WASHINGTON - July 12 - Jobs for the Future today announced the creation of its Career Advancement Portfolio, a collaborative effort to enhance, expand, and disseminate proven solutions for advancing low-income people to good jobs. Each of the organizations in the Portfolio operates advancement models that clearly demonstrate and document success, with well- delineated features that can be replicated or scaled up.
"JFF created the Career Advancement Portfolio as central to our commitment to developing, implementing, and advocating for models, strategies, and policies that enable adults to advance toward economic self-sufficiency for themselves and their families," says Marlene B. Seltzer, Seltzer, president and CEO of JFF. "The Portfolio brings together the most innovative workforce development practices for improving the lives of low-skilled, low-income adults. And it answers the need for effective, proven, replicable, and scalable models of approaches that advance low- income individuals to jobs with high enough wages to move families out of poverty."
Jobs for the Future has selected six organizations to be the founding members of the Career Advancement Portfolio. They are:
-- Community College of Denver;
-- District 1199C, National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees;
-- Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership;
-- Workforce Alliance and Hospital Corporation of America;
-- WorkSource Partners; and
-- Year Up.
"Each organization meets rigorous criteria, beginning with achieving key outcomes for low-income workers," says Jerry Rubin, vice president of JFF's Building Economic Opportunity Group. "JFF intentionally set the standards for inclusion high: for advancement programs, they create a goal worth aspiring to; for employers, foundations, and other public and private investors in workforce development, they are benchmarks that can be applied to other efforts."
Every Career Advancement Portfolio member, through one or more of its models, meets six criteria:
-- Advances low-skilled workers into well-paying, career-track jobs: The model advances low-income, low-skilled individuals into jobs that pay at least 80 percent of the local, metropolitan area, or state median wage, come with health benefits, and offer strong opportunities for continued wage and career growth.
-- Responds to strong employer or labor market demand: The model develops skills for which there is high demand. Typically, employers play an important program design role in identifying skill requirements.
-- Demonstrates results: Data on outcomes or other evidence shows that the model is successful in advancing low-wage workers.
-- Shows strong potential for scale and replication: The model is specific and clear. It includes standardized features and operational design, viable financing, high political or employer demand for the solution it represents, etc.
-- Offers a "best in class" approach to low-wage worker advancement: Clear strengths or advantages set the model apart from current practice. It provides an innovative service delivery or design method that addresses traditional barriers to low-wage worker advancement.
-- Demonstrates interest by leadership in promoting and spreading the model: The "owner" of the model works with JFF to document and disseminate key features and outcomes. The owner is interested in expanding its own efforts or willing to help others adopt the model for replication.
JFF has worked with each of these organizations in various capacities, providing strategic advice on growth, designing approaches to measuring individual and organizational outcomes, or assisting with marketing activities to potential funders and community partners.
Collectively, the models in the Career Advancement Portfolio point to ways to promote and benefit from practices and policies that improve the economic status of low-income, low-skilled adults:
-- The Portfolio models provide "best practice" designs for communities, employers, and others interested in developing effective advancement models.
-- The Portfolio makes a compelling case for increased public investment.
-- The Portfolio makes a compelling case for philanthropic and corporate investment in advancement models.
"JFF is committed to making the Career Advancement Portfolio a valuable resource for those concerned about the advancement of low-income, low-skilled adults," says Ms. Seltzer. "For organizations engaged in workforce efforts serving this population, the Portfolio models provide insight into effective practices with demonstrable results. It can also help direct public investment in effective workforce strategies-resources that are critical for such programs."
JFF will build the Career Advancement Portfolio in the coming years, with a goal of adding two to four new sites per year.