2019 is coming to a close and we are reflecting on some of the lessons we have learned from the last year and celebrating the accomplishments of our team and partners. We sat down with a few of our team members to ask them what they have learned over the last year, here is what they had to say:
In recent years, funding agencies and philanthropies have increasingly started to fund network and multi-applicant proposals. While, working collaboratively with partners can create aligned impact and move the needle more quickly on community and regional outcomes, it is not without its challenges. One of the biggest challenges we have seen in our years of providing technical assistance to collaborative grantees is data collection and sharing. Shared data collection requires trust and accountability between partners. Although trust takes time, accountability can be developed through a strong data sharing agreements. Below we have detailed some lessons we have learned from helping clients develop data sharing agreements for their collaborative grant projects.
A strong workforce ecosystem is an essential component for thriving communities. Drawing from our years of conducting research and evaluating workforce development projects, New Growth has noted three functions which are needed to support a strong workforce ecosystem: organizing the supply side, organizing the demand-side, and organizing systems change agendas. When combined, these functions help to reduce labor market inefficiencies through ensuring the community is aligned around a shared goal, aligning training, and effectively connecting job seekers to employers.
Last month, the Department of Labor announced awards totaling $183.8 million to support the development and expansion of apprenticeships for educational institutions partnering with companies.New Growth worked with partners in Illinois and Ohio to help secure $16 million in funding to expand apprenticeships.
Manufacturing Works, with funding from The Fred A. Lennon Charitable Trust, commissioned a report in partnership with New Growth Group and MJ Crocker & Associates to examine if additional manufacturing career-technical education (CTE) programming for high school students in Greater Cleveland would bring a new pool of potential workers into the manufacturing workforce.
New Growth uses a number of analysis tools and techniques when conducting research for workforce development projects. One of the most powerful tools in our toolbox is Spatial Analysis, a type of geographical analysis which seeks to explain patterns of human behavior and economic statistics in relation to location. We have used this type of analysis to help clients visualize how issues such as transportation or the geographical service area impact targeted populations.
Getting summer ready doesn’t just mean cutting back on the cookies and hitting the gym more often; for grant funded organizations it means beginning to stage your proposals for upcoming opportunities. As we have detailed in previous blogs, staging a grant extends the deadline, giving organizations more time to prepare a winning application. We have been working with program officers and previous grant recipients to track grant openings that support workforce development programs at nonprofits and institutions of higher education. We anticipate two significant funding opportunities to open soon: Department of Labor-YouthBuild and Department of Education- Title III Part A: Strengthening Institutions.
In the current funding climate, it can be hard for community colleges and non-profits to stage grants due to uncertainty around the availability of funds or inconsistent funding schedules. One tool which can help alleviate this unpredictability is a grant forecast. A grant forecast centralizes knowledge about predicted, soon to be available, and open grant opportunities, both public and philanthropic. Using a forecast allows organizations to begin the grant application process sooner, which not only makes the entire experience less stressful, it also produces better quality applications. In this blog we review New Growth’s process for building and maintaining a grant forecast. (more…)
In a tight labor market, building a pipeline of skilled workers can be a challenge. This work becomes even more difficult when you consider the changing needs of the workforce, whether it is new technology or transferring knowledge from baby boomers to millennials. Companies are increasingly finding that this is a challenge they cannot take on alone. Community involvement is a critical piece of the puzzle to creating a talent pipeline equipped to meet the dynamic demands of business. Community colleges, workforce development agencies, and community-based organizations are connected to untapped pools of talent and are equipped to help deliver the training needed to help build the skills needed quickly. To engage the community, companies should conduct a landscape analysis to identify partners and initiatives which can help them find the talent they need.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Round 4 Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training or TAACCCT grants closed out in November, wrapping up New Growth’s run of nine TAACCCT evaluations over seven years. TAACCCT grants funded community colleges across the country to create or improve training programs in manufacturing, transportation, and energy industries, among others. Although each grant funded initiative was unique, our cumulative experience surfaced a number of best practices for both colleges and evaluators. For colleges we learned more about effective practices for student success and how consortiums can serve as hubs for information and resource sharing. From the evaluation standpoint, we were able to identify practices that will sharpen our data collection and strengthen our reports.
As 2018 comes to a close, we have asked some of our team members to reflect on what they have learned from the year and what trends they have seen emerge. First up, is our Grants Manager, Robin King, who detailed the trends she’s seen from both federal and philanthropic grant openings and decisions.
New Growth Group and MJ Crocker and Associates partnered with Cuyahoga Community College to explore the role of the employer in addressing current skill gaps and the emerging Industry 4.0 trends. The project team used a framework to identify and analyze manufacturing workforce programs that exemplify best practices, resulting in sustainable partnerships with measurable outcomes. The Employer Engagement Playbook was created from this work and is designed to guide community colleges in collaborating with employers and other key stakeholders to meet current and future workforce needs. Nikki Glazer Stoicoiu recently presented the findings and introduced the Employer Engagement Playbook at the National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers Conference. This blog summarizes the presentation.
Throughout our years in workforce development, we have seen programs and initiatives focused on either supply-side or demand-side. In this dichotomy, supply-side programs focus on the process of training and supporting job seekers or incumbents, and demand-side initiatives focus on organizing employers to address their talent challenges. While it should be noted that programs are rarely only supply or demand facing, the focus on who the program is seeking to serve (job seekers or businesses) can lead to siloed systems with limited information flows. To address this, investors, policy makers, project directors, and other key stakeholders may consider moving from an either/or approach, to a both/and.
In workforce development, one day you’re in and the next day you’re out. New Growth has worked in over 20 states, which gives us a sneak peak into the hottest trends in workforce development from coast to coast. This summer, apprenticeships, shortened grant timelines, and interstate data sharing are making waves.
This month we sat down with our Counsel, Krissa Kean, to learn more about administrative data sharing. As part of her role, Krissa manages data transfer and integrity issues during workforce program evaluations, and negotiates data security agreements with entities ranging in size from community colleges to state agencies.