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Workforce Solutions Planning Guide

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					PLANNING GUIDE

           BRINGING TOGETHER WORKERS, EMPLOYERS, PUBLIC OFFICIALS,
           AND BUSINESS, COMMUNITY, AND EDUCATION LEADERS ACROSS
           THE UNITED STATES TO HONOR NEW AND SUCCESSFUL WAYS TO
                          BUILD THE NATION’S FRONTLINE WORKFORCE.




                                         W W W. J F F.O RG
TABLE OF CONTENTS

An Overview of Workforce Solutions Week                             3

The Goals of the Week                                               4

Success Stories                                                     4

Resources and Materials                                             5

Programming Ideas                                                   6

Media-Centered Activities                                           6

Community-Based Events                                              7

Planning Events                                                     8

Build Your Planning Team Carefully                                  8

Meeting 1: Introducing the Idea and Laying the Groundwork           8

Meeting 2: Shaping the Content and Structure of the Event           9

Meeting 3: Finalizing Logistics                                     10

Meeting 4: Wrap Up and Review                                       11

Sample Event Outline                                                11

Tips for Publicizing the Event, Before and After                    11

Additional Activities and Opportunities for Ongoing Participation   12

Acknowledgements                                                    13
“The only way
to move to full
employment is to
lay a new foundation
for long-term
economic growth,
and finally address
the problems that
                                 AN OVERVIEW
America’s families
have confronted for
                                 OF WORKFORCE
years.”                          SOLUTIONS WEEK
—President Barack Obama
                                 The economy is changing rapidly as traditional jobs disappear and
during the State of the Union,
2010                             knowledge-based jobs, such as health care and precision tooling,
                                 populate the employment landscape. That is leaving nearly 80
                                 million Americans without the skills required to succeed. And
                                 the recession puts this skills gap in stark relief—we have failed
                                 to prepare people for the jobs that will exist when the economy
                                 recovers and, as a result, many employers will struggle.

                                 Based on the success of the four JFF-affiliated projects—Breaking
                                 Through, Connecting Literacy and Work, Jobs to Careers, and the
                                 National Fund for Workforce Solutions—now is an opportune time
                                 to raise awareness of their models and their strategies for helping
                                 employers and employees succeed in today’s economy.

                                 Between Monday, March 8 and Sunday, March 14, each participating
                                 organization will undertake at least one quality event. These
                                 activities can be selected from a menu of options—including
                                 media-centered activities and community-based events.

                                 Program staff for each initiative will assist local organizations
                                 that participate in the week. JFF will collaborate with and
                                 assist partners and organizations in developing, executing,
                                 and publicizing local events. JFF will also promote the week of
                                 activities to national media, collaborating with the partners and
                                 participating organizations.




                                                    3   WORKFORCE SOLUTION WEEK MARCH 8-14, 2010
THE GOALS OF THE WEEK
>> Through local and national media visibility, build local support for those workforce development
   systems that are producing results.

>> Promote partners’ roles in building national networks that help spread lessons across regions,
   industries, and postsecondary systems.

>> Elevate the successes of some of our more mature programs in the eyes of local and national funders.

>> Promote programs (both mature and developing) to local and national stakeholders and decision
   makers as representations of innovative models that work.

>> Motivate all workers from diverse backgrounds to succeed in postsecondary education—the best means
   of advancing their careers.

>> Inspire people to consider the role of education in their lives and the future of our country.



SUCCESS STORIES
One activity for the week will be the collection and dissemination of success stories, helping the nation get
beyond the idea that “nothing works.” Here’s an example, from the National Fund for Workforce Solutions,
that will appear in a forthcoming JFF publication:

   It did not take long after finishing high school for Jemease Tate to figure out that earning minimum
   wage at Chuck E. Cheese’s wasn’t building her much of a future. But it took 15 years of part-time
   work, part-time school, and help from countless public and private entities in California for her to
   find her way into a family-sustaining career.

   Tate finally found the way from a flyer she saw in a welfare office. The flyer announced a training
   program for allied health care jobs, led by Goodwill Serving the People of Southern Los Angeles
   County—Goodwill SOLAC. She had already worked as a medical assistant, a lab technician, and a
   massage therapist. Perhaps if she did well in the Goodwill program, she’d get a shot at qualifying
   for more advanced training—and one day land her dream job as a registered nurse. She signed up.

