment or integration efforts

• Supporting career pathway efforts in deepening their engagement with industry

• Continuing to build the adoption of sector strategies and career pathways within workforce, economic, and post-secondary educational fields

• Defining and documenting the return on investment for employer engagement in both career pathways and sector strategies

Support for Sustainable Communities

We partner with local employers, nonprofit, workforce, and education leaders and promote collab-orative solutions so that all residents have access to economic opportunities and have a chance to build a sustainable livelihood.

We do this through supporting the convening of community-based alliances and partnerships for jobs and skills, advising funders and key agencies interested in community reinvention, and through use of data to drive collective impact.


Transformation of Post-secondary Education

We help colleges institute policies and practices that increase credential attainment and good employ-ment options for their students. Our strategies help colleges strengthen access to, persistence toward, and attainment of market relevant credentials that better ensure graduates obtain good jobs.

[This work includes:]

• Helping colleges adopt needed institutional changes and delivery innovations to tailor postsecond-ary education and training to students’ unique work and learning needs

• Facilitating robust employer engagement that strengthens colleges’ connection to the labor market, thus creating tight alignment between institutional goals and practices and the needs of employers

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Career Pathways

• Sector Strategies

• Skills Development

Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL)


CAEL is a nonprofit that works at all levels within the higher education, public, and private sectors to make it easier for people to get the education and training they need.

CAEL’s Workforce and Economic Development team partners with community leaders to drive eco-nomic growth through a robust and talented workforce. Our approach leverages data analysis, program expertise, and high levels of collaboration to create inclusive growth, meaningful educational attainment, and sustainable economic vitality.


  • Creating the Conditions for Business Attraction, Growth and Retention for Companies
  • Academic and Career Success for Veterans


PathSavvy, our cloud-based career-pathing software, leverages our years of deep experience with full-scale solutions to deliver insight, innovation, and a prepared and engaged workforce that aligns with one’s talent development goals. Employees have a transparent view of career and development opportunities and are empowered with personalized action plans to grow within the company.

Public Policy Publications

• State Policy Approaches to Support Prior Learning Assessment

• Innovation in Maryland Nursing Education to Meet Anticipated Demand • State Strategies to Support the Maturing Workforce

• Written Testimony for the Education and Workforce Committee (U.S. House of Representatives)

• Random Access: The Latino Experience with Prior Learning Assessment Policy Brief

• Renewing the Promise of the Higher Education Act: Seven Principles for Reauthorization • State Policy Approaches to Support Prior Learning

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Basic Skills Improvement

• Career Pathways

• College Completion

• Sector Strategies

Economic Opportunities Program (EOP) at the Aspen Institute


Economic Opportunities Program is a policy program at the Aspen Institute. Its primary mission is to advance strategies and policies to help low- and moderate-income Americans thrive in today’s dynamic economy.

As part of this program, the Aspen Institute’s Workforce Strategies Initiative (AspenWSI) works to identify, evaluate, and promote promising and successful practices and policies that improve access to quality training and employment for low-income adults.

AspenWSI’s research and evaluation work has three objectives:

1. To identify promising new workforce development innovations

2. To provide support to build the quality of workforce development activity in the field

3. To inform policy discussions

UpSkill America

UpSkill America is an employer-led movement to expand opportunity for America’s workers and help our economy and communities thrive by promoting training and advancement practices to help work-ers progress in their careers and move into better-paying jobs. UpSkill America’s mission is to recognize employers that invest in their frontline workers; promote the adoption of policies and practices used by employers to educate, train, and develop frontline workers; and cultivate partnerships between employers and partners to help them succeed in their upskilling initiatives.


Participatory learning assessment is the hallmark of [AspenWSI’s] research approach. We actively engage workforce development stakeholders in activities designed to identify research issues, determine key questions and research methods, and collect, analyze and use data. We conduct participant outcomes studies, surveys, and in-depth interviews and focus groups with a variety of informants.

[Various research projects include:]

• Courses to Employment

• Linking Workforce Development and Economic Development

• Sectoral Strategies for Low-Income Workers

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Job-Quality Strategies

• Sector Strategies

• Skills Development

Employment and Training Administration (ETA) at the U.S. Department of Labor


The mission of the Employment and Training Administration is to contribute to the more eficient functioning of the U.S. labor market by providing high quality job training, employment, labor market information, and income maintenance services primarily through state and local work-force development systems.


  • Federal government job training Worker dislocation programs
  • Federal grants to states for public employment service programs
  • Unemployment insurance benefits

Workforce Professionals

[Workforce Professionals, a site within ETA’s website, provides] the resources, tools, updates, and links intended to assist the nation’s workforce professionals in serving the needs of workers and businesses. [Some resources and tools available include a career pathways toolkit, a guide to state and local workforce data, and information on integrating sector strategies and career pathways, amongst others.]

Office of Workforce Investment (OWI)

The Ofice of Workforce Investment is responsible for implementing an integrated national work-force investment system that supports economic growth and provides workers with the information, ad-vice, job search assistance, supportive services, and training in demand industries and occupations needed to get and keep good jobs. OWI provides national leadership, oversight, policy guidance, and technical assistance to the workforce investment system authorized under the Workforce Innovation and Oppor-tunity Act.

Workforce System Strategies

Workforce System Strategies is an online resource library providing evidence-based research and prac-tices. Internet users are able to search the database of over 800 publications on a wide range of topics including career pathways, post-secondary education, job search assistance, apprenticeship programs, case management, employer engagement, partnerships, system building, and many more.

The Workforce Innovation Fund (WIF)

The Workforce Innovation Fund is one of several new federal grant programs in which grantor agen-cies support projects that seek to design evidence-based program strategies.

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Career Pathways

• Sector Strategies

• Supportive Services

Employment Program at the Joyce Foundation


The Joyce Foundation believes that equipping workers to succeed in good-paying jobs benefits indi-viduals, their families and communities, and the Midwest economy as a whole. In the last two decades, the Foundation has tested strategies to boost workers’ skills and help women on welfare, low-skilled workers, ex-offenders, and others who face significant barriers in joining the workforce.

Foundational Skills

To increase the number of underprepared adults in the region with the foundational math and literacy skills needed to be successful in 21st century work, the Foundation supports evaluation and scaling up of promising adult education efforts, with a particular focus on technology-based solutions.

Industry Workforce Partnerships

To ensure that occupational training for underprepared adults meets the requirements of the labor market, the Foundation supports efforts to:

1. expand partnerships between industry groups and educational organizations;

2. promote the integration of work-based learning into education and training programs;

3. research on the value of employer investments in employee skill development, particularly among entry-level and low-wage workers; and

4. reform federal and state policy around enabling and incentivizing such policies.

Data and Policy

To improve policies that support the expansion of foundational skills and industry workforce partner-ships, the Foundation supports a limited number of projects that aim to improve workforce data collec-tion and use in the policymaking process and federal and state policy advocacy.

The Joint Fund for Education and Employment

In order to support more children, youth, and adults in becoming college and career ready, the Joint Fund focuses on: 1) creating clear paths within and between secondary and postsecondary institutions that incorporate academics and real world learning applications; 2) building personal success skills neces-sary for academic, work, and life success; and 3) promoting strategies to increase student engagement in learning.

