It was so refreshing to see our project participants in person in Washington, D.C. earlier this month. We’ve made great progress conducting this dialogue virtually, but coming together in person was an invaluable opportunity to solidify connections as we head into the final months of our year-long endeavor.
The challenges we are working to solve are more urgent than ever. While the recent jobs report was relatively strong, the pathways to reliable work and upward economic mobility remain daunting for many Americans – curbing their ability to grow in their careers and increase their income to better care for themselves and their families.
We had the privilege of hearing from panelists from a wide range of perspectives in our last meeting including: KentuckianaWorks College Access Center, American Institute for Research, National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, The Burning Glass Institute , McDonald’s Corporation, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Hostos Community College of The City University of New York, and Markle Foundation.
These discussions included the following critical takeaways:
- Transforming Public Workforce Investment: Panelists led an engaging discussion around how to make workforce funds, both public and private, more flexible and effective to benefit both employers and employees.
- Employer Driven Change: We learned what investing in workers can look like and what it would take for small- and medium-sized businesses to be able to embrace earn and learn models.
- Shifting Narratives Around Worker Qualifications: Our final panel focused on how to implement skills-based hiring and improving information ecosystems so that adult workers without a traditional four-year degree know the career pathways available to them.
These insights and innovations will inform the final recommendations for this project in a myriad of ways and set the tone for productive break-out sessions in which smaller groups reached consensus on core areas in which to focus our efforts: earn and learn models, employer-led solutions, and essential skills.
Over the next few weeks, the Convergence team is incorporating the lessons and feedback from this latest meeting with the new focus areas and drafting an initial version of the Blueprint for Action. We look forward to keeping you apprised of those developments as the Convergence Dialogue on Pathways to Better Jobs charges full-steam ahead to build economic mobility and financial security for generations to come.
Director, Convergence Dialogue on Pathways to Better Jobs
Convergence Center for Policy Resolution