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Category Archives: Research Corner

Here are some new research articles in the workforce development field that you may find interesting. Please check our website regularly for more updates on new research and relevant articles.

How Philadelphia is Battling Poverty By Building a Robust Workforce

Rikha Rani, FUSE contributing writer

July 18, 2018

The city of Philadelphia has made impressive economic gains over the last year. In 2017, for the second year in a row, the city added jobs at a faster rate than the nation as a whole. It also recorded its highest monthly average job numbers in nearly three decades.

At the same time, Philadelphia has the dubious distinction of being the poorest large city in the nation. Despite healthy job creation and lower unemployment, the city’s poverty rate stands at nearly 26 percent and nearly half of the city’s 400,000 poor residents are living in deep poverty.

These statistics have added a sense of urgency to Philadelphia’s poverty-alleviation efforts. In February, Mayor Jim 

Sheila Ireland, Executive Director of Philadelphia’s newly created Office of Workforce Development.

Kenney released a citywide strategy, Fueling Philadelphia’s Talent Engine, that shifts the focus of workforce development efforts from short-term job training and placement to long-term career planning and advancement. The strategy has three overarching goals: help Philadelphians acquire the skills that employers need to build a world-class workforce; alleviate barriers to meaningful employment; and build a workforce system that is more coordinated, innovative, and effective.

To carry out this vision, Kenney appointed veteran workforce development leader Sheila Ireland. Ireland is Executive Director of the city’s newly created Office of Workforce Development, which consolidates the city’s workforce activities into one central agency. In partnership with FUSE fellow Barry Wilkins, Ireland has brought together a group of local businesses, industry organizations, educational institutions and city agencies to identify solutions, starting with how the city can […]

Linking K-12 and Workforce Data

By Carl Van Horn, Distinguished Professor of Public Policy, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy

Across the nation, a number of states have been linking their K-12 education and workforce data systems to help state education and workforce agencies develop career readiness goals for students. A new report from the national Data Quality Campaign presents a roadmap for linking K-12 and workforce data. The report examines key areas that states should emphasize when linking data, including developing a shared vision among agencies, cross-agency data governance, data matching and sharing, data analysis and use, capacity building, and privacy and security.

Highlighted in the report is the New Jersey Education to Earnings Data System (NJEEDS), which stores high school, college, and workforce data. NJEEDS is managed by the Heldrich Center, in partnership with and led by the State of New Jersey. NJEEDS uses administrative data from its partner state agencies to assess college and career outcomes of New Jersey high school graduates, as well as to understand what training and skills students need to be successful in college and in the labor market.

Read more 

Apprenticeship Toolkit

Get the toolkit here.

Maher & Maher is pleased to announce the ApprenticeshipUSA Toolkit, which we have designed for the Department of Labor to benefit workforce agencies and their partners throughout the country. This toolkit provides resources to help the public workforce system use apprenticeship as a talent development strategy. It is an action-oriented solution that uses customized technical assistance to meet the challenges of public workforce systems.

The Toolkit has been designed to help workforce development professionals at every level of the workforce system. For example, the toolkit includes:

  • Web-based training as an introduction to apprenticeship training within the workforce system
  • Roadmaps for exploring apprenticeship, building partnerships, and launching apprenticeship strategies
  • Videos for those designing strategy to highlight best practices
  • Tutorials and resources to jump start an apprenticeship strategy
  • Desk aids for those serving  customers
  • A guide for Business Service Representatives to expand work-based training options for businesses and job seekers

In addition to the ApprenticeshipUSA Toolkit, we also helped design the Pre-Apprenticeship Guide: Pathways for Women into High-Wage Careers. The goal of this guide is to help community-based organizations (CBOs) open opportunities for low-skilled women and to develop career pathways that change their lives by providing good wages, benefits, and opportunities for advancement. Through examples of strategies and resources used by CBOs, this guide helps expand opportunities for women in non-traditional occupations such as transportation, green building technology, carpentry/electrical/plumbing, and advanced manufacturing.


