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The opportunity afforded by infrastructure investments to connect workers with good paying, attainable careers If enacted, the leading federal infrastructure proposal affords a generational opportunity to tackle several pressing challenges. On the one hand, these investments will help to address long neglected physical infrastructure deficiencies and catalyze a move towards a cleaner energy future. At the same time, a major boost in infrastructure spending can create millions of good jobs that are attainable for workers without four-year degrees, a population that has benefited from a smaller and smaller share of the nation’s good jobs over decades and that has experienced the slowest recovery from the COVID-19-induced recession. But to realize the former goal—the physical aims of infrastructure investments—policymakers will need to be intentional about the latter—building inclusive, skilled infrastructure workforces. At least one estimate forecasts that the leading infrastructure package would create around 1 million jobs, while others predict several million over a decade. This would be on top of what is already a sizable component of the workforce: in 2020, infrastructure employed roughly one in nine American workers. Most infrastructure jobs today and those of the near future can be accessed without a bachelor’s degree, and these jobs offer higher wages than most other jobs attainable with that level of formal education. But the benefits of these good jobs have not been equally accessible. Much like the infrastructure workforce of decades ago, today’s infrastructure workforce skews heavily white, older, and male. On top of limited paths to entry, women and non-white people within the infrastructure workforce earn lower wages due to wage gaps within occupations and occupational segregation. To broaden opportunity to benefit from good quality, in-demand infrastructure jobs and mobility opportunities within the sector, policymakers at all levels will need to take deliberate, multifaceted action. The role of states in building an inclusive infrastructure workforce States can play a pivotal role in fostering an inclusive, skilled infrastructure workforce. Not only will a significant portion of federal infrastructure spending likely flow through states, but state governments and local governments together typically spend the majority of public investment in infrastructure and own the majority of public infrastructure assets. States also have substantial stimulus funding from the American Rescue Plan Act and some existing flexible workforce funding (e.g. WIOA Governor’s Reserve Funds) that can be used to complement the infusion of federal infrastructure dollars. And at the most fundamental level, states have a role in shaping the workforce and education system to support the workforce needs of growing economic sectors and equipping residents with opportunities to connect to good quality employment. This brief presents a framework for states towards this aim. It first provides key context on the infrastructure workforce, including demographic and wage disparities that underscore the need for states to foster inclusive pathways to good infrastructure jobs. The remainder focuses on a three-pronged framework to help state policymakers consider multifaceted, complementary approaches, centering on the following strategies: 1. Broaden exposure and recruitment. 2. Grow a supply of effective infrastructure-related training programs and improve success in those programs by bolstering key supports. 3. Spur inclusive hiring practices and combat the prevalence of harassment and discrimination in major infrastructure sectors. 1. This report focuses on physical infrastructure broadly to include sectors such as energy, transportation, telecommunications, water, green infrastructure and climate resiliency, as well as public works. 2. Heather Long, “Many left behind in this recovery have something in common: >No college degree,” Washington Post, April 22, 2021. 3. Anthony Carnevale, quoted in Nancy Marshall-Genzer, “What kind of jobs could the infrastructure bill lead to?” Marketplace, August 2, 2021. 4. Anthony P. Carnevale and Nicole Smith, “15 Million Infrastructure Jobs: An Economic Shot in the Arm to the COVID-19 Recession,” Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, 2021. 5. Joseph Kane, “Biden needs to create an infrastructure talent pipeline, not just more jobs,” Brookings Institution, January 29, 2021. 6. Ibid. 7. Caroline George and Joseph W. Kane, “Reversing America’s poor track record on inclusivity in infrastructure jobs,” Brookings Institution, May 17, 2021. 8. Mark Wolf, “Infrastructure Bill Update: What Could It Mean for States?” National Conference of State Legislatures, August 3, 2021. 9. See Elizabeth McNichol “It’s Time for States to Invest in Infrastructure,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, March 19, 2019, for an overview of how federal grants fit into state infrastructure spending. See Peter G. Peterson Foundation, “State and Local Infrastructure Spending: A Closer Look,” June 17, 2020, for how state and local spending compare to federal spending on infrastructure.