   “I was still a little afraid,” recalls Tate, a 32-year-old single mother. She wasn’t sure she could
   succeed, having struggled with math and science in the past. “But Goodwill really made it possible
   for me,” she says. “If I need anything, they’ll give it to me, and they always say, ‘We know you can
   do it.’”

   With financial assistance from Goodwill SOLAC, Tate completed the training in February 2009 and
   became a certified nursing assistant. Thanks to top-notch recommendations from the program, she
   immediately found a job with Sunrise Senior Living, a national company with over 400 facilities
   and one of Goodwill’s most involved employer partners. Tate now helps care for residents with
   moderate to late-stage dementia at Sunrise of Hermosa Beach, and she’s in line for her first
   promotion.

   Still, Tate is not done seeking her dream. She now goes to school five days a week and works at
   Sunrise on weekends. She is preparing to become a licensed vocational nurse through the school
   district’s adult education center, and she stays in close touch with Goodwill, which will follow her
   progress and continue offering her assistance for five years.

   It is a difficult but exciting time for Tate and her eight-year-old son. They share a bed in her
   parents’ house, but she scans the apartment ads in anticipation of earning enough to afford her
   own home.

   Tate reassures her son that they will have to wait just one more year, and he always says he does
   not mind. He tells her how proud he is that she is learning to become a nurse. “He tells me, ‘I’m
   going to be just like you. I’m just not going to wait that long.’”


                        WORKFORCE SOLUTION WEEK MARCH 8-14, 2010   4
RESOURCES AND MATERIALS
Jobs for the Future will advise the initiative’s national partners on planning and promoting their events
and those of their sites, reach out to national journalists and assist with local media activities, and
produce print and electronic resources that can help partners convene Workforce Solutions Week.

All materials will be available for partners and schools to download.


 PLANNING GUIDE: This step-by-step guide to creating a successful Workforce Solutions Week will
 include key data points, site profiles, event planning tips and steps, etc.

 WEB SITE: A special section on www.jff.org will provide resources for the media and electronic versions
 of all programming material. You will find “Workforce Solutions Week” under the PROJECTS tab.

 NEWS RELEASE TEMPLATES: Partners can use easily customized models to publicize activities to
 local media.

 TALKING POINTS ON WORKFORCE SOLUTIONS, the Week, and the challenge that we face in terms of
 strengthening our workforce.

 30-SECOND PSA SCRIPT for distribution to local radio, TV, or print media.

 PROMOTIONAL FLYER TEMPLATE for sites to adapt and send to community members, etc.

 LOGOS for the Week.

 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS about Breaking Through, Connecting Literacy and Work, Jobs to
 Careers, and the National Fund for Workforce Solutions.

 INVITATION LETTER to local officials and others: Partners can adapt this template for local use.

 KEY CONTACTS at JFF for assistance.

 GUIDE TO CONTACTING PUBLIC OFFICIALS at the local, state, and national levels.

 SAMPLE OP-ED AND LETTER TO THE EDITOR for submission to local media by an employee or
 employer, etc.




                                                       5    WORKFORCE SOLUTION WEEK MARCH 8-14, 2010
                                                                      MEDIA-CENTERED ACTIVITIES
                                                                      Jobs for the Future will help sites and their lead partners develop
                                                                      media activities for Workforce Solutions Week. These activities
                                                                      could include:

PROGRAMMING                                                           >> Holding a news conference to celebrate employees who


IDEAS
                                                                          are receiving a college degree or certificate, or a group of
                                                                          workers receiving promotions as result of participation in a
                                                                          workforce program;

The following ideas are a starting point.                             >> Connecting media with an employee or employer benefiting
                                                                          from a developing workforce strategy or initiative;
We provide them to help partner organizations
                                                                      >> Inviting media to an “open house” or to visit and see, for
and their sites develop programming that
                                                                          example, a work-based training program in action and
uniquely reflects each community. Although                                interview participating employees and supervisors;

an activity can stand alone, sites can integrate                      >> Releasing data on employee achievement at a site or
several in a week-long celebration that generates                         throughout a specific region; or

widespread appeal and media attention.                                >> Submitting an op-ed by a leading local employer, business
                                                                          association, or public official to a local newspaper, radio, or TV
                                                                          station about the merits of workforce solutions—or arrange for
                                                                          that person to be interviewed.




