[Excerpt] Forging relationships between the publicly funded workforce investment system and community-based nonprofits is beneficial to transforming performance, capacity, communities, and regional economies in a way that government cannot do alone. The need to embrace businesses, community-based nonprofits, and other government agencies to create the collective capacity and innovation necessary to transform the workforce system in a more global economy is embodied within the spirit of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).
To support these public-private relationships, the Department invested $10 million dollars to support WIBs in engaging grassroots, community-based nonprofits and working with them to connect disadvantaged job seekers with high growth industries and businesses. While the WIB grants awarded by the Department were an impetus for some grantees to partner with community-based nonprofits, some grantees had been trying to be more inclusive of nonprofit stakeholders and/or were looking to expand relationships with community-based nonprofits in more formal, comprehensive, and sustainable ways. The projects that were most successful were those that found common ground between the willingness and commitment of representatives of the workforce system and nonprofit community to achieve shared workforce system goals through a joint plan of operation.
Together, WIB grantees and community-based nonprofits, developed strategies for:
■ Connecting community-based nonprofits to the workforce system;
■ Aligning and leveraging community-based nonprofit assets;
■ Helping the unserved, underserved, and individuals with multiple barriers meet their goals and transition into the workforce systems’ talent pipeline;
■ Leveraging community-based nonprofit- business relationships;
■ Tapping community-based nonprofit leadership; and
■ Sustaining and growing the connection.
The workforce system’s long-term vision will continue to be the growth and sustainability of the capacity necessary to meet the needs of individuals, businesses, communities, and global economies. These grants gave the workforce system the opportunity to learn how to strengthen and nurture relationships that are, and will be, the framework for creating communities of hope, innovation, productivity, and prosperity. Together WIB grantees and community-based nonprofits overcame their differences and focused on transforming lives, communities, and economies.