The Collaborative makes investments in programs that enable workers to increase their skills, credentials, employment and wages, with a special focus on eliminating income gaps based on race and ethnicity.
The Collaborative’s strategy is rooted in a dual customer approach. We seek to invest in efforts that support:
- Workers’ ability to acquire the skills, credentials, and resources they need to build successful, family-sustaining careers.
- Businesses’ ability to attract, retain, and advance the skilled workforce they need to remain globally competitive and provide vital community services.
Greater Washington Works
In December 2016, the Collaborative proudly partnered with JPMorgan Chase & Co. to release Greater Washington Works: IT and Health Careers with Promise, a report focused on how our region can address the skills gap and lift more of our neighbors out of poverty through careers in IT and Healthcare. These findings provided the foundation for Greater Washington Works, a new funding initiative to invest nearly $1 million over two years in work to bridge the skills gap that is keeping workers in low-wage jobs, reinforcing income inequality, and keeping local business from finding the best local candidates for open job opportunities. In 2017, Greater Washington Works issued multiyear investments in three employer-led regional partnerships that support local workers to launch living-wage careers in these sectors.
Byte Back expanded its tech training and career services classes to serve local unemployed and underemployed residents in Prince George’s County with the launch of EPIC (Education Partnership for IT Careers). Byte Back, in partnership with the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation-Workforce Services Division, helps workers earn industry-recognized IT certifications and launch living-wage careers. Additional partners include: the Northern Virginia Technology Council, Angarai, PC Retro.com, DC Office of the Chief Technology Officer, International Software Systems, Nucore Vision, Sage Services Group, SoftCon Enterprises, and Science Systems and Applications.
The Northern Virginia IT Employment (NVITE) Partnership, led by Skillsource, provides unemployed and underemployed low-income job seekers with intensive case management, employment coaching and skills training to launch or advance them into entry-level, living wage careers as Computer User Support Specialists. The partnership also addresses the hiring disconnect between frontline IT hiring managers and corporate HR personnel hiring policies. Additional partners include: the Fairfax County Department of Family Services, Stratford University, Intellectual Point, and StrategyUS LLC.
SOME (So Others Might Eat)
SOME’s Center for Employment Training launched a Healthcare Industry Sector Partnership of leading healthcare employers (including Unity HealthCare, Abundant Health Chiropractic & Wellness Center, and Providence Health System) in Washington, DC and Prince George’s County, Maryland. This Partnership provides ongoing strategic direction and oversight of employer engagement efforts and a hiring pipeline for healthcare employers in the region. Students train for careers as Medical Administrative Assistants and Electronic Health Records Specialists.
Accelerating Advancement Initiative
Launched in 2012, the Accelerating Advancement Initiative (AAI) was a 5-year half-million-dollar initiative designed to bridge the gap between the skill needs of regional employers and the education and training needs of workers by incubating, strengthening and scaling career pathways efforts in Greater Washington. AAI supported five regional programs which linked together progressive levels of education and training to enable lower-income individuals to strengthen basic skills, earn a marketable credential, and launch or advance in a career.