• Overview

    Since 2007, the Ohio Workforce Coalition brings together leaders from education and training institutions, economic and workforce development organizations, business and industry, labor, and human service providers. The Coalition promotes public policies that build the skills of adult workers, meet employer skill needs, and strengthen the workforce system to ensure opportunity and prosperity for Ohio families.
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Northeast Ohio Workforce Development and Job Training Funding Opportunity; WorkAdvance program to pilot in region

October 14, 2010

Northeast Ohio is one of three areas selected nationwide to receive funding to implement a new workforce development initiative called WorkAdvance, through an award by the federal government’s Social Innovation Fund (SIF). SIF was created to help communities collaborate, test and expand innovative anti-poverty programs. The region partnered with several other communities to pursue and win this highly competitive federal funding. Up to $1.1 million over up to five years will be available to 1-3 selected programs in Northeast Ohio. WorkAdvance funding will also be offered in Tulsa and New York City.

The Fund and its national partners, New York City Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, are seeking social service providers, job training programs, community colleges and other non-profits interested in seeking funding for workforce development programs that align with proven principles found nationally in CEO’s successful sector-based programs in New York City.

More than a job placement program, WorkAdvance aims to prepare, train and place under-employed, low-wage workers in good quality jobs with pre-established career tracks. This gives participants the best possible opportunity, with continued assistance, to advance in their careers. The program also emphasizes close connections to hiring employers in growth industries, such as healthcare, manufacturing, information technology, financial services or hospitality.

WorkAdvance provides five core service components designed to meet the needs of its participants and employers:
•pre-employment services
•occupational skills training
•job development and placement in targeted occupations
•post-employment services
•financial assistance

Evaluation is a critical component of WorkAdvance. Resources, including technical assistance from national consulting firm MDRC will be provided to monitor the efficacy of the selected programs so good outcomes may be translated into national, state and local policy. Nearly half of the direct funding (up to $4.4 million) will come from the Social Innovation Fund and other national funding sources, with the balance coming locally from the Fund for Our Economic Future and, if possible, the applicant’s cash resources. A cash match is not a formal requirement of the program, but having one will be viewed favorably in the selection process and extra consideration may be given to those who can bring financial resources to the initiative.

Innovation and Collaboration: A Regional Vision for Workforce Development
Innovation and collaboration in the work force system are central to Northeast Ohio’s economic revitalization. Especially important are initiatives that connect low-income job seekers with explicit, direct and professional access to employers in critical sectors; while provided job seekers with integrated services that prepare them and gain access to specific employment opportunities. Typically, this work requires multiple institutions to partner to provide the full scope of services.

The Fund is hopeful to see projects that are either regional in nature (through a network of collaborators) or highlight an explicit path by which innovative programming can be spread from one geographical location to other parts of the region.

Timing and More Information
A formal request for proposal will be issued in the next two weeks and applications will be due in mid to late November.

More information is available at http://www.nyc.gov/ceo including the NOFA, FAqs, program goals, descriptions of the key components of each model, target population(s), locations, research design, and other requirements and guidance.

Selection of the programs will be made by a board consisting of representatives of MDRC, CEO, the Fund for Our Economic Future and invited national experts.

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