Workforce Webinar Recap: Building Good Jobs with the Workforce System

On February 16th MWA welcomed Janice Urbanik, Senior Director for Innovation and Strategy at the National Fund for Workforce Solutions (NFWS); Brooke Valle, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at the San Diego Workforce Partnership; Maddrey Goode, Executive Director of the MassHire Boston Career Center; and Sheila Sullivan-Jardim, Executive Director of the MassHire Greater Brockton Workforce Board to share concrete examples of how their organizations are working to improve access to good jobs for workers.

Janice offered an overview of the work NFWS has been doing around the country to support public workforce systems engage in new ways with businesses, particularly those with large numbers of low-wage workers. Workforce Boards in Atlanta, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Wichita are all engaging in advancing good jobs. She also referenced the recent Advancing Workforce Equity in Boston: A Blueprint for Action, making explicit the intersection between job quality and racial equity with statistics from the Metro Boston region and Massachusetts. 

Brooke talked about how they defined job quality in San Diego, and the framework with which they approached their work with employers. They use Working Metrics, a tool that helps employers see themselves in the context of other businesses in their sector to better understand how the jobs they offer look to jobseekers. She also shared their High Road Kitchens effort, developed during the pandemic, providing jobs for restaurant workers and a subsidy for restaurant owners who commit to paying a living wage and following equitable employment practices. They are also working on incorporating job quality into their WIOA Youth Procurement process, making sure that the organizations they contract with to provide workforce services are committed to the same job quality values that the Partnership is prioritizing with other employers. As Brooke said, “Workforce development professionals need to have good jobs, too.”

Maddrey shared the approaches that staff at the career center use when guiding customers into employment. They use data, both in understanding the profile of the customers they serve, but also to understand the labor market. They also take job seekers’ interests and career goals seriously so that good matches are made with employers.  

Sheila shared how they have been working with their career center in Brockton to prioritize working with employers who offer jobs with good career mobility, for example in the finance sector, and helping educate customers on those opportunities. At the Workforce Board, they’ve defined job quality as jobs that are local, offer a sustaining wage and career track with upward mobility,  and that are accessible at varying entry points. 

MWA is committed to continuing this conversation and supporting local areas working to build good jobs. If we want an equitable economy, good jobs lie at the center of it.

More Tools and Resources Related to Job Quality
Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program, Job Quality Library
The Good Jobs Institute
Federal Reserve Racism and the Economy Series 

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