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Basic Skills Improvement

• College Completion

• Sector Strategies

Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP)


[The GEAR UP program is a] discretionary grant program [through the Department of Education] designed to significantly increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and suc-ceed in postsecondary education.

[State and Partnership Grants]

State grants are competitive six-year matching grants that must include both an early intervention component designed to increase college attendance and success and raise the expectations of low-income students and a scholarship component. Partnership grants are competitive six-year matching grants that must support an early intervention component and may support a scholarship component designed to increase college attendance and success and raise the expectations of low-income students

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• College Completion

• Supportive Services

Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW)


The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce is an independent, nonprofit research and policy institute afiliated with the Georgetown McCourt School of Public Policy that studies the link between education, career qualifications, and workforce demands.

State Initiative

The state initiative helps states use data more effectively to inform policy and planning and support decision-making about education and careers.

Diversity Initiative

[This initiative,] Diversity: Race, Class and Gender, seeks to narrow the information gap on career earnings for minority students by informing the practice of educational advocates and school counselors and increasing access to information about majors, degrees, unemployment and earnings.

Core Research: Jobs, Skills, and People

The Center conducts research in three core areas with the goal of better aligning education and training with workforce and labor market demand.

Jobs: focus on the historic and future labor market supply and labor market demand for education

Skills: focus on connecting 21st century competencies with education, training, and applied learning pathways

People: focus on identifying the effect of changing job requirements and skill demand on students and the current workforce, with a focus on varying degrees of access and success by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Career Pathways

• Supportive Services

Goodwill Industries International


Goodwill works to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by strengthening communities, eliminating barriers to opportunity, and helping people in need reach their full potential through learning and the power of work.

Goodwill’s 21st Century Initiative

On the occasion of its 100th anniversary in 2002, Goodwill Industries launched an international workforce development initiative designed to get millions of people into the workplace and up the career ladder by the year 2020.

This plan includes broad strategies for getting people into good jobs that enable them to become self-suficient. [Such strategies include] training people for careers in the 21st century workforce, pro-viding family services that support worker success, increasing the use of technology to promote worker success, and developing business opportunities that offer good jobs to people who have been considered unemployable in the past.

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Basic Skills Improvement

• Career Pathways

• Supportive Services

Graduation Alliance


Graduation Alliance works to give students of all ages the resources, support and flexibility they need to reach their educational goals and prepare for what’s next. In partnership with educators, economic development agencies and community leaders across the nation, Graduation Alliance provides versatile pathways to high school graduation, fosters college and career exploration, and connects job creators to skilled and ready workers.

Alternative Education Programs

[N]ot everyone benefits equally from the traditional brick-and-mortar model of education. That’s why hundreds of state and local secondary school leaders partner with Graduation Alliance each year to implement Dropout Recovery, Credit Recovery & Accrual, and Alternative Programming solutions.

Graduation Alliance’s approach to alternative education is holistic in nature, pairing time and place flexibility with the social-emotional supports that many at-risk and non-traditional students require in order to stay on track for graduation and successfully transition to life after high school.

Exploration and Planning Platforms

Graduation Alliance’s Exploration and Planning Platforms cultivate early development of the post-secondary awareness middle and high school students require, guiding them through a progression of intuitive, age-appropriate discovery and organization tools.

Workforce Diploma Program

In partnership with economic and workforce development leaders across the country, Graduation Al-liance is initiating the nation’s first Workforce Diploma program. Targeting working-age adults who exited high school prior to graduation, the Workforce Diploma is fully accredited, available entirely online and on track to yield a return on investment of more than 70:1.

Program participants must be willing and able to demonstrate a profound commitment to their per-sonal advancement. Those who do will graduate the program with a high school diploma, not a GED, and will possess basic and skill-specific credentials, earn industry-based certifications and feel empowered to take on challenging, in-demand careers.

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Career Pathways

• College Completion

• Sector Strategies

• Supportive Services


Heldrich Center for Workforce Development


The John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, based at Rutgers University, is dedicated to raising the effectiveness of the American workplace by strengthening workforce education, placement and training programs, and policies. The Center’s efforts concentrate on nurturing con-crete innovations in workforce practices, as well as addressing broad-scale economic policy changes that ensure Americans receive the education and training they need to be productive and prosperous in the knowledge economy of the 21st century. The Center embodies its slogan “Solutions at Work” by not only documenting challenges facing the nation’s workforce, but also partnering with industry leaders and educators to seek out practical solutions that translate into effective government and workforce policy. Ultimately, the Center serves as a laboratory to create innovative, applied solutions to workplace challenges.

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Career Pathways

• Sector Strategies

International Economic Development Council (IEDC) www.iedconline.org

The International Economic Development Council is a non-profit, non-partisan membership orga-nization serving economic developers. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. … Our members are employed in a wide variety of settings includ-ing local, state, provincial and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions. When we succeed, our members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions.


• Workforce Development Course

• Workforce Development Manual

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Basic Skills Improvement

• Career Pathways

• Sector Strategies

Jobs for the Future (JFF)


Jobs for the Future is a national nonprofit that works to ensure educational and economic opportunity for all. We develop innovative career pathways, educational resources, and public policies that increase college readiness and career success and build a more highly skilled workforce.


JFF expands the capacity of a wide range of clients—including school districts, community colleges, employers, nonprofits, workforce boards, and state agencies—to dramatically improve the career prospects of those struggling to succeed in today’s economy. Our services build on 30 years of experience in designing, implementing, and supporting accelerated pathways that propel at-risk youth and low-skilled adults to enter college and earn postsecondary credentials with immediate labor market value.


JFF works with public and private partners across the country to design and expand models that build basic skills, improve high school instruction, increase graduation rates, increase college entry, and provide crucial supports to help college students and job trainees advance toward credentials with high labor market value.

[These initiatives are concentrated in three categories:] preparing for college and career, earning postsecondary credentials, and advancing careers and economic growth. Some examples from each category include:

• Early College Design (Preparing for College and Career)

• Accelerate TEXAS (Earning Postsecondary Credentials and Advancing Careers and Econom-ic Growth)

• CareerSTAT (Advancing Careers and Economic Growth)

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Basic Skills Improvement

• Career Pathways

• College Completion

• Sector Strategies

• Supportive Services

Learning for Action (LFA)


Learning for Action’s mission is to enhance the impact and sustainability of social sector orga-nizations through highly customized strategy, evaluation, and research services. Since our start in 2000, we have engaged with hundreds of organizations across the United States and internationally to collect and interpret the data they need to design and implement strategies that achieve their de-sired impact.


