Jobs wanted, but harder to land for some

Jobs wanted, but harder to land for some
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Jobs would be easier to find and get to if job posters and job seekers’ needs were better aligned. That’s the findings of a new report that studied nearly 260 workforce and related service providers.

The report, produced for the McGregor Fund and released by the Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan (WIN),  found that approximately half of the 260 organizations studied provide some combination of temporary shelter, food assistance, clothing, health services, basic literacy education, and other essential services to unemployed residents.

Among other key findings:

  1. Multiple barriers to employment are the most detrimental to positive employment outcomes.
  2. The most common barriers to employment are beyond the scope of traditional workforce development system activities, including: safe and affordable housing, accessible transportation, and affordable and accessible quality child care.
  3. The most effective strategies for securing and maintaining employment combine initial work experience, coaching, and direct support for basic needs such as transportation, child care, work attire, and housing.
  4. System-coordinated referrals are critical in reducing service fragmentation for job seekers.
  5. Public funding requirements limit the workforce system’s capacity, causing many Detroiters to subsist without access to direct support services necessary to successfully engage in the jobs marketplace.

This research, compiled by WIN on behalf of the McGregor Fund, affirmed the focus and findings of Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation’s (DESC) workforce system redesign efforts, according to a published statement, which also verified WIN’s research and outcomes were ‘consistent with DESC’s increased emphasis on poverty reduction and encouraging financial stability for Detroiters.’

“This body of work affirms the strategies that our leadership has set, and gives us additional data to help better orchestrate sustainable solutions for Detroit’s workforce,” said Nicole Sherard-Freeman, President and CEO of DESC, who noted the importance of the partnership and McGregor’s work on continuous improvements in the workforce eco-system. 

Backers hope that the conclusions in the report will help advocates engage more individuals in the labor force. 

“Identifying key players within workforce development and supporting human services nonprofits not only allows us to see who is already working together, but also who should be working together,” said Michele Ureste, executive director, WIN. “This kind of analysis provides replicable and measurable data that moves us away from anecdote and urban legend, toward leveraging the strengths of our community for the benefit of our neighbors, the city, and this region.” 

The McGregor fund hopes that its backing and financial support will help WIN and network providers identify the best and most efficient ways to get more Detroiters back to work.

“As a relatively new workforce funder, the McGregor Fund is pleased to partner with WIN to better understand the network of providers and approaches for reconnecting the most disconnected job seekers to work,” said Kate Levin Markel, President. “We hope that this research helps to advance community dialogue about what it takes to end poverty through employment.”

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