what we're up to

Feeling isolated working from home? Overwhelmed with ambiguity about what the future holds? We heard you. We've designed a series of Fall 2020 events to keep you connected to peers, exploring new ideas, and cultivating a vision for what comes next. Please consider joining us for one of our upcoming programs:

Announcing our 2020-2021 Peer-to-Peer Learning Labs - Apply Today!

This fall, Workforce Matters will be launching 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
  • Amplifying the Voice and Power of Workers and Learners
  • Redesigning Workforce Policies and Systems for Equity and Resiliency

Each Learning Lab will convene for a total of three 90-minute, facilitated sessions beginning in November and concluding in January. Participation is free and all workforce development grantmakers are invited to apply, but each Lab will be limited to no more than 12 participants, with participant selection focused on ensuring that we have a diverse group of participants representing a range of different types of philanthropic organizations and regions/geographies.

Space is limited, so we encourage you to apply today!

Click Here to Learn More and Apply


The Road Up: Film Screening + Discussion

Virtual Screening: October 5th - 7th

Interactive Discussion: Thursday, October 8th 2:00 pm eastern

You're invited! Please join Workforce Matters and Funders Together to End Homelessness for a special private screening + discussion of this soon-to-be-released documentary film.

The Road Up follows four participants in Cara, a Chicago job-training program, as they seek to make the long journey to stable employment in good jobs. Throughout, they are guided, goaded, and challenged by their impassioned mentor, Mr. Jesse, whose own experiences drive him to help others find hope in the face of poverty, addiction, homelessness, and trauma. Taken together, their stories create a powerful mosaic of the struggles millions of Americans face every day in a precarious and unforgiving economy, the daunting and often interconnected challenges that prevent so many from getting—and keeping—a job.

Register now to receive a special pass to stream the film for free on your own time during our private screening window October 5th - 7th, then join us for an interactive discussion with the filmmakers, Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel, and Jesse Teverbaugh and Maria Kim of Cara on Thursday, October 8th at 2:00 pm eastern.

Please register no later than 12pm central on October 7th.

Watch the Trailer

Click Here to Register for Screening + Discussion



Opportunity Spotlight: Contract Tracers

In our latest blog post, we turn our attention to contact tracing jobs, sharing recommendations from National Skills Coalition’s recent report, highlighting philanthropic efforts in Baltimore and California, and speaking with grantmaker Emilia Carrera about lessons learned from The Rockefeller Foundation’s contract tracing investments.

Click Here to Learn More


on our calendars

Community College Bachelor's Degrees: An Equity and Economic Recovery Strategy

Oct 1 2pm eastern | New America

Twenty-three states now authorize at least one community college to confer bachelor’s degrees, with six joining this group in the last three years. The lower cost and local labor market relevance of these bachelor’s degrees makes them a key way to address economic inequity and the increasing credential requirements likely to occur in the recovery from our current recession. Join the Center on Education & Skills at New America for a virtual public event in conjunction with the publication of their latest research.

Click Here to Learn More + Register


State and Local Budgets - the Next COVID-19 Battlefront

Oct 1 3pm eastern | Economic Opportunity Funders + Funders Committee for Civic Participation

Learn more about the state and local fiscal crisis, lessons learned from the Great Recession, key principles for an equitable response, and how state and local advocates are gearing up for the budget battles to come. Speakers include Caitlin Hamood, Stoneman Family Foundations (Moderator); the Honorable Julie Gonzales, Senate Finance Committee, Colorado General Assembly; Marcela Díaz, Somos Un Pueblo Unido; and Erica Williams, State Fiscal Policy, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Click Here to Learn More + Register

Event co-sponsors include the Chesapeake Bay Funders Network, Children Youth & Family Funders Roundtable, Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, Environmental Grantmakers Association, Funders Together to End Homelessness, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, Grantmakers for Thriving Youth, Maryland Philanthropy Network, Philanthropy New York, United Philanthropy Forum, and Workforce Matters.


nTIDE Lunch & Learn

Oct 2 12pm eastern | Institute on Disability / UCED at the University of New Hampshire, Kessler Foundation

This live broadcast, hosted via Zoom Webinar, offers attendees Q&A on the latest National Trends in Disability Employment (nTIDE) findings, provides news and updates from the field of disability employment, as well as invited panelists to discuss current disability-related findings and events.