                           WORKFORCE SOLUTION WEEK MARCH 8-14, 2010
                           WORKFORCE SOLUTION WEEK MARCH 8-14, 2010   6
COMMUNITY-BASED EVENTS
The following ideas are broader, community-focused activities. Many require more
planning time and organizing capacity than media-based events. On the other
hand, they can engage a much broader audience.


Panel Discussions
Employers, community colleges, or program site leads could expand local
awareness of education-related workforce issues by inviting business and
education leaders, advocates, and policymakers to discuss topics that affect
local education and career advancement. Suggested topics for speakers or
a panel include:

>> What is the connection between educational attainment and career
   advancement?

>> How can we prepare workers to succeed and businesses to compete in a post-
   recession economy?

>> How can we prepare jobseekers and employees for the types of jobs that will
   exist after the recession?

>> What obstacles do low-skilled workers face in terms of gaining a
   postsecondary credential, and what supports can help them succeed?

>> How should communities define success for their low-wage workers?

>> How high can we aim?


Site Receptions/Tours
Offer community members opportunities to meet the employees that benefit from
a workforce program at a reception. The site could honor an employee, supervisor,
or local leader at the reception.




                           7    WORKFORCE SOLUTION WEEK MARCH 8-14, 2010
                                                                       BUILD YOUR PLANNING TEAM CAREFULLY
                                                                       Forming a cohesive, effective planning team takes legwork before
                                                                       calling the full group together. Have a strategic discussion with
                                                                       colleagues from within your site or organization to help you form
                                                                       a planning team and prepare for the first meeting.

PLANNING                                                               >> Select whom to invite to join your planning team.


EVENTS
                                                                           Include employers, educators, key participants, and
                                                                           community members.

                                                                       >> Determine roles for planning team members and how
Planning a community event requires strategic                              you will communicate these.

thinking. The steps outlined below will help                           >> Develop a tentative timeline. Although the planning team will
                                                                           have the final say on the timeline, a rough estimate helps
streamline your efforts and help you build
                                                                           prospective team members know what their commitment
lasting collaborative relationships.                                       would be.

                                                                       >> Set an agenda for the first meeting and send it to all
                                                                           prospective planning team members at least one week before
                                                                           your first meeting.




                                                                       MEETING 1 GOALS
                                                                       >> Ensure that all planning committee members understand
                                                                           the purpose of the event, their roles in the process and
                                                                           what is expected of them.

                                                                       >> Discuss a tentative date, time, and place.

                                                                       >> Decide a strategy for generating an invitation list.
MEETING 1:                                                             >> Identify hosts, key presenters, media strategies, etc.


INTRODUCING                                                            ESSENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

THE IDEA AND                                                           >> Briefly outline the nature and format of your event and
                                                                           highlight its major themes/messages.



LAYING THE                                                             >> Propose an event timeline and alter it as necessary to suit the
                                                                           needs of planning team members.



GROUNDWORK
                                                                       >> Choose an event location that makes the most people feel
                                                                           comfortable. Consider logistical issues such as accessibility,
                                                                           public transportation, and parking.

Focus the first meeting on the goals of your                           >> Decide whom you want at your event and the best methods
Workforce Solutions Week event and getting                                 for reaching them. Be sure to identify important people in the
                                                                           community who might not hold official positions of leadership
the team to agree on basic issues and which                                but whose opinions matter. Assign a team member to generate
programming ideas best suit your site.                                     a mailing list for invitations.

                                                                       >> Identify hosts, key presenters, etc. for the event and assign
                                                                           team members to engage these people.

                                                                       >> Identify media opportunities and formulate a plan for
                                                                           press kits.

                                                                       >> Set up/agree upon the times for the rest of the
                                                                           planning meetings.


                            WORKFORCE SOLUTION WEEK MARCH 8-14, 2010
                            WORKFORCE SOLUTION WEEK MARCH 8-14, 2010   8
                                              MEETING 2 GOALS
                                              >> Finalize the time, date, and place.

                                              >> Propose the agenda for the event.

                                              >> Raise all logistical questions and assign their solutions
                                                  to members.

                                              >> Create a plan for publicizing the event.


