A fresh approach to job growth and skill development

Projects

Civics of Regional Partnerships Project

This study, conducted in partnership with the Brookings Institution, is exploring what's working and what's getting in the way of building and sustaining regional partnerships to promote economic growth and opportunity, with a particular focus on how those partnerships are structured and how they manage the tensions inherent in the complex and dynamic environments in which they operate.  

Inclusive Regional Economic Growth Planning Project

With funding from the Ford Foundation, this project is exploring what's needed to take current efforts to promote inclusive growth to a whole new level of performance, based on interviews with regional leaders in the forefront of this work.  The project is also exploring what kind of national platform is needed to support this work.  

Brookings-Rockefeller Project on State and Metropolitan Innovation Assessment

This assessment analyzed the outcomes and captured the lessons learned from a  five-year initiative to expand economic growth and opportunity in twenty-two metropolitan regions and six states, experimenting with new economic development strategies that focus on growing and retaining high-quality jobs in innovative, productive industries in ways that expand opportunity for all.  The lessons will help inform the next phase of this work as it unfolds in the participating sites, at Brookings, and at Rockefeller, as well as help build this emerging field of practice. 

Summit County Talent System Assessment

This study, conducted in partnership with a steering committee of Summit County leaders, analyzed how well current talent development efforts are meeting labor demand, and identified several high-leverage opportunities for moving toward a system capable of meeting the needs of a much broader swath of residents and businesses in the Greater Akron (OH) area.

Regional Prosperity Project

With initial funding from the Surdna Foundation, this action-learning network of 10 regional leaders in the forefront of building broad-based prosperity through economic growth is designed to strengthen the innovative, regional efforts that are already under way, to capture their lessons learned, to make those practical lessons available to other regions, and to use those lessons to reshape public policies. The regions participating in this network serve as “learning labs” to identify what’s working and what’s getting in the way of effectively linking regional economic growth and opportunity, as well as what innovations and investments actually make the biggest difference.

Regional Growth and Opportunity Initiative

This three-year study focused on what regions are doing to grow their economies, where the leadership is coming from for those efforts, and how workforce issues are being addressed as part of that process. The study team conducted in-depth case studies of a dozen regions, and organized three roundtables of regional leaders and national experts, in partnership with the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program and the Council on Competitiveness, to supplement their findings, outlined in the report Building Regional Partnerships for Growth and Opportunity. The initiative was funded by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Team Lorain County Assessment

This exploration of the economic and political landscape in Lorain County Ohio, carried out in partnership with the leadership of Team Lorain County (a public-private partnership focused on revitalizing the local economy), yielded new insights into where to focus job-creation efforts and what kind of structures need to be in place to support those efforts. 

Living Cities TOD Assessment

This two-year initiative in Denver and the Bay Area focused on linking transit oriented development with workforce and economic development efforts within transit corridors, and linking those efforts to broader regional strategies, especially those being funded by HUD Sustainable Communities grants. Using a developmental evaluation approach, this collaborative effort identified opportunities for improvement in real time, as well as important lessons for others headed down this path.

Bipartisan Policy Center Workforce Project

Funded by five national foundations, the project team gathered perspectives from a wide range of policymakers and practitioners at the national, state and local levels on current workforce development efforts, and what it would take to move those efforts to a world-class level of performance.

Fund for Our Economic Future Assessment

With support from the Knight Foundation, this assessment of the Fund for Our Economic Future examined the role of the Fund in the changing regional economic development landscape in Northeast Ohio and identified more effective approaches to achieving its goals of business growth, talent development, social inclusion, and government efficiency. The assessment has led to new strategies and structures in this 53-member philanthropic collaborative, as well as lessons for others working in this arena (PDF).

America Works Initiative

This Walmart Foundation initiative developed more effective and systemic approaches to putting people back to work. Each of the seven grantees used their Walmart funding to leverage larger-scale changes in their workforce development systems that directly supported efforts to grow the economy in their region. The initiative built on the U.S. Department of Labor’s WIRED initiative, and included several former WIRED sites.

New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce

This two-year effort, organized and led by the National Center on Education and the Economy, explored what it will take for the US to be competitive in global markets, with a particular focus on what kind of education and training systems need to be in place to make that happen. The study team explored the competitive strategies of developed and developing countries, took an in-depth look at the trends in key global industries, benchmarked leading education and training programs around the world, and developed proposals for transforming education and training systems in the US, outlined in Tough Choices or Tough Times (PDF).

Health Care Transformation Projects

This five-year effort focused on engaging front-line health care workers in improving quality and lowering the costs of patient care in hospitals and long-term care facilities. Work at both the national and local level was carried out in partnership with the Service Employees International Union, the American Federation of Teachers, the League of Voluntary Hospitals and Homes of New York, and the Pittsburgh Regional Healthcare Initiative, as well as individual health care providers. In addition, a learning network of staff from nine international unions was organized to explore ways that unions could provide leadership to these efforts.

Visteon Lean Manufacturing Implementation

This six-year effort focused implementing lean manufacturing in the Visteon Corporation’s North American plants to make them more globally competitive. Work with top corporate leaders focused on designing a new operating system for the plants and developing a strategy for managing the transformation. Those efforts led to sustained, hands-on work in a dozen manufacturing plants to guide implementation.

Healthy Companies Network

This learning network of 11 leading-edge companies explored what kind of investments in people make the biggest contribution to organizational success. Network members conducted action research in their own companies, capturing and sharing lessons across companies. The network yielded new insights into the drivers of employee satisfaction and engagement, more effective approaches to using data and measuring performance, and innovative approaches to managing complexity.

National Advisory Commission on Work-Based Learning

This national commission of business, education and labor leaders, reporting to the U.S. Secretary of Labor, explored ways to improve the skills of the existing workforce, as well as ways to fully utilize those skills to improve productivity and competitiveness. The commission recommended that the Labor Department expand the focus of its training efforts to include the existing workforce, and play an active role in promoting the adoption of high-performance work practices in the American workplace.