Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Our Policy Principles for Workforce Development

Welcome to Connecting the Dots, the official blog of the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund!

On December 1st, 2011, Governor Rick Snyder gave a special message on his plans for workforce development in Michigan and tonight he will give his State of the State address. As a result of his speech, we have developed our own policy principles for workforce development in Metro Detroit.

Our Principles for Workforce Development Policy: Capacity, Flexibility, Access

The Detroit Regional Workforce Fund (DRWF) is a regional public/private collaborative that convenes key stakeholders in workforce development and invests in innovative workforce solutions for Detroit and Southeastern Michigan. DRWF envisions a healthy community that creates the conditions for financial stability of all residents, and the economic vitality of businesses in Detroit and Southeast Michigan. Key to this vision is a competitive core city workforce that connects to and propels economic growth in the region and state. 

DRWF is committed to improving the region’s workforce system by supporting employer-led workforce partnerships that create long-term relationships between employers and service providers, aligning public and private resources in new ways around workforce development. Michigan is facing important decisions about its workforce development system that will underpin the economic future of our state. Crucial federal funding for workforce development activities is at risk, and it is clear that state workforce development policies must adjust to 21st century realities in order to spur Michigan’s recovery and long-term prosperity. It is our hope that state and federal policymakers will keep in mind three key principles as they make decisions about workforce development policy and funding: capacity, flexibility and access.

Our principles for workforce development policy
Our experience attests to the need for state policies that grow the workforce development system’s capacity to meet employers’ and community needs; offer flexibility to participants and employers; and ensure access to services to anyone willing to work.

Our work in Detroit and Southeastern Michigan
Together with our cross-sector partners, we have pursued solutions for the region that demonstrate the promise of these three principles:
  • We are maximizing capacity by aligning public and private resources to support innovative, sector-specific partnerships that link individuals to career pathways.
  • We are building a regional talent hub that expands employers’ capacity to discover local talent in emerging sectors by pre-screening and classifying qualified resident job-seekers.
  • We are enhancing flexibility by supporting programs that address the specific needs of targeted communities, populations, and employers in Detroit and Southeastern Michigan urban areas.
  • We are promoting access to needed services by drawing attention to the basic skills gap in our region, and opportunities available to address it.
  • We are improving capacity, flexibility, and access by bringing all urban market workforce development stakeholders to the table to ensure local residents are prepared for work that meets the needs of local employers.

Michigan’s workforce development system does not have the capacity necessary to meet the demand for quality workforce development opportunities. The current system is underfunded and does not provide for responsiveness to employer needs.
Public policy must ensure that the workforce development infrastructure in Michigan operates at full capacity. This includes funding for adult education programs, as well as strategies that optimize public and private resources by inducting a diverse and comprehensive cohort of individuals and organizations into the workforce development network. 

Michigan’s workforce development system is not flexible enough to meet the needs of various populations and employers. The one-size-fits-all model we currently have cannot fully serve Detroit and Southeastern Michigan, where job seekers include both the chronically unemployed and individuals with a history of consistent employment.
The workforce development system must offer a flexible service delivery system which meets the needs of employers, employees, and our community. Policies should focus on meeting the needs of multiple populations by delivering the right services at the right time to the right people; and creating career pathways with an appreciation for lifelong learning, accelerating the careers of individuals at all levels. 

Too many individuals face barriers that prohibit full participation in the workforce.
Public policies must alleviate the various barriers to workforce participation for those who want to work. Major barriers can be addressed through investment in adult literacy and adult learning service delivery models that focus on innovation and best practices to eliminate the basic skills gap.

We look forward to sharing more of our story with you in the coming weeks.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice post, thanks for sharing the information. Keep up the good work.

    workforce development