Now Jobs in Young Adult Workforce Programming

From The Aspen Institute

Many of today’s young adults are facing extraordinary
challenges connecting to the labor market. Based on
2016 Bureau of Labor Statistics data, 8.2 percent of
young people ages 16-29 are unemployed. This is higher
than the national unemployment rate of 4.9 percent. The
unemployment rate for African-American young adults is
even higher (13.8 percent), and at 15.5 percent,
unemployment among young African-American men is
more than triple the national average. Estimates of the
number of “opportunity youth,” or young adults ages 16-
24 who are both out of school and out of work, vary from
3 million to 5.5 million.” Workforce service providers
who serve young adults note that many face multiple
challenges to employment. Some have limited or no
work experience. Some lack the academic skills or
social-emotional readiness necessary for work. Some
lack connections to employed adults who can provide
guidance about workplace expectations. And some do
not have the knowledge they need to explore career
interests, identify labor market opportunities, and
navigate application processes. At the same time, many
employers note difficulties maintaining a skilled and
committed workforce.

Read more

Four Myths About the Future of Work

Maureen Conway and Mark G. Popovich, Aspen Institute, posted on June 20, 2018

The big future of work dialogue regularly provokes grandiose forecasting. These predications even drive multimillion or billion-dollar investment bets by firms in hot pursuit of the next big tech winner or lucrative business model. Some also outline a brave new world of transformed workplace, work, and workers. This is a conversation attracting loads of attention. And it has clear implications for low-income workers and economy opportunity more broadly. But for our tastes, too often the future of work rhetoric and reports are undercut by a paucity of understanding of the history of work.

We see four common myths in the future of work conversation:

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Closing the skills gap: Creating workforce-development programs that work for everyone

The ‘‘skills gap’’ in the United States is serious. Here is how to do better.

“The land of opportunity”—that is the promise of the United States. And one of the reasons the country has been able to deliver on that promise is that it has been able to develop the talent it needs to create wealth and to adapt to ever-changing economic realities. But there are concerns that the United States can and should be doing better. This will require policies and actions on many fronts, for example on trade, taxation, regulation, education, and fiscal and monetary policy. In this article, we focus on a single subject: preparing people without college degrees for jobs with promising career paths. The need, for both business and society, is clear.

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22 Meet-Ups Reveal Angst Across Communities: California leaders get real about automation, stranded workers and skills

Technology and market forces are changing the workplace, the talent needs of employers, and the skills workers need to stay in the game. For example, digital skills have become the new basic skill of the workplace; according to Burning Glass, 80 percent of middle-skill jobs require some digital skills. And the shelf life for those skills is getting shorter. The rapid pace of technological change means that workers need regular skill booster shots — that is, access to reskilling over time — to increase their economic resiliency.

In this climate, a growing segment of “stranded workers” are finding that the market for their skills is disappearing and they aren’t able to access those skill booster shots. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 2.5 million Californians — in the prime working ages of 25 to 34 — are in the economically vulnerable situation of having a high school degree but no industry-valued credential. Within the broader California labor force — age 25 to 65 — more than 8 million adults are in this situation. Across the country, this population stands at more than 31 million, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

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“Now Jobs” in Young Adult Workforce Programming



Years into the economic recovery, young adults still face difficulty connecting to the labor market. High unemployment is particularly a problem for young people of color. Many live in communities without a strong employment base, have attended low-performing schools, and lack connections to employed adults who can provide guidance and help them explore career interests, identify labor market opportunities, and navigate application processes. Even when jobs that can provide a good standard of living are available, getting the education and experience required for these can be a costly long-term pursuit.

This brief describes a strategy that helps connect young adults to “now jobs” that address their immediate income needs while continuing to prepare them for long-term career opportunities. “Now Jobs” in Young Adult Workforce Programming explores the role of “now jobs” in young adult workforce development.

Read more:

Click to access Now-Jobs-In-Young-Adult-Workforce-Programming.pdf



Check out this Aspen Institute research study … a formative evaluation of five workforce organizations’ experiences during the Human Capital Innovation Fund Initiative3.10.17_Investing-in-Workforce-Program-Innovation

Opportunity Rising Los Angeles Disconnected Young Adults

Opportunity Rising Los Angeles Disconnected Young Adults
This infographic summary provides key facts on disconnected youth (ages 18-24) and the education and labor market settings in the Los Angeles region. The information is pulled from a set of reports by Dr. Neeta Fogg and Dr. Paul Harrington at Drexel University’s Center for Labor Markets and Policy. Full reports can be found at:


PA Workforce Development Association