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Career Ladder Identifier and Financial Forecaster

The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond is partnering with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, the Robins Foundation and the City of Richmond’s Office of Community Wealth Building to host a webinar on Thursday, July 30 that offers solutions for increasing payoffs for workers, employers and taxpayers. The 10 a.m. – noon webinar will introduce an innovative, interactive framework called the CLIFF Dashboard — an online tool developed by the Atlanta Fed to help users predict and mitigate potential earnings barriers for workers and inform whether the career pathways they select will be beneficial long-term.

Webinar participants will see a live demonstration of the CLIFF (Career Ladder Identifier and Financial Forecaster) Dashboard and learn more about the phenomenon of benefits cliffs, which occurs when even a slight increase in earnings negatively impacts a worker’s ability to retain public benefits and thus continue entry-level employment or advance along a chosen career pathway.

According to Alex Ruder, one of the CLIFF Dashboard developers and the webinar’s keynote speaker, “The Atlanta Fed is currently partnering with multiple governors’ offices, state workforce investment boards, colleges, employers and local nonprofits and services providers to customize the CLIFF Dashboard to their local context, including career pathways, living expenses and demographic profiles.”

The Richmond Fed sees an opportunity for Virginia stakeholders to adopt the tool and is hosting the July 30 webinar to provide information to interested parties. “This framework can be used to pinpoint when these cliffs may occur,” said Richmond Fed Community Development Regional Manager Tiffany Hollin-Wright. “It also brings to light some of the reasons why inequities in career mobility and opportunity persist, especially for those newly entering or re-entering the workforce.”

Webinar participants will come away understanding “where the gaps are along the educational trajectory, and how those vary by geography and demographics,” said Richmond Fed Senior Research Analyst Stephanie Norris. “This plays an important role in understanding shortfalls in maximum employment.”

According to Patrick Graham, senior policy advisor for the Office of Community Wealth Building, “As the pandemic and the renewed focus of racial equity impacts our nation economically and socially, the effects of public benefits cliffs on our businesses and households cannot be ignored. The Federal Reserve’s new CLIFF Dashboard provides a framework for policymakers, employers, education, talent development and human service sectors to refine strategies for workers in need of pathway opportunities that provide a greater return on investment for all.”

The CLIFF Dashboard can also help the public and private funding community make more informed policy and investment decisions.

“The CLIFF Dashboard gives all of us who invest in workforce development — that is, workers, nonprofits, philanthropy, businesses and the public sector — a better understanding of which career pathways actually pay off and when,” said Kelly Chopus, president and CEO of the Robins Foundation. “Being able to visualize exactly when workers will face benefits cliffs enables us to better support career advancers, which increases their likelihood of success and economic mobility.”

Hollin-Wright and Ruder hope those who register for the webinar will consider adopting the tool to enhance their organizations’ work and yield more positive outcomes for opportunity workers in Virginia. “We want to partner with any group who seeks to address the benefits cliffs issue within a workforce development context,” Ruder said. Especially those who “are seeking to use CLIFF for policy analysis, career counseling and case management, career pathways design and workforce development strategic planning that specifically accounts for benefits cliffs.”

Register to learn more and attend the webinar.

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