Althea Ulin


October 26, 2022


Aligning workforce demands to classroom readiness pathways is core to the Talent Pipeline Management (TPM)® curriculum of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, but it takes training and engagement from hundreds of partners, fellows, and sponsors across the country to study and implement the strategies that allow a National Learning Network to come together.

On Tuesday, September 27th, the U.S. Chamber Foundation hosted the 2022 National Learning Network Summit sponsored by GoEducate, with over 100 in-person attendees and more joining virtually. This was the first in-person National Learning Network Summit since 2019. The Summit brought together faculty, fellows, and partners to collaborate and engage the core element of the TPM Academy® strategies through networking, immersive case studies, breakout rooms, and panels led by an array of subject specialists.

“This was an excellent event to embrace the TPM philosophy and strategy and then to network to take it to the next level,” said Gordon Freedman, GoEducate President. “As a solution provider directly linking people and programs to in-demand jobs, this was one place where the whole support ecosystem for training for work and helping employers build pipelines was gathered in a collaborative atmosphere.”

As the Summit concludes, the partners go into their local communities to implement the toolkits they strengthened and developed in Washington with a stronger community of TPM experts to help connect students and opportunity populations to the open job market and vice versa.

Michael Evans, Executive Director of the Kalamazoo Literacy Council, exemplified the work he is doing that showcases how TPM works in local communities.

“What we do really is to make sure that those who need help have access to help, and that the services that are provided and the employment opportunities look like the neighborhood that is employing,” Evans said. “So, we know in our neighborhood that 28% of the households in the Edison neighborhood make less than $25,000 a year for an annual household.”

Executing TPM strategies, Evans has made a purposive effort to create joint prosperity in the Kalamazoo community.

“They also are within walking distance of employment opportunities and early childhood education,” he explained. “The connection was not being made because they were not seeing this population, this opportunity population, as an immediate solution. So, our commitment really was to be able to use a collective approach of raising up the awareness, looking at the fact that these are individuals who are ready for employment now, but they need a lot of support to be able to help them along the way and to build that system of support around them to ensure that they are successful at every stage in their journey. From GED attainment, CDA, apprenticeship, all the way up to full employment with benefits.”

Evans and other practitioners of workforce development connected their own experience in combination with the expertise of the presenters and TPM faculty members to strengthen the abilities of those who are ‘apprentices’ or just beginning to integrate the TPM model into their workforce development work and ‘savants’ who are experienced with the TPM curriculum. Both groups were able to interchange ideas as well as split into separate working groups to refine their skills at the deeper experience-based level.There was a high level of demand and interest in DEI work within TPM implementation; as put by Deb Lyzenga, Industry Engagement Division Adminstrator at the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunities.

“The state of Michigan is very committed to DEI and A, accessible workplaces. And we all know that organizations who have DEIA workplaces are higher performing organizations,” she said.

She followed up with the three questions they are continually asking themselves to ensure they are executing their values, “are we creating good and promising jobs [and] are they diverse enough for our community and our state? Are we removing barriers to higher income and driving down poverty with at-risk populations, particularly the ALICE [Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed] population? And then third, how [do] we get there?”

The Summit served as an intersection of free-flowing collaboration on ideas of how to improve industry-specific and general use of the TPM strategies for all levels of practitioners, from novice to expert. Because of shared experiences, attendees could have transparent conversations about success stories and what was needed to improve implementation across communities, making connections a highlight of the event.

Learn more about the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s Talent Pipeline Management (TPM)® initiative here.

About the authors

Althea Ulin