Talent Forward 2019, Goodwill CEO, Steve Preston
© Ian Wagreich / U.S. Chamber of Commerce

In this first Work in Progress podcast, I sit down with Steve Preston, CEO of Goodwill Industries Intl., to discuss the nonprofit’s many training programs designed to help prepare people for work at many stages of their lives. I walked away impressed with all Goodwill does to help build a stronger workforce. I think you will, too.

Beyond School Walls
© 2019 Beyond School Walls
Last year, Cox and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta (BBBSMA) joined forces to launch a new approach to mentoring with a program called Beyond School Walls. Though other BBBS affiliates had tried the program, this was the first of its kind for Atlanta. This program combines traditional mentorship with an immersive educational experience. The one simple, but very important element that makes this program different than traditional mentoring programs is location. 
Iowa Survey on Early Education Needs
© 2019 Getty Images
The current unemployment rate in Iowa is 2.5%, and there are currently 40,000 people on unemployment and 60,000 job openings. As historically low unemployment continues, employers are always looking for opportunities to recruit more workers and also to retain their existing workforce. To solve this challenge, Iowa business leaders have increased wages, offered flexible work environments where possible, and expanded benefits. More recently, one of those benefits is childcare.  
Accelerating Childcare in Oregon
© Bend Chamber of Commerce
Like much of the nation, Oregon is in a childcare crisis. There are openings for only one in three children under the age of five in registered childcare centers and in-home providers. This is not only a crisis for families seeking affordable and high-quality childcare, it impacts employers who are struggling to attract and retain talent in a record low unemployment environment. 
A Country Lends Itself to Bigness
© Lubbock Economic Development Alliance
Lubbock is home to Texas Tech University (TTU), which has eight satellite campuses located within the “bigness” of the West Texas region: Abilene, Amarillo, El Paso, Fredericksburg, Highland Lakes, Junction, Midland, and Odessa. While you may not be familiar with these towns, you are probably familiar with the problems that face their workforces.
Talent Forward 2019 Wrap-Up
© Photo by Ian Wagreich / © U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Each year, as the Chamber Foundation hosts the Talent Forward national workforce conference, we focus on talent—educating and training, talent tech and data, recruiting, hiring, and upskilling. With no shortage of talent challenges, the opportunities for informative discussion are endless. While a day devoted to dissecting talent-related topics could focus solely on the problems, Talent Forward is all about the solutions.

Renewable Learning
© 2019 Getty Images
As the labor market tightens and the pace of technological change continues to accelerate, it’s becoming an increasingly common theme that the traditional “one-and-done” model of education is over. As a result, employers, policymakers, and analysts alike are increasingly calling for new approaches to lifelong learning that will help upskill and re-skill individuals to compete and succeed in a fast-changing economy. In this shifting landscape education and workforce organizations are joining forces to experiment with new models with the potential to create pathways to opportunity and economic mobility. 
Creative Solutions to Tech Re-Entry Hiring
© i.c. stars
This past spring, members of the Information Technology Alliance (ITA) visited technology workforce development nonprofit i.c.stars prior to the start of their Chicago conference. As part of a Solve-A-Thon activity, designed and led by i.c.stars graduates, the group ended up discussing an unusual topic in technology: re-entry hiring.
Finding a Childcare Provider, Child Care Aware of America
© 2019 Getty Images
Finding the right childcare provider for your family is a personal choice, and not one that can be outsourced very easily. Child Care Aware® of America Executive Director Lynette Fraga, PhD, spoke with Scott MacFarlane of NBC Washington about some specific questions parents can ask, ways to assess your unique family needs, and how to understand and develop an ongoing relationship with your childcare provider.
ECE is a Broken System
© 2019 Getty Images
In this country, the early childhood education system is in market failure. In recent years we have seen the greatest federal funding increases for early childhood education in history, and yet those significant investments just barely make a dent to tackle the need. In 2018, NASEM studied “how to fund early care and education for children…that is accessible, affordable to families, and of high quality, including a well-qualified and adequately supported workforce.” The report concluded that a financial windfall of around $54 billion would be required. 

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