                                              ESSENTIAL ACTION ITEMS
                                              >> Shape the tone of the event by explaining its focus on the
                                                  achievements of workforce development programs and its
                                                  participants.
MEETING 2:
                                              >> Those who took on tasks should report back to the team.


SHAPING THE                                   >> Make final decisions on the time, date, and location of the event.
                                              >> Propose an agenda for the event and make any necessary

CONTENT AND                                       adjustments.

                                              >> Raise logistical questions and assign their solutions to team

STRUCTURE                                         members. Consider audio and video equipment, food, and other
                                                  issues that may take time to resolve. Think about what your


OF THE EVENT
                                                  community can offer—free meeting space, donated food, event
                                                  sponsorship, video equipment, etc. Initiatives, college partners,
                                                  and other institutions may have public relations professionals
                                                  who can help you with publicity.
Shape the event and hammer out broader
                                              >> Create a plan for ensuring strong community participation.
logistical issues. Reemphasize the goals of       Publicize, for instance, that this is a unique opportunity to
the event.                                        show people locally and more widely that all jobseekers and
                                                  employees can succeed in today’s economy. Announce any
                                                  special guests or community leaders who have been invited.

                                              >> Consider hosting a reception with refreshments before or
                                                  after the event. Feature employees, special guests, community
                                                  leaders, local journalists, etc.

                                              >> Think about what would make it difficult for people to attend,
                                                  and then solve those problems. Consider transportation, work
                                                  schedules, carpools, the need for reminders (calls and emails),
                                                  directions, etc.

                                              >> Invite participants and confirm key presenters.

                                              >> Think about any signs you may need. These can include banners
                                                  to hang behind a podium, directional signs, poster-board signs
                                                  on easels, etc.




                                              9   WORKFORCE SOLUTION WEEK MARCH 8-14, 2010
                                                                     MEETING 3 GOALS
                                                                     >> Arrange and confirm all logistics.

                                                                     >> Make sure the host(s) and key presenters are prepared
                                                                         and ready.

                                                                     >> Finalize the agenda, discussion questions, and activities
MEETING 3:                                                               for the event.



FINALIZING
                                                                     >> Make sure press materials are ready to be delivered.


                                                                     ESSENTIAL ACTION ITEMS
LOGISTICS                                                            >> Team members report on logistical tasks for which they
                                                                         are responsible.
By the time this meeting ends, tie up all
                                                                     >> Prepare materials that you will have on site.
loose ends and ensure that all planning
                                                                     >> Assign final details to team members, such as preparing
team members are clear on their roles                                    nametags, event signs, evaluation forms, and participant lists.
for the day of the event.                                            >> Finalize audio and video equipment and have cameras on hand
                                                                         to document the event.

                                                                     >> Decide who will arrive at the event early to set up the room and
                                                                         greet guests and key presenters.

                                                                     >> Make final decisions with the host(s) and key presenters to
                                                                         finalize the agenda and event activities and ensure familiarity
                                                                         with all the issues.

                                                                     >> Review the press materials prepared by planning team
                                                                         members. Make appropriate changes and determine how to
                                                                         disseminate the information.




                         WORKFORCE SOLUTION WEEK MARCH 8-14, 2010
                         WORKFORCE SOLUTION WEEK MARCH 8-14, 2010   10
                                                                    10
                                                                   MEETING 4 GOALS
                                                                   >> Review and summarize evaluations and reach agreement on
MEETING 4:                                                             the possibility of future projects.

                                                                   >> Thank special guests and donors.

WRAP UP                                                            >> Plan post-event publicity.


AND REVIEW                                                         ESSENTIAL ACTION ITEMS
                                                                   >> Review the evaluations gathered from participants and guests
After your event, the planning team meets                              at the event. Discuss common themes and summarize the
to talk about how the event went. Also use                             results. If future projects have been proposed, make concrete
                                                                       plans for starting discussions about them, including strategies
this meeting to publicize the event further,                           for bringing in new audiences.
solidify new partnerships, and examine the
                                                                   >> Assign team members to thank special guests and community
possibility of future collaborations.                                  organizations that donated space, food, or logistical help. Send
                                                                       handwritten cards/notes.

                                                                   >> Review press releases and photos from the event. Determine
                                                                       who will contact the media to encourage post-event coverage.




       SAMPLE EVENT OUTLINE
       The timeline for the following event is about two hours.

