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As part of its effort to better address the problem of long-term unemployment, the White House announced yesterday almost $170 million in “Ready to Work Partnership” grants. Grants, ranging from $3 million to $10 million, were awarded to 23 partnerships to serve individuals in 20 states and Puerto Rico. NSC partners JVS San Francisco and 1199c Training and Upgrading Fund were among the grant recipients, while Business Leaders United (BLU) members Erick Ajax and Mike Mandina participated in a small roundtable conversation with Vice President Biden, Labor Secretary Perez and National Economic Council (NEC) Director Zientz to discuss improvements U.S. companies have made to support the hiring of long-term unemployed individuals.
Lead NSC partners receiving grants include (full list of grantees here):
These grants can be used for outreach and recruitment, training and support services (with a primary focus on work-based training opportunities), and placement strategies in middle- to high-skilled jobs.
This announcement builds on a year-long endeavor led by the White House to identify and address the systemic challenges of long-term unemployment. National Skills Coalition, along with NSC leadership and other key partners, has worked closely with the White House to elevate both basic principles and concrete examples of “what works” to serve this population. Many of these examples, from labor, community colleges, industry and community-based organizations, were highlighted on the White House Ready to Work: “What’s Working” map from July to September, 2014.
Business Leaders United (BLU), which has been providing the employer dimension to this dialogue beginning with a joint meeting last October with Secretary Perez, Secretary Pritzker and then-NEC Director Gene Sperling, has continued to highlight the value of employer-driven sector partnerships as the leading vehicle for getting workers trained and employed –a vehicle which became a driving force in the Ready to Work Partnership grants. The Rockefeller Foundation and Deloitte are working as well to impact the demand-side aspect of this challenge by teaming up to create a best practices playbook that can be used by employers to better tap into the potential of the long-term unemployed workforce, a document that was highlighted in Vice President Biden’s Ready to Work report.
There is still much to be done, but the good news is that there are new, much-needed resources on the ground to build out some of the high-performing stand-out models. Our congratulations to all who received the Ready to Work Partnership grants!
Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Labor