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Investing in America's Workforce Book

By Community Development

Investing in America’s Workforce: Improving Outcomes for Workers and Employers,” a three-volume publication that shares research, best practices and resources on workforce development, was released November 9 at a launch event hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. More than 100 authors contributed to the book, including 28 from the Federal Reserve. The volumes — Investing in Workers, Investing in Work and Investing in Systems for Employment Opportunity — include chapters that identify specific workforce development programs and policies that provide positive returns to society, employers and job seekers.

First Vice President Becky Bareford represented the Richmond Fed at the launch event to support the Federal Reserve System Community Development team’s collaboration in developing this new tool for job seekers, employers, the workforce and the economy. The release of the book kicks off Community Development’s engagement and outreach efforts that will apply ideas from the book to policy and practice.

Publishing the book was an objective of “Investing in America’s Workforce,” a two-and-a-half-year initiative that began in 2016 through a collaboration of all 12 Reserve Bank Community Development departments and the Board of Governors to support workforce development and a stronger economy. The initiative is a collaboration between the Federal Reserve System, the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, the Ray Marshall Center at the University of Texas at Austin and the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

As part of the efforts, the System Community Development departments held regional meetings — including five by the Richmond Fed regional Community Development team — with nearly 1,000 leaders who work at the intersection of workforce training, recruiting and finance to discuss the challenges that face the nation’s workforce development system.

In 2017, the System collaborative held a national conference, “Investing in America’s Workforce,” with more than 300 attendees that focused on promising approaches to workforce development. Jeanne Milliken Bonds, senior manager, regional community development, led a session at the conference that focused on how banks can collaborate with workforce boards, directors, educators and other community partners as part of financial institutions’ Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) compliance plans.

Bonds also developed and taught a training curriculum, with colleagues from the Dallas and Chicago Federal Reserve Banks, for bank examiners on qualifying workforce investments. Across the country, the System Community Development departments work with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) to deliver training sessions for community development professionals in financial institutions and community-based organizations under The Community Reinvestment Act.

Special topic briefs will be released in early 2019, including three from the Richmond Fed: “Innovations in Community College Workforce Training,” “The Opportunity Youth: Why the Labor Force Needs Them Now More Than Ever,” and “Pay for Success: How Emerging Finance Tools are Supporting Workforce Development.”

A free download  of the book volumes or individual chapters is now available. The policies and practices presented in the book are intended to spur innovative thinking and drive solutions. Collectively, the work of this System collaborative creates a foundation from which a new era of investment in America's workforce can grow.

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