The Rework Community Insights Monitor provides a metro-level view on good jobs and training within the local labor market. The tool offers a single view into key system-level questions: What industries and occupations are most prevalent within a regional economy? How many of these jobs are accessible to workers without a bachelor's degree? What is the education and training present to support skill development for the regional economy as a whole and to advance workforce development for key occupations? Access the tool here: https://www.atlantafed.org/cweo/data-tools/rework-community-insights-monitor.aspx
The Job Progression Tool, developed by McKinsey & Company on behalf of the Rework America Alliance, is a digital solution for job coaches and career navigators for supporting job seekers in the United States without a four-year college degree. It is meant to enable job seekers to consider employment options that could advance their economic prospects and that others have accessed in the past, based on the value of their work experience. To request access to the tool visit: https://www.mckinsey.com/about-us/covid-response-center/response-tools/for-governments/job-progressions#
The Rework America Alliance, a Markle initiative, studied the job histories of 29 million people across more than 800 occupations to look at how to realize the potential of the more than 5.8M workers from low-wage roles currently unemployed and without a college degree. From this, the Alliance has identified actionable steps that can be taken to help these workers to return to work in better roles. These findings are detailed in “Unlocking Experience-Based Job Progressions for Millions of Workers” authored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Markle, McKinsey & Company, and the National Urban League with input from many of our partners in the Rework America Alliance. Get the topline takeaways Download the full publication Two new tools have also been developed so we can take action based on these insights: A new Job Progressions tool developed by McKinsey & Company to help career coaches use historical job progression data to connect job seekers to good jobs, aligned with their experience. A new Rework Community Insights Monitor from The Center for Workforce and Economic Opportunity at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta to provide a metro-level view for policymakers and workforce development leaders. Learn more about the work of the Rework America Alliance.
Local regions and organizations partnering with the Rework America Alliance The Markle Foundation’s Rework America Alliance, a unique coalition of civil rights groups, nonprofits, private sector employers, labor unions and educators, will partner with local community-based organizations to deploy resources to help job seekers connect to good jobs. The initial regions and organizations that will lead efforts locally are: Mi Casa Resource Center educates, trains and supports youth and adults along career and business pathways to grow their income and achieve lasting economic success. Focused on supporting income growth and employment — self-employment, formal employment, and everything in between — Mi Casa Resource Center provides training and tailored support to help people take the next step on the journey toward financial success. When all families succeed, the entire community thrives. Learn more at micasaresourcecenter.org Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that provides job training and career navigation services to eliminate barriers to work and independence. Revenue from nearly 50 retail stores ― along with grants and financial contributions ― supports Minnesotans with digital literacy skills, resume development, understanding government benefits and more. Shopping and donating helps divert over 65 million pounds from landfills annually and has helped us connect people to jobs since 1919. Learn more at www.goodwilleasterseals.org The Austin Area Urban League is a historic civil rights organization dedicated to providing economic empowerment, educational opportunities and the guarantee of civil rights for African Americans and other underserved/underrepresented populations in in the Austin/ Central Texas region. Since 1977, the Austin Area Urban League has enriched the lives of citizens within the greater Central Texas Region. The Austin Area Urban League is one of more than 90 affiliates of the National Urban League providing direct services that impact and improve the lives of thousands in the Central Texas region. Aligning with the Empowerment pillars of the National Urban League, the Austin Area Urban League seeks to meet the needs of underserved populations in the Austin/Central Texas region by focusing on programming and Services in the areas of Education and Youth Development, Workforce and Career Readiness, Health, Housing, Justice and Advocacy. Learn more at aaul.org Urban League Twin Cities For more than 90 years, Minnesotans have looked to the Urban League as a source of strength in the community. From employment to education to engagement, the Urban League seeks to help African descendants strive for and achieve economic empowerment and self-sufficiency to build wealth that can be passed down from generation to generation. We envision a future in which African descendants can be fully engaged, empowered and invested in the success and well-being of the Twin Cities metro