Workforce Matters piloted a set of Peer Learning Strategy Sessions for members in Fall 2023. Created in response to member requests, these sessions were designed to be conversational and exploratory opportunities for our grantmaking members to learn about new or innovative grantmaking initiatives, brainstorm existing or potential investment strategies, and explore new ideas together.  Through five separate conversations, we brought together approximately 25 grantmaking members from a wide range of backgrounds, institutional contexts, and interests to discuss five topics.  Each Learning Strategy Session was hosted by a grantmaking member with a particular interest or investment in the session topic. Below is a brief recap of each session. 

The Storytelling, Narrative Change & Workforce Development session was hosted by Surabhi Jain of the Workforce Funders Collaborative in Toronto. In this session, grantmakers who were interested in developing strategies related to storytelling and narrative change in workforce development learned about the Writing Fellowship that the Workforce Funders Collaborative sponsored in partnership with The Philanthropist as part of their grantmaking strategy related to Equity and Narrative Change. 

Hosted by Molly Lasagna and the Higher Education in Prisons Funder Collaborative, the Higher Education and Workforce Opportunities for Justice-Impacted Individuals session explored a conversation about ensuring returning citizens have access to higher education and training opportunities that put them on a viable career pathway with connections to holistic supports. Grantmakers in this session discussed questions such as: What promising/best practices are you seeing in terms of advancing equity in this work and what do you see as promising opportunities for funders to collaborate on? 

With much interest and enthusiasm in workforce development for skills-based hiring, our session on Supporting and Implementing Skills-Based Hiring explored effective systems for using a skills-based hiring approach. Our partners at Jobs for the Future (JFF), provided a comprehensive overview of the ways that they’ve worked with corporate employers and partners to implement skills-based hiring practices. Our corporate grantmaking partners were also given the opportunity to discuss strategies and approaches they are trying and/or investing in support of skills-based hiring. 

Allison Gerber and other members at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, hosted a session on Re-imagining a Worker-Centered Workforce System with a particular focus on understanding the experiences of workers in the current economic climate. During this session, the team at the Casey Foundation shared their rationale for investing in research to understand the experiences of workers and worker viewpoints on the current workforce development system. Grantmaking members who participated in this session explored questions such as “What does worker-centered workforce policy mean to you and your organization” and explored opportunities for funder collaboration and partnerships. 

Our final session was designed with specific attention to our Corporate Grantmaking members and invited an exploration of the Opportunities to align CSR and HR priorities. During this session, corporate funders shared how they are seeking to align their CSR and HR priorities as well as the opportunities and challenges to aligning these priorities. Corporate funders in this session left with an increased interest in continuing this conversation. 

Looking Ahead: We are excited to continue these Peer Learning Strategy Sessions in 2024. We are actively seeking YOUR input on future topics to explore and discuss with your grantmaking peers. Let us know your interests by filling out this form. If you have any questions or reflections, please email Clair at   Thanks to all of our partners who participated in this series! We could not have done this without you!