• Strategy Development Evaluation

Promising Practices to Develop a Preschool-through-Third Grade Model in Marin County

ResearchSince 2011, LFA has partnered with the Marin Community Foundation (MCF) to evaluate MCF’s Early School Success Initiative, an ambitious five-plus year investment to develop a pre-school-through-third grade model in Marin County, designed to bridge the divide between early learning and K-

As part of the evaluation, LFA developed a set of learning briefs, exploring in depth four key topics at the heart of Marin County’s efforts to develop a PreK-3 model:

• Professional development for teachers and administrators

• Building partnerships between PreK and K-12

• Family engagement

• Kindergarten readiness

Educating Plus 50 Learners

LFA collaborated with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) to develop a national survey of community colleges. This survey was designed to assess the progress of commu-nity colleges in offering programming for students 50 and older. Of those that responded (204 out of all 1,174 community colleges nationwide), 84 percent reported having such programs (either in academics and enrichment, workforce training and career development, or volunteering). However, most colleges simply take existing offerings and market them to this demographic. Colleges still have a long way to go in truly customizing programming to this important age group.

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Career Pathways

Living Cities www.livingcities.org

Founded in 1991, Living Cities is a collaboration of 22 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions. In nearly 20 years, Living Cities’ members have collectively invested almost $1 billion, helping shape federal funding programs, redirecting public and private resources and helping communities to build homes, stores, schools, community facilities and more. However, our members are not simply funders. They shape our work and priorities by participating on the Living Cities board of directors, four standing committees and three working groups. In sum, our members contribute the time of 80-plus expert program staff toward improving the lives of low-income people and the cities where we live.

We have spent the last three years working to determine how we can best serve as a trigger to bring philanthropy, investors and the public sector together to help re-imagine underinvested neigh-borhoods and find new ways to connect low-income people to economic opportunities wherever they exist in a region. Fundamentally, Living Cities works to re-engineer long-broken public systems such as education, workforce development and transportation for the 21st century,

Prepare Learning Circle Initiative

StriveTogether and Living Cities are partnering to launch the Prepare Learning Circle, a Collective Impact initiative to support communities in driving collaboration around workforce develop-ment and employment outcomes.

Five members of StriveTogether’s Cradle to Career Network were selected to participate in this effort. Each community will receive a $60,000 grant over two years to strengthen their Collective Impact efforts in workforce development and career readiness. They will also receive strategic assistance from the StriveTogether team and national experts in workforce development, as well as engage with peers focused on similar work to capture and share emerging lessons to inform the Cradle to Career Network and the Collective Impact field as a whole.

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Sector Strategies

Manufacturing Institute at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) www.themanufacturinginstitute.org

The Manufacturing Institute is the authority on the attraction, qualification, and development of world-class manufacturing talent.

In partnership with some of the leading consulting firms throughout the country, the Institute studies the critical issues facing manufacturing and then applies that research to develop and identify solutions that are implemented by companies, schools, governments, and organizations across the country.

Skills Certification System

The Manufacturing Institute launched the Skills Certification System to address the skills gap challenge and to promote a renaissance of manufacturing education across the country. This system is designed by and for industry, and endorsed by NAM. The Manufacturing Institute has developed a variety of toolkits to help employers, educators and communities across the nation implement skills certifications to build a skilled manufacturing talent pipeline.


• •


Military and Veterans

Women in Manufacturing

The solutions and actions of the Institute are primarily project-based. Our current set of activities includes:

• Attracting the next generation of manufacturing workers

• Implementing a set of national industry skill credentials

• Assisting manufacturers in developing a qualified and diversified talent pipeline


Today, our on-going research projects are focused on understanding the workforce issues that manufactures face, determining the structural cost differences between the world’s leading economic countries, and measuring the public perception of manufacturing.

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Sector Strategies

• Skills Development



MDRC is committed to finding solutions to some of the most dificult problems facing the na-tion. We design new interventions, evaluate existing programs using the highest research standards, and provide technical assistance to build better programs and deliver effective interventions at scale. We work as an intermediary, bringing together public and private funders to test new policy-relevant ideas, and communicate what we learn to policymakers and practitioners, all with the goal of improving the lives of low-income individuals, families, and children.

Work and Income Security Projects

[Through its projects, MDRC researches] what works best to improve the economic and social health of low-income workers and communities. [These projects are centered on seven focus areas]:

• Job retention and advancement

• Housing and community initiatives

• Welfare reform

• Barriers to employment

• Financial incentives

• Work supports and asset building

• Prisoner reentry

Recent Research Reports

• Testing the Next Generation of Subsidized Employment Programs

• Reminders to Pay

• Encouraging Nonretirement Savings at Tax Time

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Sector Strategies

Mi Casa Resource Center www.micasaresourcecenter.org

Mi Casa works to advance the economic success of Latino and working families by expanding opportunities for educational, professional and entrepreneurial advancement.

Through our Family Economic and Education Centers, Mi Casa provides … workforce, small business, and youth development programs. The centers also provide a mix of Economic and Educational Advancement services to assist families on their path to economic success through partner-ships on-site with some of the area’s most respected organizations.

Women’s Business Center Programs

• Entrepreneurial training

• Individual business counseling

• Technology training

• Networking opportunities

Economic Advancement Programs

• ESL classes

• GED preparation

• Computer literacy classes

• Legal night

• Financial coaching

• Free tax prep

Workplace Skills Training

• Problem solving and communication

• Professional relationship training

• Stress and time management

• Financial literacy

• Microsoft applications, email and internet

Certification Programs

• CareerReady Colorado (CRC) certification

• Site visits and practical application of skills

Job Search Support Program

• Career pathway and personal branding

• Practical interview preparation

• Resume, cover letter, and references

• Job placement assistance and on-site interviews

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Basic Skills Improvement

• Career Pathways

• Skills Development

• Supportive Services

• Two-Generation Approach

For more information, see the Mi Casa case study in the full report.

National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE)


The National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity is a consortium of state and local agencies, corporations, and national organizations. Through its four lines of business—professional development, technical assistance, research and evaluation, and advocacy—NAPE strives to achieve its mission of building educators’ capacity to implement effective solutions for increasing student access, educa-tional equity, and workforce diversity.

NAPE and its Education Foundation believe that if women, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities were prepared to work in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers in proportion to their current workforce engagement, high-tech labor demands by business could be met, U.S. global competitiveness would improve, global challenges could be better addressed, and women’s economic power would increase, leading to stronger families and communities.


• The STEM Equity Pipeline: Promoting institutional change program that improves enroll-ment, retention, and completion of students in STEM

• Micro-messaging to Reach and Teach Every Student

• Focus on Counselor’s Initiative: Coaching counselors to encourage girls and underrepresented populations in STEM careers

• STEM Equity Tools and Resources: Providing tools to support the three programs including webinars, research-based materials, and effective practices resources

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Career Pathways

• Sector Strategies

National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) www.naswa.org

The National Association of State Workforce Agencies is a national organization of state administrators of the publicly funded state workforce system, including the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), employment services, training programs, unemployment insurance, employment statistics and labor market and workforce information. NASWA delivers policy expertise on workforce development, including unemployment insurance and other transitional support, as the voice of state workforce agencies.


Enhance the state workforce agencies’ ability to accomplish their goals, statutory roles and respon-sibilities.


