Announcements from Chicago's Workforce Development Funder Collaborative

July 2018 - Announcements and Updates
It has been an exciting few months for CWFA - three new projects! 

New On-The-Job Training Grant from the 
National Fund & Boeing

Thanks to Boeing, the National Fund for Workforce Solutions (NFWS) has made funding available to support on-the-job-training in manufacturing. This builds off of the NFWS 2012-2014 Boeing On-The-Job (OJT) Project, which identified the best practices of job training and career advancement in manufacturing. CWFA is the National Fund affiliate for Chicago, and it was selected as one of the first three affiliates to receive a sub-award of $125,000 over two years.

CWFA is proud to be able to pass these new resources through to longtime partners OAI, Inc. and the Calumet Area Industrial Commission (CAIC), two of the most experienced organizations executing manufacturing OJTs in the country. The grant has the additional benefit of supporting The Calumet Manufacturing Industry Sector Partnership, which brings OAI, CAIC and many other stakeholders together under employer leadership, all in a collaborative effort to support the manufacturing workforce across the Calumet region.

Working together, OAI and CAIC will assist local manufacturers to train new and incumbent workers with in-demand advanced manufacturing skills. By helping manufacturing companies fill vacancies and advance workers to higher skilled and higher paying positions, this grant will improve racial and gender diversity in the workforce and empower employer leaders to develop internally supported career pathways.

New "Better Skills, Better Jobs" Grant from the National Fund and Prudential 

CWFA will also be receiving support through the National Fund through their Better Skills Better Jobs Initiative, which is funded by the Prudential Foundation . This initiative is built on a basic belief that CWFA, the National Fund and Prudential all share - when companies compete on the strength of their human capital and not the cost of their labor, everyone wins: workers, businesses, and community. This is the same belief at the heart of one of CWFA's oldest initiatives, The Genesis Movement,  a partnership with the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) to help Chicagoland manufacturers compete in ways that are both good for business and for workers.
So it was a natural fit to apply to the National Fund to send additional support to IMEC and Genesis. CWFA received a $100,000 sub-award, which IMEC will use over the next 18 months to help Chicagoland manufacturers. Specifically, IMEC will work with the Greater Northwest Chicago Development Corporation to coordinate a cohort of 4-5 manufacturers on Chicago's west side to improve their business practices together. 

For additional information on IMEC and Genesis, view this video.
Planning Grant to Support New Employer 
Practice Change Strategy

One of CWFA's developing FY19 strategies is to make more "Employer Practice Change" investments. We are interested in employer service models that compel employer investment in and attention to their frontline workers, and program financial models which include employer investment as part of their sustainability and scalability. OAI's Retention Plus model is a good example of both.
OAI, Inc. was selected in 2017 as the Chicago Region replication partner of WorkLab Innovations (WLI), a national nonprofit supporting the advancement of strategies that improve the retention and success of front-line employees. WLI's "sustainable workforce" model engages employers as financial contributors and utilizes specially trained navigators to support front-line workers who are having difficulty navigating issues such as childcare, transportation, housing, health, and financial stability. In addition, the model works with employer-members to build supportive, inclusive,workplace cultures. Integral to the model and its success is the rigorous use of data for both program improvement and reporting purposes.

CWFA made a $50,000 planning grant to OAI this summer to develop and grow the Retention Plus model. We see it as potentially a great partner to many of our initiatives and partnerships, especially the Industry Workforce Partnerships in healthcare, retail and manufacturing.

For additional information, please view Rockefeller Foundation's blog post: Work---Life Navigation Goes National
Thanks so much for your interest in the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance. Follow us on social media: @Chi_WF_Funders or LinkedIn