The National Fund for Workforce Solutions (NFWS) is an award-winning national initiative focused on helping low-wage workers obtain good careers while at the same time ensuring that employers have the high-quality skills that will enable them to succeed in this highly competitive economy. Since 2008, the National Fund has raised nearly $24 million to support 24 communities that have contributed an additional $104 million in locally-raised resources from 216 different funding sources, including community foundations, United Ways, corporate foundations, workforce investment boards, chambers of commerce and state agencies. Each of these communities has created local funding collaboratives that are collectively investing in more than 80 sectoral workforce partnerships.
SAWDC, one of thirty-two nationally designated NFWS sites, has established four high-quality workforce partnerships – a sound strategy modeled by the NFWS for helping individuals obtain and advance in good careers while at the same time ensuring that employers have high-quality skills that are needed to compete in today’s dynamic economy. The four industry clusters – aviation, maritime, industrial construction/manufacturing, and healthcare – were chosen due to the high demand and high growth prospects for these industries.
With a dual customer orientation, SAWDC convenes, organizes key stakeholders, and maintains persistent attention to the needs of the two main customers: employers and workers. By engaging employers and other partners in identifying workforce needs, SAWDC aligns funding and services from various sources and broker services that address the career advancement needs of employers and lower-skilled adults. The solutions extend beyond training or education programs. SAWDC identifies better ways to provide these services and programmatic improvements to systems or policies. The resulting job training and career supports that meet the needs of both employees and employers in these three industry sectors has proven critical to the region’s economy.
Alongside the alignment of resources and supporting and sustaining high-quality workforce partnerships, SAWDC advocates for policies that build the capacity for the workforce development system to more effectively meet the needs of employers.