Drive the national agenda for workforce policy by:

• Being the respected voice of state workforce systems

• Defining national policy on workforce and related issues

• Aligning the work of our national partners

Provide high value member services by:

• Building an active network for state administrators;

• Sharing best practices to successfully advance the national and state workforce system; im-proving business climate and economic opportunities for employers and job seekers; and by

• Providing workforce program and technology solutions

Guiding Principles

• Promote the publicly funded workforce system and drive the national agenda on workforce development as the voice of state workforce agencies

• Lead coordination of local, state and federal oficials who have responsibility for the success of the workforce system in meeting employer and job seeker needs

• Further the understanding that the core function of the workforce system is to meet employers’ needs for a qualified workforce, to find good and stable employment for workers and to help workers advance their careers

• Advance the state’s role in the workforce system to ensure quality and consistency of customer service across America’s labor markets

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Career Pathways

• Sector Strategies

National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP)



Our national association advocates for the workforce industry and develops the professional capacity of workforce professionals seeking credentialing, applied learning opportunities, and tools to excel in serving job seekers and business.


Identify New Funding Sources

• NAWDP Funding Connection

• Federal Grant Information

Improve Services for Job Seekers

• Effective Case Management: Key Elements and Practices from the Field

• Career Pathways: A Guide for System Development

Improve Effectiveness for Youth Programs

• Recruitment, Outreach, and Engagement of Disconnected Young Adults under WIOA

• Pathways for Youth Employment: Federal Resources for Employers

Improve Business Engagement

• Handbook for Employers Guidance for Completing Form I-9

• Managing the Talent Pipeline: A New Approach to Closing the Skills Gap

Improve Your Efforts with Priority Populations

• The New Scarlet Letter: Negotiating the U.S. Labor Market with a Criminal Record

• The Transition to Civilian Life: Testing Program Changes to Boost Veteran Employment

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Career Pathways

• Sector Strategies

National Council for Workforce Education (NCWE) www.ncwe.org

The National Council for Workforce Education is committed to promoting excellence and growth in workforce education. As an afiliate council of the American Association of Community Colleges, NCWE provides a national forum for administrators and faculty in workforce education and basic skills, as well as representatives of business, labor, military, and government, to affect and direct the future role of two-year and other post-secondary institutions in workforce education and economic development. NCWE provides the link between policy and workforce education and economic development by providing support, research, and critical information to members on current and future trends and policies.


Through a national forum for administrators and faculty in workforce education and basic skills, NCWE promotes student success and excellence in education and training by providing the link between policy and practice.


NCWE partners with community colleges and community-based organizations across the coun-try in projects and initiatives aimed to improve workforce education programs and increase student success. These projects focus on: career pathways, integrated career pathways, acceleration strategies including prior learning assessment, improved employer engagement; comprehensive student sup-port strategies and other areas which support education and training programs that lead to family wage careers.

• Building Community Partnerships to Serve Immigrant Workers: designed to expand effective community college/worker center/community-based organization partnerships to address the workforce development needs of immigrants and immigrant workers

• Gulf Coast IT Consortium TAACCCT [Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training] Grant Focus on Counselor’s Initiative: building integrated career path-ways and leadership support and capacity at each of the nine colleges; designing comprehen-sive career services; and reaching their employment placement goals

• West Central Job Partnership: NCWE provided consultation and support to West Central Job Partnership in the area of Prior Learning Assessment, including consultation and the facilitation of two on-site workshops with community college and university partners partic-ipating in the OH-Penn Manufacturing Collaborative

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Career Pathways

• Sector Strategies

• Skills Development

• Supportive Services

National Disability Institute (NDI) www.realeconomicimpact.org

In 2005, a small group of parents, family members and individuals with disabilities joined to-gether with leading thinkers and practitioners in the disability and asset building community to launch the National Disability Institute. Unified by common values and a vision to build together a better economic future for individuals with disabilities and their families, NDI was incorporated and approved as a 501(c) (3) nonprofit corporation.


The mission of National Disability Institute is to drive social impact to build a better economic future for people with disabilities and their families.


• Improve collaboration across federal agencies to advance a better economic future for individuals with disabilities.

• Align public policy to promote work, saving, and asset accumulation.

• Develop and document pathways to improved economic self-suficiency for youth and adults with disabilities.


• Tax Preparation – Virtual Toolkit, EITC, MyFreeTaxes, Virtual VITA, Deaf Tax, Tax Prep Resources

• Financial Education – Financial Wellness Webinar Series for People Living with Multiple Scle-rosis (MS), Financial Success Collaborative, Building Economic Strength Together (BEST) Project, Financial Education Toolkit

• Employment – LEAD Center, TAP Talent Employment Program, Disability Employment Initiative

• Asset Development – National Disability Institute’s Asset Development Curriculum, Train-the-Trainer Asset Development Trainings, Assistive Technology Loan Program

• Public Benefits Planning – Work Incentives and Financial Planning, and the Changing Face of Benefits

Public Policy

• NDI Public Policy Agenda

• ABLE Act

• Washington Insider Newsletter


• Document Library – Find Reports, Publications and other documents

• REI Network News–NDI’s monthly newsletter that provides the latest information and resources for REI Network members

• Webinars – View information on upcoming webinars and archives of past NDI webinars

• NDI Online Classroom – To assist with expanding knowledge and awareness, NDI offers an online classroom with courses that are available to all at no cost

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Career Pathways

• Sector Strategies

• Supportive Services

National Fund for Workforce Solutions


The National Fund for Workforce Solutions is a growing national partnership of employers, workers, communities and philanthropy that strengthens local economies by implementing demand-driven strategies that create talent supply chains, advance workers into family-supporting careers, and improve workforce development systems.

The National Fund supports regional funding collaboratives in over 30 communities across the country. Together, they organize industry partnerships to develop a pipeline of skilled workers to meet the needs of employers and promote improvement to business prac-tices and public policies that lead to better career opportunities for our nation’s workers and jobseekers.

Better Skills, Better Jobs Campaign

Funded by the Prudential Foundation, the National Fund is partnering with employers and regional funder collaboratives to foster improvements in employer practices and work-force policies. The initiative will generate numerous examples of employers that invest in their frontline workers and achieve business benefits from those investments.

The Boeing Manufacturing OJT (On-the-Job Training) Project

Aimed at encouraging manufacturing firms to bring on new employees. This project will place over 100 job seekers trained through manufacturing workforce partnerships into OJT positions that will enhance their prospects for long-term employment. Employer partners will receive a partial wage subsidy for 10 weeks and workers prepared in programs tailored to their needs


CareerSTAT is an initiative to document and endorse the business case for investments in frontline health care workers and to establish an employer-led advocacy council to promote investments that yield strong skill development and career outcomes for low-wage, frontline hospital workers.

Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnership

Comprised of employers from a range of industries who are concerned about our nation’s skills gap, who are working with local partners to train and hire community residents for skilled jobs, and who want our country’s policymakers to follow suit and invest, aggressively and effectively, in the skills of America’s workers.

Impacting Policy

The National Fund is leading the way in generating significant outcomes to support improvements in business practices and public policy. This includes changing educational and institutional curricula, sparking investments by employers as well as advancing legislation that increases state investment in workforce development and yields public program improvements.

