If you want to change public policy in the United States, you’ll eventually find your way to the influential world of Washington think tanks. The Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF), one of the most aggressive foundations seeking to move big ideas, has been investing in Beltway policy shops for a while now. Earliest this year, in its biggest such give yet, the foundation made an $8.4 million grant to the Urban Institute to help develop its Pay for Success work. Now Arnold is taking things a step further: It’s setting up its own wonk operation in the nation’s capital.
Since the Great Recession, a slew of new workforce development efforts have launched all across the country, but how much do the different programs know about each other, and how can proven strategies be effectively replicated?
The National Fund for Workforce Solutions is on the case. This Boston-based fund is a group with a long list of big-name foundations working to improve career advancement for low-wage workers. By engaging employers in more than 30 communities across the U.S., the National Fund develops employer-led industry partnerships that guide educational and training investments. This is the kind of employer-employee matching that makes for strong, long-term employment prospects, and a more stable economy for the region.
Honda is best known as a car maker, but it also has a charitable foundation that is doing some interesting things to drive the American economy in the right direction, as we’ve been reporting lately.
A case in point: Honda recently announced a new, $1 million investment in Ohio-based workforce development for an innovative program called EPIC, which will focus on creating more interest in manufacturing careers and bolstering education and training for the high-tech manufacturing jobs of the future.
Before saying more about this grant, let’s just pause to note the irony: A Japanese car company that famously helped bury Detroit, once the core of American industrial know-how, wants to revive the kind of skilled U.S. workforce that ended up with pink slips in an earlier era as foreign cars filled the roads.
One employer making a mark in the area of philanthropy for veterans is First Data Corporation. This global leader in payments technology recently announced a $7 million dollar seven-year commitment to the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University.
This initiative touches on the company’s commitment to veterans in two ways: both as an employer of veterans, and as a provider of services to veteran-owned businesses. With a particular focus on veterans transitioning out of the military and back into civilian life, this grant will go toward education, research, training and job opportunities for veterans and their spouses pursuing business careers.
Quick: what do crime, education, the environment, health, and poverty all have in common? And how can we make improvements in these areas that feed off of each other? The University of Chicago and the Pritzker Foundation want to find out so they can ramp up impact and break down silos in the social sector.
With $15 million in seed funding, including a $10 million donation from the Pritzker Foundation, UChicago will house five labs collaborating to tackle some of the country’s most daunting urban problems, and translating this work into new national and global practices.
If your boss told you to tweet something for her, would you know what to do? How about if she asked you to help with the company’s website or database management?
If you don’t have these skills at the ready, you’re not alone. Now, Capital One, along with the Obama administration, is launching a new effort to get more workers prepared for the challenges of a digitally-intensive labor market.
While many job sectors took a big hit in the Great Recession, one area where growth consistently rises is jobs requiring digital skills. So you can see why Capital One is homing in on this area as it pushes into workforce development—one of several big banks now focusing big philanthropic dollars on helping bridge the divide between employer needs and the current population of job-seekers.
BREAKING: Pearson, NJ, spying on social media of students taking PARCC tests
Pearson, the multinational testing and publishing company, is spying on the social media posts of students–including those from New Jersey–while the children are taking their PARCC, statewide tests, this site has learned exclusively. The state education department is cooperating with this spying and has asked at least one school district to discipline students who may have said something inappropriate about the tests.
This website discovered the unauthorized and hidden spying thanks to educators who informed it of the practice–a practice happening throughout the state and apparently throughout the country. The spying–or “monitoring,” to use Pearson’s word–was confirmed at one school district–the Watchung Hills Regional High School district in Warren by its superintendent, Elizabeth Jewett.