JOIN is a public private partnership between philanthropy, government, community organizations and employers. JOIN invests in, evaluates and advocates for best practice efforts that narrow the gap between the region’s low-skilled workforce and the needs of the region’s employers.
The Problem that Motivates JOIN
Greater Philadelphia is facing parallel workforce crises:
- Employers in the region lack a strong talent pipeline to fill critical jobs
- A majority of adults in the region are participating in the labor force marginally or not at all.
The underlying cause of these crises is the mismatch between the level of skill required for high-growth jobs and the much lower skill level of many working age adults.
The Solution JOIN Offers
JOIN believes industry-led workforce partnerships offer a solution to Greater Philadelphia’s parallel workforce crises by simultaneously addressing the skill needs of low-income workers and the talent needs of regional businesses. These partnerships form a bridge between employers, social service organizations and job seekers, bringing together numerous employers in the same industry to identify mid-level talent gaps and connect these employers to organizations that can prepare low-skilled adults to fill these positions.
Our strategy has three parts:
- Investment: We invest in industry-led partnerships that prepare low-wage workers with the skills to advance into high-demand, mid-level positions.
- Evaluation: We evaluate the impact of our partnerships, identifying best practices and illuminating opportunities for improvement.
- Advocacy: We advocate for the incorporation of these practices into the public workforce system.
The Skills Gap
This need for skilled workers has outstripped the capacity of our adult education and training system, leaving communities with a tragic mismatch between the skills of their workers and the talent needs of their businesses.
Even during the recession and recovery, the region’s fastest growing industries—health care, university services, and clean energy have been challenged to find a workforce with the suitable training and education. As a result, businesses struggle to find skilled workers even as half the working-age population is unemployed.
Greater Philadelphia has a dramatic shortage of the skilled workers compared to labor market needs
Philadelphia ranks 96th out of the top 100 cities in labor market participation.
- 45% of Philadelphians are neither working nor looking for work.
- Another 40% of working Philadelphians are earning poverty wages.
Philadelphia has a staggering poverty rate (25%) that is nearly twice the national average.
Philadelphia’s median household income ($36,222) is more than one-third less than the U.S. average ($52,175) and well below self-sufficiency standards.*
* Family Sustaining Wage for 1 adult, 1 preschooler is ~$41,863 or approximately $20 per hour
SOURCE: Business Week, Univ. of Southern California, NBER, Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board, American Community Survey, 2005-2009
HIGHLIGHTS FROM JOIN’S FIRST THREE YEARS
- Recruited 11 pooled and aligned funders to invest in JOIN, forming a $1 million collaborative
- Recruited 7 additional aligned funders to invest in JOIN-sponsored projects, such as the Social Innovation Fund, leveraging more than $1.8 million in additional local funds
- Attracted $4.2 million in new federal resources to the region from the Department of Labor, Corporation for National and Community Service and the White House, including Pathways out of Poverty, Social Innovation Fund, and Green Jobs Innovation grants
Workforce Partnership Highlights
- Invested in nine innovative workforce partnerships, in a range of growth industries
- Trained and educated more than 800 lower-skilled adults
- Helped over 600 lower-skilled adults gain industry-recognized credentials or degrees
- Connected over 400 lower-skilled adults to new job placements in a high-demand sector or wage increases in their current job
- Met the needs of more than 100 employers who directly benefitted from hiring JOIN-trained job-seekers, up-skilling their current workforce and connecting with peers through partnerships
- Improved access to career pipelines for low-skilled workers through career coaching, on the job training, apprenticeship opportunities and “earn and learn” training models
System Change Highlights
- Involved more than 1,000 community leaders and stakeholders in discussions about the workforce system, and touched more than 1,000,000 residents through earned media
- Recruited Governor Corbett’s endorsement of workforce partnerships
- Championed state legislation to institutionalize the workforce partnership model that is now law
- Educated key policymakers on the workforce partnership model by organizing Philadelphia site visits for senior Obama administration officials and leaders from the U.S. Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services
- Shaped federal legislation by presenting on the workforce partnership model to senior U.S. House and Senate staff, including the development of a Workforce Innovation Fund, which is now a reality
- JOIN is the regional test lab and thought leader in a national conversation focused on jobs and economic opportunity
- JOIN is an influential partner in the reorganization of Philadelphia’s workforce system
- JOIN’s engagement in economic development activity links economic development with human capital planning in new ways, e.g. serving in an advisory role at the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster at the Navy Yard.
JOIN’s Impact – Results Since 2008
With direct investments of over $1 million, the JOIN initiative:
- Created or expanded nine innovative workforce partnerships
- Met the needs of more than 100 employers who
- Trained and educated more than 800 lower-skilled adults.
- Helped over 600 lower-skilled adults gain industry-recognized credentials or degrees.
- Connected over 400 lower-skilled adults to new jobs or wage increases
- Involved more than 1,000 community leaders and stakeholders in discussion about the workforce system.
JOIN provides a front door to the public workforce system, allowing funders to work together and leverage their resources:
1. Attracted $4.2m in new federal resources to the region from the Department of Labor, Corporation for National and Community Service and the White House
2. Recruited 18 pooled and aligned funders to invest in JOIN and JOIN-sponsored projects