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Career Pathways

• Job-quality Strategies

• Sector Strategies

• Supportive Services

National Governors Association (NGA)


Founded in 1908, the National Governors Association is the collective voice of the nation’s governors. Its members are the governors of the 55 states, territories and commonwealths.


The NGA is the bipartisan organization of the nation’s governors. Through NGA, gover-nors share best practices, speak with a collective voice on national policy and develop innova-tive solutions that improve state government and support the principles of federalism.


NGA provides governors and their senior staff members with services that range from representing states on Capitol Hill and before the Administration on key federal issues to developing and implementing innovative solutions to public policy challenges through the NGA Center for Best Practices. NGA also provides management and technical assistance to both new and incumbent governors.

The NGA Center for Best Practices Economic, Human Services & Workforce (EHSW) Division provides information, research, policy analysis, technical assistance and resource development for governors and their staff across a range of policy issues. The division covers economic development and innovation; workforce development focused on industry-based strategies; pathways to employment and populations with special needs; and human services for children, youth, low-income families and people with disabilities.

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Career Pathways

• Sector Strategies

National Network of Sector Partners (NNSP)



The National Network of Sector Partners is the national association for sector partnerships and their supporters. NNSP advocates for sector partnerships and works with them to:

• Increase economic security, focusing on low-income individuals, their families, and their communities;

• Meet the workforce-related needs of industry sectors that are important to regional labor markets;

• Strengthen employment equity; and

• Improve regional economic vitality.

Created as an initiative of the Insight Center in 1999, NNSP has hundreds of members na-tionwide and a broader network of over 3,500 sector partnership leaders, policymakers, researchers, business and labor leaders, funders, and other supporters. NNSP works with our national advisory committee, members, and broader network and draws upon their experience to set and achieve our priorities.


• Webinars, Presentations, and Reports

• Insight Center Publications

• 2014 NNSP Virtual Conference Resources

Supporting Sector Partnerships

NNSP supports sector partnerships by:

• Advancing public policy and funding to support sector partnerships

• Guiding development of strategic plans and action plans

• Delivering training, technical assistance, and tools, in person, virtually, and via nnsp.org

• Pursuing strategies to reduce employment disparities that affect people of color, women, and others

• Informing the field about the latest research, success stories, and industry-specific informa-tion

• Conducting research using rigorous methodologies

• Providing NNSP’s website, webinars, newsletters, videos, LinkedIn group, and social media — go-to resources for sector partnerships, policy makers, and others.

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Job-quality Strategies

• Sector Strategies

National Skills Coalition www.nationalskillscoalition.org

National Skills Coalition is a broad-based coalition working toward a vision of an America that grows its economy by investing in its people so that every worker and every industry has the skills to compete and prosper. We engage in organizing, advocacy, and communications to advance state and federal policies that support these goals—policies that are based on the on-the-ground expertise of our members.

National Initiatives

Business Leaders United (BLU)

BLU provides a common platform from which diverse business leaders can jointly communicate to national policymakers, the press and the American public about the effective industry-based strat-egies they’ve developed which could serve as models for a more comprehensive national skills policy.

Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce (CIAW)

CIAW calls on Congress and the Administration to commit to investing, more broadly and more effectively, in the skills of America’s workforce—through our nation’s workforce development, youth, adult education, career and technical education, and industry-targeted higher-education pro-grams—so that more people can develop market-ready skills to meet the needs of U.S. industries and the larger U.S. economy.

NDD United

NDD United is a coalition of leaders joining forces in an effort to save public services—known in Congress as nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs—from devastating budget cuts. NDD programs are core services provided by the government for the benefit of everyone, including medi-cal research, public health, infrastructure and education.

Workforce Data Quality Campaign

This campaign advocates for inclusive, aligned and market-relevant data systems used for ad-vancing the nation’s skilled workforce and helping U.S. industries compete in a changing economy.


• Webinars and multimedia presentations on workforce development

• Publications on state and federal investments, in regard to American industries

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Career Pathways

• Sector Strategies

• Skills Development

National Urban League


The National Urban League is a historic civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment in order to elevate the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities. NUL spearheads the efforts of its local afiliates through the development of programs, public policy research and advocacy. Today, it has 88 afiliates serving 300 communities, in 36 states and the District of Columbia, providing direct services that impact and improve the lives of more than 2 million people nationwide.

Programs: Workforce Development

Workforce Development delivers employment services to individuals and families to encourage economic self-sufficiency through career counseling, job placement, retention and advancement.

[The] Mature Worker Program (MWP) is funded by the Department of Labor (DOL), serving low-income and employed persons who are 55 years and older. The goal is to increase the number of full and part-time mature workers in the private sector by fostering opportunities in community service agencies and providing job training, placement and employment retention services.

[The] Urban Youth Empowerment Program (UYEP) prepares youth, ages 18-24, for entry into the world of work through a comprehensive set of services including: case management, community service with faith-based organizations, mentorship, internships, occupational skills training, personal development and unsubsidized and/or postsecondary employment.


NUL has a variety of publications to support its on-the-ground efforts. These publications in-clude workbooks, the “State of Black America” report, Urban Influence magazine, fact sheets, diver-sity studies, policy institute reports, and more.

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Basic Skills Improvement

• Career Pathways

• Sector Strategies

NYC Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO)


The Center for Economic Opportunity fights the cycle of poverty in New York City through in-novative programs that build human capital and improve financial security. Launched by the Ofice of the Mayor in 2006, CEO works with both city agencies and the federal government to implement successful anti-poverty initiatives in New York and partner cities across the United States. CEO’s most recognized achievements have been the creation of the Ofice of Financial Empowerment, SaveUSA, CUNY ASAP, Jobs-Plus, and a more accurate measure of poverty. Several CEO initiatives have been incorporated into the Young Men’s Initiative, a comprehensive and expansive program designed to address disparities between young African-American and Latino men and their peers.


To analyze the causes, scope, and consequences of poverty.


• Access NYC

• Advance at Work

• Community Partners (CBO Outreach)

• Employment Works

• Jobs-Plus

• MillionTrees Training Program

• Nursing Career Ladders: LPN Program

• NYC Business Solutions Training Funds

• NYC Training Guide

• Sector-Focused Career Centers

• Works Progress Program

• Young Adult Internship Program

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Basic Skills Improvement

• Career Pathways

• Sector Strategies

• Skills Development

• Supportive Services

The Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI)


The Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute works to improve the lives of people who need home or residential care—by improving the lives of the workers who provide that care. Our goal is to en-sure caring, stable relationships between consumers and workers, so that both may live with dignity, respect and independence: Quality care through quality jobs.


We design competency-based entry-level and advanced training programs for direct-care workers that improve educational and employment outcomes as well as customer satisfaction.

Adult Learner-Centered Training

The trainer ensures that the appropriate learning experiences and resources are available, asks questions that guide participants’ inquiry and reflection, and gives feedback on their level of success


• Apprenticeships in Long-Term Services and Supports – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Registered Apprenticeship programs in healthcare are designed to support employers in recruiting and retaining skilled employees.