area. The Urban League understands that the cultural heritage and assets of people of African descent are a rich resource of creativity, power and beauty. We believe that a strong and systemic change is needed to transform our communities. The Urban League plays a vital role as advocate and thought leader for issues affecting African descendants in the Twin Cities. Learn more at ultcmn.org PathStone begun in 1969, is a private, not-for-profit community development and human service organization serving Indiana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Virginia, and Vermont. PathStone builds family and individual self-sufficiency by strengthening farmworker, rural and urban communities through community development programs and advocacy. It delivers quality career and employment services that enhance the skills, performance and potential of individuals. It provides a range of education and health services designed to promote and enhance lifelong learning, healthy living and employability. And it promotes access to personal counseling and financial resources designed to stabilize living environments and provide the foundation for economic security. PathStone believes that a combination of planning, vision, multi-sector stakeholder input, strategically targeted public and private resources and persistence must all be combined if success is to be realized. The organization has recently adopted environmental standards for all of its programs. Learn more at pathstone.org Goodwill of North Georgia’s mission is to put people to work. The nonprofit has provided services in the region for more than 90 years. In fiscal year 2020, Goodwill of North Georgia provided job training and employment services to 46,697 people and helped 25,019 people find jobs or start new businesses. The organization currently operates 67 stores, 53 attended donation centers and 13 career centers. Revenues generated from Goodwill’s retail program help fund job training and placement programs. Learn more at goodwillng.org
The Markle Foundation Seeks a Product Administrator - LMS (Learning Management System) to Operate and Improve the Digital Solutions Suite for the Rework America Alliance About the Markle Foundation The Markle Foundation challenges itself and diverse partners to deploy their varied expertise to identify solutions to critical public problems and achieve systemic change. Today, as millions are unemployed and advanced technology and automation change the very nature of work, Markle’s current priority is advancing solutions toward a labor market that will enable workers in America to move into good jobs in the digital economy. About the Rework America Alliance In response to the devastating impact of the pandemic, Markle launched the Rework America Alliance a nationwide collaboration of employers, non-profits, educators, government entities, and public and private organizations. The Alliance is working to open opportunities for millions of unemployed and low wage workers to move into good jobs, particularly people of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the current economic crisis. Partners include National Urban League, NAACP, Unidos US, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Google, IBM, Microsoft, McKinsey & Company, North America’s Building Trades Unions, Workday and other leading businesses, labor unions, training, and workforce organizations. (The full list of members can be found on our website here). Job Summary and Responsibilities The Product Administrator - LMS (Learning Management System) will join a small team that enables development, delivery, and management of digital solutions for partners of the Rework America Alliance and Skillful Initiatives working to leverage technology to open opportunities for millions of unemployed and low wage workers to move into good jobs, particularly people of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the current economic crisis, and those who have built capabilities through experience but do not have a bachelor’s degree. The Product Administrator is an associate level teammate who will serve as an administrator of various existing platforms and products and serve as a liaison between the leadership of the Digital Solutions team, product users, and vendors (such as development/engineering). A core responsibility of this role will be the management of a Learning Management System (Totara) and the content it houses. Additionally, this position requires alignment with Markle’s mission of philanthropy and desire to leverage their skills to help those in need and embody a tech for good approach and mindset. This position is a mix of independent, task-based operational work along with close collaboration with a cross-functional teams to influence product innovation and solutions that serve the greater good. Given the entrepreneurial nature of Markle and Skillful, all team members execute a diverse portfolio of projects and contribute to the learning culture through execution of pilots, supporting multiple initiatives and collaborating across teams and partner organizations. This role may interact with Digital Solutions ranging from wireframes / prototypes / MVPs to E-Learning objects and platforms. Some sample solutions in the suite include the Skillful Job Posting Generator and the Rework America Alliance / EMSI Skill My Resume solution. Please see APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS