Pathways to Employment in America’s Cities.

October 17, 2012

NSC released a new report today, Building Pathways to Employment in America’s Cities through Integrated Workforce and Community Development, which explores ways that federal policy can better support efforts to integrate physical and human capital investments in America’s cities.

Over the last few years, NSC has responded to a growing number of requests from national and local community development organizations seeking information about workforce development policies. Despite growing interest, it is still generally uncommon for community development and workforce development practitioners and advocates to collaborate—even as both have an interest in improving the skills and employability of low-income individuals, and in making investments in people the central tenet of local economic development strategies.

NSC undertook a twelve-month project working with local leaders in five cities—Baltimore, Chicago, New Orleans, Twin Cities, and Seattle—who are attempting to bridge the worlds of community and workforce development. Through interviews and group discussions, we worked with these local leaders to identify ways in which federal policy is hindering or could better support the integration of workforce and community development locally, particularly in the areas of public housing and transit oriented development.

In July 2012, NSC brought these local leaders to Washington, DC, to discuss the initial findings and recommendations from this project with federal policymakers including representatives from the White House Domestic Policy Council; The White House Council on Strong Cities, Strong Communities; Department of Education; Department of Housing and Urban Development; Department of Labor; and Department of Transportation.

This paper draws heavily on the thoughts and insights expressed by project advisors during the interview phase of this project and in these roundtable discussions with federal policymakers.

This project and paper were generously funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Surdna Foundation. We thank these foundations and the project advisors for their support but acknowledge that the findings and conclusions presented in this report are those of NSC alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Foundation or the individual advisors.