• Case Studies

• PHI Curricula – PHI is an expert at developing engaging, activity-based curricula for en-try-level, in-service, and advanced trainings for nursing assistants, home health aides, and personal assistants.

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Career Pathways

• Job-quality Strategies

• Sector Strategies

Pathways to Work at United Way of Metropolitan Dallas


Pathways to Work, led by United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, is a partnership between employers, funders and training providers to equip individuals with post-secondary skill training and credentials that lead to better-paying jobs. Job training and placement are key components of United Way’s com-munity goal to move 250,000 people out of poverty permanently.

Nurse Aid Certification Program

Students in the community-based nurse aid certification program provided by El Centro College are taught skills essential to the care of hospital patients and residents in long-term care. Participants can earn up to four credentials—Certified Nursing Aid, EKG, Phlebotomy and Community Health Worker Certification– that provide an entry point to a variety of allied health and nursing careers. Sharing Life Community Outreach provides support services so students have the necessary resources to complete the training program.

IT-Ready Initiative

The Per Scholas IT-Ready Initiative provides technology job training, certification, placement and career development services in a rapid 8-week program. Participants earn the Comp TIA A+ certifica-tion and are prepared for a variety of entry level positions in IT, such as data center technicians, desktop support specialists, IT support analysts and network field technicians. In addition to financial grant support, Per Scholas receives human and social capital from United Way’s Ground Floor initiative.

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Career Pathways

• Sector Strategies

• Skills Development

Per Scholas


Per Scholas was founded more than 20 years ago to break the cycle of poverty by providing technology access and education in underserved communities. We accomplish this mission today by:

• Creating opportunities for people who work hard

• Closing the skills divide

• Achieving diversity

Partnership program

At Per Scholas, we work with [partners] to design industry- and job-specific courses based on [part-ners’] IT needs, then provide technology skills and professional development training to our students to meet those needs.

Our partnership program is rooted in five pillars of engagement: volunteering, leadership, hiring, giving, and computer recycling.


• The Urban Development Center (UDC) is a social venture that brings together Per Scholas and technology consulting firm Doran Jones. A full-service software engineering and testing center, the UDC provid[es] its corporate clients with an opportunity to onshore technology jobs.

• The Symantec Cyber Career Connection (SC3) is a collaborative effort to address the global workforce gap in cybersecurity. SC3 was launched in 2014 with the Symantec Foundation at the Clinton Global Initiative America summer meeting. The program provides underserved young adults and veterans with targeted education, training and certifications that position them to fill in-demand cybersecurity jobs and enter long-term careers.

• Over the next three years, Per Scholas will inspire, train and support 1000 WOMEN IN TECH across its operations nationwide. This goal is building on important gains: more than 700 women have enrolled in its program since 2011, with more than three in four women graduating and obtaining entry-level IT jobs within a year with average starting salaries equal and sometimes higher than their male counterparts.

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Career Pathways

• Sector Strategies

• Skills Development

For more information, see the Per Scholas case study in the full report.

Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources


In 1970, the Center for the Study of Human Resources was established by Ray Marshall to support the research of pressing social and economic problems facing American workers.


The Ray Marshall Center identifies and fosters creative solutions to challenging education, workforce, and social problems through applied research, policy analysis, and innovative program design.


• Two-Generation Anthology: Ascend – Includes essays from leading practitioners, policymakers and experts, and researchers, capturing the momentum, challenges, and opportunities for two-generation approaches emerging at the local, state, and national levels

• Evaluation of Current and Future Workforce Need – Assess current and future workforce needs in identity management, security, and privacy

• Adult Basic Education Innovation Grant (ABE-IG) – Aims to prepare unemployed and under-employed adults for career-path employment and post-secondary education in high-demand or targeted occupations

• An Evaluation of Local Investments in Workforce Development – Examines outcomes and im-pacts for participants in Travis County-funded community-based workforce programs over time

• Growing Regional Opportunity for the Workforce – Is a partnering with regional employers, one-stop operators, community colleges, training providers, and community-based organizations, and with national workforce intermediary Jobs for the Future, to align and strengthen workforce system components to accelerate credential attainment and career entry by lower-skilled adults and meet the skilled workforce needs of key industry sector employers

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Career Pathways

• Sector Strategies

• Two-Generation Approach



Our mission [at Skill Quest North Texas] is to clear a path for low to moderate income adults living in Dallas, Collin, and contiguous counties to jobs paying a family living wage with benefits and a career path, while providing local employers with a highly skilled workforce ready to work. Our vision is a future in which every person has access to the highest-quality education to develop their full potential at affordable costs.


  • Accelerated college prep – Intensive program, offered in partnership with community colleges
  • Assistance with tuition, fees and books
  • Child care and Transportation
  • Guidance/VIP (Vision, Initiative, Perseverance) – Case manager meets with participants regularly, to help them navigate their progress toward graduation and career.
  • Training
    • Current Programs include Health Occupations, Information Technology, Mechanical/Repair, Logistics Management, Construction, Auto Repair, Auto Body Repair
  • Placement–To assist in finding employment with a good salary, benefits, and opportunity for growth/advancement

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Career Pathways

• Sector Strategies

• Skills Development

• Supportive Services

For more information, see the Skill QUEST case study in the full report.


SkillUp Washington


SkillUp Washington connects low-income individuals with living-wage jobs in high-demand fields in Washington state. Through collaborative partnerships, innovative funding programs and catalytic oppor-tunities, SkillUp Washington creates pathways and opportunities for thousands of low-income individ-uals. Since 2007, SkillUp Washington has partnered with employers, community colleges, government, and community organizations in Washington state, fostering cross-system collaboration and partnership through leveraging, incubating and short-term piloting grants. We focus on the state’s highest-demand fields: manufacturing, transportation, construction, business, healthcare, and technology.

Generation Work

In December 2015, SkillUp Washington was awarded a $100,000 Generation Work planning grant from the Annie E Casey Foundation to build on-ramps for young adults 18-29 to demand-driv-en employment and training opportunities with a particular focus on young adults without a sec-ondary credential.

College for Working Adults

These programs were designed to promote student success; move students to a credential more quickly; streamline registration, course selection and scheduling to simplify college navigation; and integrate “soft skills” development to ensure students are adequately prepared for the workplace.


In June 2011, SkillUp Washington launched a multi-partner job training initiative to help veter-ans, minorities and women enter careers in green construction and utilities. Over 250 people began pre-apprenticeship training at one of three possible programs: Apprenticeship and Non-traditional Employment for Women (ANEW); Veterans in Construction Electrical (VICE Case Study); and Vocational Outside Line Training Academy (VOLTA).

Skill Link

In 2011, SkillUp Washington piloted an ambitious three-year statewide initiative to prepare young adults with skills too low to qualify for college, but who are motivated to succeed, in Inte-grated Basic Education Skills Training (I-BEST) classes at Washington community colleges. This initiative, called Skill Link, resulted in unique partnerships between community colleges, workforce development and community-based partners.