at the bottom of this posting. Required Foundational Skills Problem Solving: Leverage inspection, deconstruction, and iteration skills to understand an issue and propose a reasonable solution. Split large complex goals into smaller, simpler ones. Prioritization, Planning, and Coordination: Demonstrable ability to put tasks in the sequence that produces results quickly and efficiently, put together a plan and manage tasks to the plan. Client / Customer Service: Effectively partner with internal and external clients to understand their needs, user journey, and expectations and resolve issues. Organization, Monitoring, and Documentation: Able to keep track of multiple projects that require different levels of attention depending on where they are in their life cycle and quickly identify points of intervention with necessary follow-up. Document important metrics and interactions. Detail Orientation: Without getting lost in minutia, pay attention to the small, but potentially important, details that may have major impact down the road. Dependability and Accountability: In this role it is critical to do what you say you will do, in a timely manner, with sufficient responsiveness, follow-up and consistency. Understanding of the Impact of Systemic Racism in Communities of Color: Build awareness of the ways racism and racial inequity have affected labor markets and economic opportunity; demonstrate commitment to understanding and addressing these issues through the work we do. Required Occupational / Technical Skills Technical Capabilities: Necessary to operate learning technologies and learning management systems, such as working with assets such as SCORM objects, audio files, video files, compression methods, and managing users and reports in the platform. Account and Software Administration: Ability and knowledge to provide ongoing LMS configuration and day to day management, understanding of how to provide ongoing maintenance of user and course data with LMS, ability to serve as system administrator for digital tools including but not limited to LMS, understanding of how to ensure the LMS is functional, up to date, and contains accurate information as well as ability to make adjustments accordingly, ability to train other users and admins as necessary, understanding of system roles and ability to assign permissions as needed, ability to set up new courses in the LMS, ability to work with other workstreams to ensure tools meet necessary requirements. Reporting on Digital Assets: Understanding of reporting and ability to provide on-demand reports for not only LMS but Markle tools at large. Software Testing: Report test results with a focus on findings and recommendations, differentiating results by levels of severity. Include relevant information from the test plan and outline the test methodologies, using metrics, tables, and visual methods to clarify where needed. Preferred Foundational Skills Research: The ability to help to understand what clients and partners want, to identify and screen new ideas, understand consumer satisfaction with a product. May be desktop research or focus group discussions, interviews, and surveys. Concentration: An individual that can focus attention and ignore unrelated topics would be an asset to the team. Patience: The ability to remain calm, even when dealing with something tedious or with variety of opinions demonstrating flexibility, acceptance, and tolerance. Preferred Occupational Skills Programming: SCORM and Moodle proficiency, HTML, grasp of the techniques and principles of software development, such as analysis, algorithms, coding, testing, and compiling of programming paradigms. Debugging: Ability to detect and catalogue existing and potential errors (‘bugs’) as identified in own testing or user reports. Use specialized tools to replicate and analyze the conditions that caused the set of software states or outputs reported by the customer in order to provide adequate solutions.Work with the software code to find and resolve bugs or defects. Product Development: Familiarity with review cycles and user testing, ability to take new information and understand how to apply it in a way that makes products more capable, familiarity with JIRA and other product support systems to track development and support issues. User Journeys: Comfort with user experience and how it plays into product development, being able to identify major points of engagement and value adds for user groups within products, ability to identify points of opportunity to better align products with core users. Example Activities Testing and Documentation (for in development and already operational solutions) Design test plans, scenarios, scripts, or procedures. Document software defects, using a bug tracking system, and report defects to software developers. Identify, analyze, and document problems with program function, output, online screen, or content. Modify existing software to correct errors, allow it to adapt to new hardware, or to improve its performance. Troubleshooting issues and identifying and recommending solutions and implementing solutions when applicableTroubleshoot issues, identify/recommend solutions and implement solutions where applicable. Design, Development and Deployment Participate in product design reviews to provide input on functional requirements, product designs, schedules, or potential problems. Analyze user needs and software requirements