The recognition of Workforce Development Month began in 2005. Now, almost 20 years later, organizations across the field continue to recognize the contributions of the workforce development field to our economy and society at large. 

As a philanthropy-serving organization uniquely focused on workforce development through our support of workforce grantmakers, Workforce Matters cares deeply about the field of workforce development, workers, learners, and all those who work daily to find innovative solutions to workforce challenges. We envision a workforce development field where funders work effectively with all workforce ecosystem stakeholders to amplify worker and learner agency and advance race-conscious and equitable workforce programs and practices, workforce policy, and employers in order to close disparities and improve outcomes for every worker in support of a vibrant economy. 

As we bring this year’s workforce development month to a close, we wanted to create space for our members to share why workforce development matters to them. Here’s what they are saying: 

“I look at workforce development as a social determinant of economic mobility and security. To not develop something implies that it’s perfect or optimal, neither of which would I describe our current workforce systems.  My goal is to make sure our philanthropic efforts improve the experiences of current and future workers.  Our workforce investments today– whether it be in policy, worker rights, pay equity, apprenticeships, or credentials – will have generational impact. The future of work is literally in our hands!”

~ Ashley McIver, Communities Foundation of Texas 

“Workforce development matters to me because I believe in the power of a good, high quality job to transform a person and a family, and in the power of many good, high quality jobs in the right locations to transform communities.” 

~ Cathy Belk, Deaconess Foundation 

“Workforce Development matters because if designed with equity, it can be a source of repair for individuals and communities that have been failed by multiple systems.”

~ Leslie Payne & Tuquan Harrison, The James Irvine Foundation 

“Workforce development matters to me because it fosters inclusion and social mobility, providing people with the tools and training they need to access better job opportunities, and can give everyone, irrespective of their socio-economic status, ethnicity, disability, gender or any other distinguishing factor, a fair chance to excel in their careers.”

~ Elaine Katz, Kessler Foundation 

“Workforce development matters to me because it can help people find the dignity that comes from a good job and being able to provide for your family.”

~ Crystal Bridgeman, Siemens Foundation 

“Workforce development matters to me because it’s critical that people have different pathways into good careers. While traditional higher education should be available to all, it has become quite clear that it’s not necessarily the right option for all.”

~  Matt Albert, Teshinsky Family Foundation 

We recognize that workforce development can often be a thankless job; the efforts of many are often unnoticed yet the work remains a critical component of an equitable and just society.  Whether you are new to workforce development or are a seasoned workforce development professional, we say thank you! Thank you for your time, commitment, dedication, and unwavering passion for workforce development. 

Loh-Sze Leung and Clair Minson


Workforce Matters