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Basic Skills Improvement

• Career Pathways

• College Completion

• Sector Strategies

• Skills Development

• Supportive Services

W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research www.upjohn.org

The Trustee Corporation, after consultation with national research and policy experts, created on July 1, 1945, what is today the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit research organization. Its in-house staff of researchers, complemented by grants to outside experts, analyzes a host of policy-relevant employment issues. The Institute’s Employment Management Services Division strategically plans and administers the delivery of federal- and state-funded workforce programs for the region.


To research the causes and consequences of unemployment, experimenting with innovative ways to help the unemployed and disseminating research findings

Research: Economic Development

• Industry Studies

• Local Labor Markets

• Regional Policy and Planning

• Transportation and Infrastructure


• Employment Research Data Center

• Online Surveys

• West Michigan Regional Data • Regional Presentations

• National Workforce Investment Areas Map

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Career Pathways

• Sector Strategies

Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW)


Since 1964, Wider Opportunities for Women has promoted empowerment, equity and ec-nomic security across the lifespan. WOW started in its home community of Washington, D.C., and spread throughout the nation, helping women learn to earn through financial education and career preparation, technical and non-traditional skill training, and career development. WOW also advances equal education and employment opportunities, freedom from financial abuse and secure retirement through its advocacy, research, training and technical assistance. WOW was founded by activists Mary D. Janney and Jane Fleming to help women enter the workforce. It wasn’t long, how-ever, before they realized the need for a systematic approach to address inequities in the labor market, and began to expand WOW’s assistance.


WOW works nationally to build pathways to economic security and equality of opportunity for women, families and elders.


• National Center for Women’s Employment Equity: WOW increases resources and opportu-nities for women in non-traditional jobs through a variety of policy and programmatic ini-tiatives. This includes highlighting the importance of legislation which develops resources for pre-apprenticeship and non-traditional vocational skill training; advocating for stronger provisions for gender equity in workforce, vocational education and transportation legislation; and improving equal opportunity regulations for federal contractors and apprenticeships.

Training and Technical Assistance

• Identifying and developing local strategies to improve the economic security of women, girls, families and seniors

• Providing solutions to increase gender equity in the workplace

• Designing curricula, tools and trainings for professionals and their clients • Providing needs assessments to identify system eficacy

• Promoting institutional or systems change around issues of gender equity, family economic security, or economic justice for survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking

Policy Work

WOW advocates and offers resources for federal funding streams that support career awareness and the preparation of women and girls to be competitive job candidates in traditionally male-dominated fields. Some legislation includes:

• Women in Apprenticeable and Nontraditional Occupations Act (WANTO)

• Women and Workforce Investment for Nontraditional Jobs (Women WIN Act)

• Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act

• MAP-21, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Career Pathways

• Sector Strategies

• Supportive Services

Working Families Success Network (WFSN)


The Working Families Success Network (WFSN) approach … at community colleges brings together access to a full range of essential economic supports in a convenient location to help families build self-suficiency, stabilize their finances, and move ahead.

The approach combines what community colleges do so well—provide individuals with training that connects them to dynamic careers—with the financial support necessary to complete education and connect with a career path.

Members in the network receive technical assistance from MDC, community-based organiza-tions, and college leaders on how to implement the WFSN approach and how to expand specialized services. Member colleges participate in an active learning network of institutions that visit fellow WFSN colleges, gather at learning events, and exchange information through regular discussion groups and webinars.

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Career Pathways

• Supportive Services

Working Poor Families Project (WPFP)


The Working Poor Families Project is a national initiative focused on state workforce development policies involving: 1) education and skills training for adults; 2) economic development; and 3) income and work supports. The WPFP supports state nonprofit groups to engage in a two-part, phased process that begins with an in-depth assessment of the economic conditions and state policies affecting working families and is followed by actions to strengthen those conditions and policies.

The WPFP is active in 22 states and the District of Columbia. In each state, the WPFP partners with one or more nonprofit organizations to strengthen state policies to better prepare America’s working families for a more secure economic future.

As a result of their involvement in WPFP, the state nonprofits have:

• Contributed to the strengthening of state policies and practices;

• Increased and sustained state funds that support the goals of the WPFP; and

• Increased their organizational capacity and built important new relationships.

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Supportive Services



In May 1992, the Connecticut General Assembly established The WorkPlace as one of nine Regional Workforce Development Boards in the state to conduct comprehensive planning and coordinate regional workforce development policy and programs. Today, … we continue to prepare people for careers while strengthening the workforce for employers by administering workforce de-velopment funds and coordinating providers of job training and education programs.

Regionally, we work with a wide scope of business leaders, local oficials and other stakeholders to develop innovative workforce development plans that identify and address the area’s employment needs and interests. On a state level, we collaborate with state and local agencies to ensure that we deliver services that are consistent with comprehensive workforce development planning.


The mission of The WorkPlace is to develop a well-educated, well-trained, and self-suficient workforce that can confidently compete in today’s changing global marketplace.

Programs Groups

• Workforce Innovations

• American Job Center

• In Demand

• Re-Entry

• Veterans

• Youth

Platform to Employment

[Platform to Employment] is an innovative solution addressing the unique challenges of return-ing the long-term unemployed to work while providing employers a new avenue to a skilled work-force. Businesses receive a risk-free opportunity to evaluate and consider hiring participants during an eight-week work experience funded by Platform to Employment.

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Career Pathways

• Supportive Services

Year Up


Our mission is to close the Opportunity Divide by providing urban young adults with the skills, experience, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education.

We achieve this mission through a high support, high expectation model that combines market-able job skills, stipends, internships and college credits. Our holistic approach focuses on students’ professional and personal development to place these young adults on a viable path to economic self-suficiency.

Workforce Development Strategies Checklist

• Basic Skills Improvement

• Career Pathways

• Skills Development

For more information, see the Year Up case study in the full report.

Engaging Workforce Development: A Framework for Meeting CRA Obligations


1CRA Regulations, Community Reinvestment Act, FFIEC, https://www.ffiec.gov/cra/regulation.htm 

2An introduction to many of the Federal Reserve System’s publications and programs related to workforce development is available at www.FedCommunities.org. Additional information is provid-ed in the appendixes of this publication.

3See “Interagency Questions and Answers Regarding Community Reinvestment (Questions and Answers)” at https://www.ffiec.gov/cra/qnadoc.htm.

4For a list of workforce development boards and contacts, see the National Association of Work-force Boards website, www.nawb.org/about_us.asp.

5For more information on the public workforce system, see the U.S. Department of Labor web-site, https://www.doleta.gov/business/pws.cfm.

6See the National Skills Coalition website, www.nationalskillscoalition.org/federal-policy/sec-tor-partnerships, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s publication “Addressing Employment Needs through Sector Partnerships: Case studies from across the Federal Reserve’s Fourth District,” Aug, 15, 2016.

7To compare how the Alliance for Quality Career Pathways Framework and WIOA define career pathways, see “Side by Side: Alliance for Quality Career Pathways Framework 1.0 and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA),” CLASP/Alliance for Quality Career Pathways, February 2015.

8For an example, see the Working Poor Families Project, www.workingpoorfamilies.org.

9Organizations championing these approaches include the Aspen Institute, National Fund for Workforce Solutions and the Hitachi Foundation.

