2020 Learning Lab Members

This fall, Workforce Matters launched three new Learning Labs to support peer-to-peer information sharing and joint learning by workforce development grantmakers working in three spheres:

Advancing Equitable Employer Practices

Workforce equity is when the workforce is inclusive of people of color and other marginalized or underrepresented groups at a rate representative of the employer's local community and where institutional and structural barriers impacting employee attraction, hiring, retention, and advancement have been eliminated, enabling opportunity for employment success and career growth. 

  • What changes would need to be made in places of employment to achieve this goal?
  • What would it look like for philanthropy to actively and financially support equitable employment practices?
  • How can philanthropy leverage its power to make a difference for workers?


  • Natalie Applegate, Educate Texas, Communities Foundation of Texas
  • Laura Burgher, Annie E. Casey Foundation
  • Elizabeth Cheung, Conrad N Hilton Foundation
  • Tracie Coffman, W.K. Kellogg Foundation
  • Patti Constantakis, Walmart.org
  • Lauren Crain, WES Mariam Assefa Fund
  • Meghan Cummings, Women's Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation
  • Tia Hodges, Citi Foundation
  • Elaine Katz, Kessler Foundation
  • Jenny LaForest, Holloway Family Foundation
  • Talia Nagar, Tipping Point Community
  • Amy Saxton, The James Irvine Foundation

Amplifying the Voice and Power of Workers and Learners

Workers and learners are at the core of our workforce development grantmaking, but too often their ideas, perspectives, and feedback are absent from the design, management, and evaluation of workforce programs.

  • What does it mean to center the expertise and lived experience of workers and learners in workforce development?
  • How can funders and grantees engage workers and learners in a meaningful and authentic way in program design, delivery, and evaluation?
  • What does it look like to be truly inclusive - to shift power and decision-making to job seekers, workers, and learners?
  • How can amplifying and centering worker and learner voices move us toward greater equity?


  • Jenny Achilles, Trellis Foundation
  • Gayatri Agnew, Walmart.org
  • Heidi Alcock, McGregor Fund
  • Susan Dundon, Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation
  • Rachel Korberg, Ford Foundation
  • Bryan Malong, Tipping Point Community
  • Ashley McIver, Communities Foundation of Texas
  • Jennifer Racho, Northwest Area Foundation
  • Suganthi Simon, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation
  • Sam Spiewak, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
  • Kayla Tolentino, ReWork the Bay, San Francisco Foundation

Redesigning Workforce Policies and Systems for Equity and Resiliency

The economic recession caused by COVID-19 and the uprisings for racial justice have given us an opportunity to examine workforce development policies and systems and to re-envision them to support greater equity and worker resiliency. 

  • What changes to policies, regulations, and public investments are needed to realize this vision?
  • How can philanthropy authentically engage with field partners to update our approaches to policy and systems change?
  • How can philanthropy leverage its power to make a difference for workers and learners?


  • Lavea Brachman, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation
  • Crystal Bridgeman, Siemens Foundation
  • Allison Gerber, Annie E. Casey Foundation
  • Kelley Gulley, The James Irvine Foundation
  • Rob Hope, ReWork the Bay
  • Sean Murphy, Walmart.org
  • Dr. Rodney H. Rodriguez, Educate Texas/RGV FOCUS, Communities Foundation of Texas
  • Linda Rodriguez, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  • Kayla Roney Smith, Ballmer Group
  • Vanessa Samuelson, The McGregor Fund
  • Valerie Skinner, Holloway Family Foundation
  • Jennifer Zeisler, ECMC Foundation

Our 2020-2021 Learning Labs will be facilitated by Clair Minson, LCPC, Founder and Principal Consultant at Sandra Grace, LLC. Clair is a talented coach, facilitator, consultant, and public speaker whose work analyzes and addresses the intersections of race, racism, and workforce development.