to determine feasibility of design within time and cost constraints. Confer with systems analysts, engineers, programmers, and others to design systems and to obtain information on project limitations and capabilities, performance requirements and interfaces. Job Details: Degree Requirements: NONE! We are a skills first organization and care more about your ability to do the job than how you trained for it. Location: Colorado preferred, with the ability to meet with the team in office near Union Station, Denver, a few times per week. Additional locations considered include Indiana (Indianapolis base), District of Columbia, and New York / New Jersey (Manhattan base) Title: Product Administrator - LMS (Learning Management System) (Associate Level) Report To: Senior Manager of Digital Solutions Term: Full-time Salary & Benefits: Base salary of $60,000 – $68,000 (depending on location and skill level) and a competitive benefits package. Travel: Limited, however the willingness to travel as needed and when permissible, is desired. Application Instructions: Please send your resume and responses to the following questions (in lieu of a cover letter) to [email protected] You are welcome to respond in the form that best suits or represents you, but please keep responses brief (two pages, two minutes, etc.). What is your first step in developing a new audience in a learning management system? We are agnostic to the exact system used in your example. Describe your approach to balancing responsiveness to users with small-support team bandwidth? How do you manage “after hours” requests without a 24-hour support team? What are some ways you might leverage your technical capabilities (including operating learning technologies and learning management systems) to advance Markle’s work towards a labor market that will enable workers in America to move into good jobs in the digital economy? Markle is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, creed, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), gender, gender identity, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, sexual orientation, domestic violence victim status, military status, or veteran's status. Markle applies this policy to every aspect of employment, including internal promotions, training, opportunities for advancement, compensation, and termination decisions. Markle also provides reasonable accommodations to applicants and employees with known disabilities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Rachelle Katchenago of Menasha, Wis., lost her job as a call-center contract worker last year after the pandemic lockdowns took hold. No one was hiring. Ms. Katchenago, 37, eventually heard of career courses, paid for by Microsoft as part of a Covid relief program. She plunged in, learning online customer service and sales skills, hoping to improve her employment prospects. But it turned out that the technical skills, in the free classes from Microsoft’s LinkedIn job listing and training service, were not the only thing she picked up. The Wisconsin group helping her with the courses also provided career guidance, moral support, tips on résumé writing and interviews, and job contacts. Research has shown the effectiveness of programs that are local, personal and focused on addressing the last mile of the labor market. President Biden has endorsed the model. The administration’s jobs plan calls for billions in work force training including funds for “wraparound services” like counseling. “It’s about seeing connections and building confidence,” said Beth Cobert, chief operating officer of the Markle Foundation, which supports programs to broaden job opportunities. “And you need people to do this, to help close that gap.”
Margaret Hoover is the host of PBS’ “Firing Line with Margaret Hoover” a refreshing revival of the iconic television series hosted by William F. Buckley Jr. for 33 years. A CNN political commentator, Ms. Hoover has served in The White House under President George W. Bush, in the Department of Homeland Security, on Capitol Hill and on two presidential campaigns. She is the President of American Unity Fund a political organization focused on achieving full freedom and equality for LGBT Americans as well as the bestselling author of American Individualism: How a New Generation of Conservatives Can Save the Republican Party in 2011. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Daily News, The Daily Beast, CNN.com and FoxNews.com. Ms. Hoover serves on the boards of Stanford University's Hoover Institution, the Hoover Presidential Foundation, and the Belgian American Educational Foundation. Raised in Colorado, Hoover has lived in China, Mexico, Bolivia and Taiwan, speaks fluent Spanish and studied Mandarin Chinese. Ms. Hoover lives in New York City with her husband and their two children.
The economic recovery from the pandemic is at a critical juncture. More than nine million people still are looking for work and job growth last month was well below projections. Meanwhile businesses are arguing that they cannot fill jobs. Pundits and experts try to explain the paradox: continuing fears over Covid; lack of affordable child care; the safety net of unemployment benefits and stimulus checks making wages from low-paying jobs less necessary. The challenges in returning to work, however, may be symptomatic of a deeper problem: there may be jobs, but there aren’t enough good jobs.