10For an overview, see “High Road WIOA: Building Higher Job Quality into Workforce De-velopment” and for case studies, see the Hitachi Foundation’s Pioneer Employers Initiative at www. hitachifoundation.org/our-work/good-companies-at-work/pioneer-employers.

11Competency Model Clearinghouse, CareerOneStop, U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, www.careeronestop.org/competencymodel/.

12See “Employability Skills Framework,” U.S. Department of Education, http://cte.ed.gov/em-ployabilityskills. For more information, see “Closing the Skills Gap,” http://businessroundtable.org/ issue-hub/closing-the-skills-gap, and “Closing America’s Skills Gap: A Business Roundtable Vision and Action Plan,” the Business Roundtable, December 2014.

13For an overview, see “Two-Generation Strategies for Expanding the Middle Class,” by Tara Smith and Rheagan Coffey, in Transforming U.S. Workforce Policies for the 21st Century, ed. Carl Van Horne, Tammy Edwards and Todd Greene, Kansas City: Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, 2015.

14For additional discussion of integrating aspects of a workforce development system, see “State Sector Strategies Coming of Age: Implications for State Workforce Policymakers,” by Lindsey Wool-sey and Garrett Groves, National Governors Association, January 2013.

15The four statutory ratings are “outstanding,” “satisfactory,” “needs to improve,” and “substantial noncompliance.” For more information, see FFIEC Interagency CRA Rating Search at https:// www.ffiec.gov/%5C/craratings/default.aspx.

16Under the CRA regulations, asset-size thresholds are used to define “small,” “intermediate small” and “large” financial institutions. These thresholds are updated annually. For details, see “Explanation of the Community Reinvestment Act Asset-Size Threshold Change.”

17See note 3.

18A bank’s assessment area is defined as on or more geographic area(s) that is delineated by the bank and used by the regulatory agency in evaluating the bank’s record of helping meet the credit needs of its community. See “A Banker’s Quick Reference Guide to CRA,” Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Sept. 1, 2005.

19A bank’s performance context is the baseline understanding of information about the bank’s assessment area, including: demographic data, lending, investment and service opportunities, a bank’s product offerings and business strategy, capacity and constraints, past performance and the performance of similarly situated lenders. For more information, see “Understanding Community Development Needs Through the CRA Performance Context” by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, December 8, 2014.

20See note 4.

21See the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s CRA OneSource, https://www.kansascityfed. org/community/cdi/craonesource

22To hear from participants about their successes, go to www.captulsa.org/careeradvance to watch program videos.

23According to Per Scholas, “Agile is not a methodology, but more so an alternative to traditional project management. You will often see Scrum Master and Agile together. Scrum Masters manage the process by which information is exchanged. Both of these relate to cybersecurity curricula. We won’t be teaching agile and scrum just yet, but we are planning to later in 2017.”

24According to Per Scholas, “A SOC is a centralized area in a business that monitors and defends traffic, potential risks and breaches. Most major companies, banks and the three big cloud providers (Amazon, Google and Microsoft) have them. They are important because of their ability to stop a breach or hacking.”

25See the dataset Community and Technical Colleges 6-year Graduation Rates of First-Time Entering Undergraduates, Fall 2009, Enrolled For 12 or More SCH, Texas Higher Education Coor-dinating Board, Fall 2009, p.157.

26See the Project QUEST website, www.questsa.org.

27See the Capital IDEA website, www.capitalidea.org/about.

28See the Capital IDEA Houston website, www.capitalideahouston.org.

29See the Year Up article “How to Get into Banking Without a College Degree,” by Alan Kline, American Banker, April 9, 2015.

30This template is taken from “Healthy Communities: A Framework for Meeting CRA Obligations,” Elizabeth Sobel Blum, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Special Report, March 2014.

31See “A Banker’s Quick Reference Guide to CRA,” Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Sept. 1, 2005. For the complete definition of community development, see “Part 228 – Community Reinvestment (Regulation BB),” Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Government Publishing Office, November 14, 2016.

32See note 3. 33See note 3.

34For information on the multiplier effects of jobs, see Not Your Father’s Factory Job: Manufacturing and Economic Development” podcast by Teresa Cheeks Wilson and Jay Moon, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, May 2011, https://www.frbatlanta.org/podcasts/transcripts/economic-develop-ment/110504-manufacturing-and-economic-development.aspx

35To learn more about health impact assessments, see the Health Impact Project website, Pew Charitable Trusts, www.pewtrusts.org/en/projects/health-impact-project.

36To identify the Federal Reserve district for your area, go to www.FedCommunities.org and click on “Find your Fed District.”


Our appreciation goes to the following reviewers for sharing their insights and expertise:

Stuart Andreason, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Jeane Burruss, Oklahoma Ofice of Workforce Development Tony Davis, Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Tammy Edwards, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Jessica Farr, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Todd Greene, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Garrett Groves, Center for Public Policy Priorities

Heidi Kaplan, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System Jason Keller, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

William Kelver, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Keith Lawing, Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas Roy C. Lopez, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Edison Reyes, Federal Reserve Bank of New York Chris Shannon, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Theresa Stark, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System Diane van Gelder, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Our appreciation goes to the following organizations for providing information for their case studies: CAP Tulsa, Mi Casa, Per Scholas, Skill QUEST and Year Up.

Our appreciation also goes to Lucy Wilson of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and Brian Kantan-ka of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, who compiled the information for this publication’s Appendix 3: Experts in Workforce Development.


Elizabeth Sobel Blum, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Steven Shepelwich, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City


Kathy Thacker, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas


Beth Norman Schneider, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City


About the Authors

Elizabeth Sobel Blum

Elizabeth Sobel Blum is a senior community development advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, where she promotes community and economic development and fair and impartial access to credit. Her areas of focus include workforce development, health, early childhood education, commu-nity development finance and small business development. For example, Sobel Blum’s research, publications and collaborations help the Bank in its efforts to connect workforce development and health entities with the community and economic development sectors. Her publications include “Engaging Workforce Development: A Framework for Meeting Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Obligations,” “Regional Talent Pipelines: Collaborating with Industry to Build Opportunities in Texas” and “Healthy Communities: A Framework for Meeting CRA Obligations.”

Sobel Blum serves on the boards of national nonprofit ChangeLab Solutions and the Texas non-profit First3Years. She earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Dallas, an MA from American University and a BA from Northwestern University.

Steven Shepelwich

Steven Shepelwich is a senior community development advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Oklahoma City Branch. He leads the branch efforts to promote economic development and fair and impartial access to financial services in Oklahoma’s low- to moderate-income communities and manages the Tenth Federal Reserve District’s workforce development program areas. In this role, he has led a research and outreach initiative on the district’s unbanked market, developed programming to raise job quality in lower-wage jobs and organized national conferences on innovations in consumer financial services, asset-based approaches in rural development and workforce development strategies.

Shepelwich holds a BBA in marketing from Texas A&M University and an MS in resource development from Michigan State University. He is a graduate of the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a Credit Union Development Educator. He is also a member of the Governor’s Council for Workforce and Economic Development, Oklahoma’s state workforce development board.


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