Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Long-Term Health Care

Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI) has been contracted by the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund to hear from the voice of employers in long-term care and community health. Their work to date has revealed some key barriers to employment in the metro-Detroit area for our target population. We are continuing to work with PHI to hone in on which barriers to address that will have the greatest impact of furthering the career advancement of incumbent workers while improving the opportunities for new workers seeking to enter in to this healthcare sector.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Green Jobs Training Graduates

Back in January of this year, we shared with you two interviews of students currently being trained by one of the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund's workforce partners Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice. (To see those interviews click here and here).

This month we would like to share with you interviews from graduates of the Green Jobs Training Program at DWEJ.  The first is DWEJ graduate Khalil Hamilton. He shares about his current employer and how he became apart of the training program.

Stayed tuned for other alumni interviews later in the month!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Feature in Model D

We're excited that Model D is featuring a story about one of our workforce partners, Restaurant Opportunities Center of Michigan, specifically, COLORS Restaurant in Detroit.

Here's a snip-it from the article:

"...It’s a common misconception that restaurant workers make tons of easy cash. For a tiny percentage of servers and bartenders at high-end or very busy restaurants, this may be the case. But for the vast majority of workers -- hosts, bussers, dishwashers, cooks, and other staff who keep the machine running smoothly -- restaurant jobs typically offer low pay, no benefits, no paid sick days, little job security, and little or no opportunity for advancement. On top of that, jobs within a restaurant are often highly segregated with regard to race and gender. ROC’s mission is to shed light on these issues and to bring about industry-wide improvements in working conditions. "

To enjoy the full article click here.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Skills Summit

The 2012 National Skills Coalition Summit held in Washington, DC from February 13-14th, created a great opportunity to network with workforce professionals representing twenty-two states throughout the country allowing us the opportunity to address the crisis of "13 million people unemployed in the U.S. and 3 million job openings" (NSC 2012). Michigan representation was strong and in full-force during the summit with ten professionals representing our great state. I was one of the ten who made up the "Michigan Delegation". Being apart of the delegation was a phenomenal opportunity. Our delegation was divided into two groups of five and my group met with the staff of the following Congressional leadership offices on Capitol Hill:

We met with key staffers to advocate for the following;

1) No more cuts or consolidation, without reform, to the Workforce Investment Act (WIA http://www.doleta.gov/usworkforce/wia/act.cfm)
2) No additional changes to the Pell Grant (http://www.ed.gov/programs/fpg/index.html) 
3) Continued support and funding of the concept of sector strategies (http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s112-665)  to connect low-to-moderate skilled employees to employers.

Friday, February 10, 2012

NFWS: Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

Before we dive into the details of the event we hosted yesterday, "A Detroit Workforce United", we wanted to mention a great publication that just came out featuring an article written by Fred Dedrick, the Executive Director of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions (NFWS). The article is published in the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's quarterly journal "Cascasde."  

In this article, Dedrick shares their strategies for workforce development during rough economic times, as well as the impact and challenges of their workforce partnership model:

"....As labor market demands shift, so too must workforce development systems that are geared to helping low-wage workers acquire higher skills so that they can obtain promising careers. These new approaches must be able to help adults who are looking for work, or who are otherwise disadvantaged, to acquire skills and credentials that are truly valued by the employers in their markets. Employers, policymakers, practitioners, and funders who work and reside in a community are in the best position to develop worker training and career development programs that meet the needs of both workers and employers in that community."

Read the full article here

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Preview of "A Detroit Workforce United" Event

Today, the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund gathered various members of the metro Detroit community for a conversation titled "A Detroit Workforce United". We were pleased to host nearly 100 people from various backgrounds, including community based organizations, training organizations, economic development organizations from the city and state level, philanthropists, community colleges, and many more. We were also excited to bring in leaders from two nationally recognized workforce coalition, who shared their expertise and discussed how to implement best practices locally;  Carrie Thomas, from the Chicago Jobs Council and Ann Donner, from the Commonwealth Workforce Coalition in Boston.

Overall, discussion focused on the future implementation of a Detroit workforce coalition. 
Check back tomorrow for a closer look at the outcome of the event!

Ann Donner from the Commonwealth Workforce Coalition shares successes from Boston

Carrie Thomas from the Chicago Jobs Council 
shares their unique strategies for workforce development

  The discussion encouraged collaboration of all participants

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Skills Summit 2012

The Detroit Regional Workforce Fund is thrilled to be sending several staff members to the National Skills Coalition’s 2012 Skills Summit in Washington, DC, February 13th-14th! Their excitement is bubbling because they will have the opportunity to meet with local policy leaders from Michigan on Capitol Hill and advocate for the following:
  • Rejection of any further cuts to workforce development programs, including any efforts to consolidate existing employment and training programs that would result in net funding reductions for workforce development programs. 
  • Request for investment in effective, targeted employment and training strategies—such as sector partnerships, career pathways, training connected to subsidized employment—that lead to industry recognized credentials, and ensure that workers and employers alike have access to the skills they need for our nation to compete in the global economy.   

Be sure to check back next week for a complete posting on the Skills Summit after the conference!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Unemployment Down: Celebrate Every Step Forward

“Unemployment Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 243,000 in January, and the
unemployment rate decreased to 8.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.   Job growth was widespread in the private sector, with large employment gains in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and manufacturing. Government employment changed little over the month”  February 3, 2012 http://www.bls.gov/cps/

Small gains are great gains.  We have to celebrate every step forward we take.  We accept these gains with understanding that unemployment numbers fluctuate and will continue to do so over the next several years as we pull ourselves out of economic ditch we created in our country. 

While Michigan remains at the higher end of the unemployment spectrum, the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund tries to use best practices in its approach to sector partnerships.  Demand should drive workforce partnerships wherever possible.  We use this data to determine where to put our energy.  We have budding workforce partnership in hospitality (investment in R.O.C. United- see our post yesterday for more on R.O.C.) and have been exploring manufacturing to see if we can add value to workforce activities already going on in the region.  We remain focused on low-skilled individuals’ connection to opportunity.  This slight uptick, is a small ray of sunshine between the clouds.  Let’s hope the sun continues to emerge!