The Jobs Initiative, an eight-year demonstration, helps low-income residents find jobs that pay family-supporting wages in Denver, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Seattle. "Entrepreneurial intermediaries," ranging from a private foundation to a city agency, manage six sites that take a dramatically different, long-term approach emphasizing comprehensive strategies that fuel community-based work force development. They have a dual customer focus, meeting needs of supply (workers) and demand (employer) sides; identify and secure entry-level jobs offering low-income people livable wages, benefits, and opportunities for wage and career advancement; build on job-seekers' strengths and respect their talent, dignity, and self reliance, while providing support services; increase dialogue, communication, and understanding among stakeholders; provide community-based organizations with sustained support and technical assistance; stress outcomes-based management; and suggest and provoke broader systemic change leading to more effective jobs and work force development programs and policies. Site results indicate that individuals placed in jobs had experienced significant hourly wage and earnings increases; more than twice as many had medical benefits; and more than half had been employed 12 months. Requirements for meeting workplace demands are employer engagement; employee retention and advancement; collaboration; and building organizational capacity. (author abstract)
Stronger links: New ways to connect low-skilled workers to better jobs
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