Sector Update: Workforce Development June 2024

Social Impact Partners continues its focus on Workforce Development to enable individuals from lower-income and marginalized communities to obtain quality jobs and achieve upward economic mobility.  About 40% of Connecticut’s residents, 54% of which are Black and 57% are Hispanic, do not earn living wages. By addressing the dignity of people who want to work and contribute to their own families, communities and Connecticut’s economy, we can break cycles of poverty and reduce income inequality.

Our overarching goal is to build a robust workforce pipeline that caters to the diverse needs of job seekers and employers. Our three main initiatives are business engagement, career awareness and career pathways. We are engaging the business community to expand skills-based hiring, apprenticeship programs and diverse talent pipelines in healthcare, IT, and manufacturing, three high-demand sectors.  As the number one employer in the state, healthcare presents a need and challenge to increase training and fix broken career pathway ladders. In addition, we are supporting the development of regional sector partnerships to align workforce training and education with industry needs and employment opportunities.  

Our nonprofit capacity-building efforts in workforce development continue with several important projects for this sector and many volunteer partners engaged. Active nonprofit partners include Open Doors, Building One Community (B1C), Career Resources Inc. (CRI), Girls for Technology, and Riba Aspira. We are temporarily paused with ReadyCT as they conduct strategic planning. We are excited to begin work with Five Frogs, a multi-sector leadership development organization building a movement for equity. We look forward to working alongside them to build a strategic plan to provide a better future for growing leaders!

Current efforts in career pathways are centered around individuals transitioning from education to the workforce, ensuring everyone, no matter their location, education level or income, has the confidence and skills required to succeed in a given career. This work connects to the role of education, including community colleges and high schools, in preparing students for careers in healthcare and other industries, emphasizing the need for alignment with employer needs and offering the needed training for success. By connecting education to real-life workforce needs, students will have the opportunity to learn about different career pathways and job opportunities.

Social Impact Partners’ Director of Workforce Development, Genevive Walker shared, “We have the opportunity and therefore the obligation to be a partner in creating ladder rungs that do not currently exist in health care to assure that low-wage entry-level workers can grow professionally toward filling the desperately needed open nursing positions across the state.” The sector is keen on working with agencies to identify entry-level jobs that are in high demand within the healthcare sector and creating clear career pathways for individuals in roles like Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), patient care assistants and medical assistants.