Click Here to Learn More + Register


Youth Apprenticeship Summit 2020: Pathways to Inclusive Economic Renewal

Oct 13-15 | Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship + New America

With PAYA’s support, partners in communities and states across the U.S. have implemented strategies to start and grow youth apprenticeship programs across a range of industries, including information technology, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, finance, and education. Due to the economic uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 crisis--and the stark inequities the crisis has both revealed and exacerbated--youth apprenticeship is taking on even greater importance as a strategy for promoting a more inclusive economic recovery. To kick off the next phase of its work, PAYA is hosting a virtual conference, Youth Apprenticeship Summit 2020: Pathways to Inclusive Economic Renewal on October 13-15, 2020.

View the Full Agenda | Register


WorkRise: Uncovering Bold Ideas for Transforming the Labor Market for Low-Wage Workers 

Oct 13-16 | Urban Institute

Join the Urban Institute as they launch WorkRise, a new national platform for identifying, testing, and sharing bold new ideas for transforming the labor market for low-wage workers. This week-long public conversation series will explore how to drive a truly inclusive economic recovery. Business leaders, worker advocates, practitioners, policymakers, and scholars will discuss how to rebuild our economy in ways that place workers of color, women, and young workers at the center and create pathways for economic security and mobility for all workers.

Future of Child Care: COVID's Impact & Relief for the Field

Oct 14 3pm eastern | Children, Youth & Family Funders Roundtable

Join the Roundtable for the first part of their Future of Child Care series in which they'll discuss how the pandemic is affecting the child care field, ways to build parent and provider leadership, potential ways for funders to provide relief, and short-term ideas to jump start a new vision for the future. Speakers will include Julia Barfield, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation; Mary Ignatius, Parent Voices; and Hannah Matthews, CLASP.

Click Here to Learn More + Register

new information + resources

Low-Income Families and COVID-19: Financial Lives Rife with Volatility Become Even More So

International Rescue Committee

In this new brief, IRC explores how six specific spheres of financial volatility are changing in the COVID-19 era economy and offers some suggested strategies that may help reduce financial volatility in the lives of some of America’s most economically disadvantaged families in support of health, dignity, and the opportunity to make good financial decisions.

Read the Report


COVID outcomes update: Health and employment impacts in the US compared to other countries


Updated analysis by Harry J. Holzer finds that unemployment rates in the U.S. rose by over 11 percentage points between January and April but then fell by 4.5 percentage points from April to July. The January-April unemployment increase in the U.S. was 11 times larger than the average of other OECD country increases, and the January-July increase in the U.S. remained five times larger than the average of the others.

Read the Report


Unemployment Insurance: Legislative Issues in the 116th Congress

Congressional Research Service

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic recession, Congress created several new temporary unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for workers unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as temporarily modified permanent UI programs. This report reviews the specifics of the programs.

Read the Report


Voter Engagement Messaging and Activities for Private Foundations

Bolder Advocacy - A Program of Alliance for Justice

This new resource collection provides guidance on how private foundations can encourage active participation by all eligible voters while complying with IRS restrictions.

Read the Report


The Workers Lab is now accepting applications for the Fall 2020 funding cycle of The Innovation Fund. The Fund will award $150,000 to three innovators with ideas that help workers come back stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment, and economic recession. Applications must be submitted by October 14, 2020. Prospective applicants can learn more via informational webinars on October 1st and 7th - visit their website to learn more.


Economic Opportunity Funders invites nominations for their Law & Social Policy Legacy Award. This $10,000 award is open to any organization working in the field of law and social policy to advance low-wage workers’ rights in the United States. Anyone can make a nomination, and self-nominations are allowed. Find requirements, submission form, timeline and more in their FAQ or submit your nomination online. Nominations are due by October 30, 2020.


The National Fund for Workforce Solutions is hiring a Network Director. The Network Director will lead efforts to strengthen the National Fund’s network of regional collaboratives to drive impact at the local and national levels. Interested applicants should send a resume, cover letter, and writing sample to Elicia Wilson, Chief Operations Officer, ewilson@nationalfund.orgVisit the NFWS website to learn more.

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