       Consider holding a brief reception (perhaps half an hour) to allow participants to talk informally with your special
       guests immediately before or after the event. Ask a local restaurant or café to sponsor the reception.

       1.	 Planning team members greet participants and guests as they arrive.

       2.	 Provide media representatives at the event with relevant background information. Follow up later with photos
          and results of the event.

       3.	 The event host gives brief opening remarks, introduces special guests, and welcomes the audience.

       4.	 The event activities
       5.	 The event host summarizes the main ideas and opinions that will be discussed.

       6.	 Thank everyone for attending and end on a positive, constructive note. If there are next steps, announce what
          they are and how people can be involved.

       7.	 Find out what people thought of the event by asking participants and guests to fill out the evaluation form.


       TIPS FOR PUBLICIZING THE EVENT, BEFORE AND AFTER
       Make sure your event has an impact beyond the people who attend. Informing the community and the media
       fosters awareness and encourages people to get involved in future projects. Getting the word out about what you
       have accomplished should not take a tremendous amount of work—just careful thought.

       Create a media plan that is reasonable and do as much work as possible beforehand. Remember that you are
       more likely to get coverage if you make it easy for a reporter to do a story.

       >> Take photos. Have a camera at the event so that you can send selected photos to newspapers. Take digital
          photos that show people in action and that show guests interacting with one another.




                                                                  11   WORKFORCE SOLUTION WEEK MARCH 8-14, 2010
>> Write a press release. Make sure the release shows the relevance of your event to the community.
   Include one or more interesting, brief quotes from employees, supervisors, students, site leaders, etc.
   Include small community newspapers, radio stations, and locally oriented Web sites on the list of places
   you contact.

>> Follow up the press release with a phone call. Media outlets receive countless press releases every day.
   Calling the appropriate reporter and pitching the story can help tremendously. Recognize that, often,
   your pitch will be done via voicemail. Be prepared to deliver your pitch—your news—in a brief soundbite.

>> Use your resources. If one (or more) of your planning team members has a person who handles
   media for his or her organization, see if that person can assist with formulating and executing
   your media activities.

>> Use your contacts. Ask any planning team members who have relationships with members of the media
   to pitch the story to their contacts. Even if the contact is not a journalist who would cover the event,
   she or he may be able to encourage colleagues to do a story.

>> Reach out to media columnists. Identify newspaper columnists who have shown an interest in workforce
   development issues. Even if they do not attend, follow up to let them know what you accomplished
   with your event.




ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR
ONGOING PARTICIPATION
There are many ways you can keep dialogue flowing after your event. Now that you have experience
working with the people and organizations on your planning team, keep them invested in your efforts by
including them in implementing these activities. Also, keep journalists in the loop; they will be interested
and invested in your continuing efforts. Participation in future events can be a way for local media to
orient new journalists to the community.

>> Post event photos on the workplace or college walls, their Web sites, partner Web sites, other relevant
   Web sites, etc.

>> Post materials about Workforce Solutions Week on Web sites.

>> Send thank you letters to all who helped and were honored.

>> In writing letters, suggest follow-up actions where relevant, such as asking state leaders to
   support effective workforce development models in public policy. Contact JFF for specific ideas on
   public policies.

>> Send a report on your activities to your national partner and JFF.

>> Report to your stakeholders and more broadly to your community on the activities that took place
   during Workforce Solutions Week nationally.

>> Use ideas and materials from Workforce Solutions Week throughout the year to convey the core
   message: we can build the nation’s workforce to the benefit of workers, employers, communities,
   and the nation.

>> Start generating ideas for Workforce Solutions Week 2011.




                      WORKFORCE SOLUTION WEEK MARCH 8-14, 2010   12
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
A large number of JFF staff members contributed to this guide. They include Marlene Seltzer, president
and CEO, along with the members of the Communications team: Jass Stewart, vice president, and Rochelle
Fontaine, Joshua Gambrell, Jessica Howe, Jeff Landis, Jean-Pierre LeGuillou, Mindy Martin, Marc Miller,
and Jayme Rubenstein. Special thanks to JFF staff members who work on workforce initiatives: Maria
Flynn, vice president, and Shauna Greene, Gloria Mwase, and Geri Scott. Lastly, thanks to Jeff Rosenberg of
Rosenberg Communications.

JOBS FOR THE FUTURE identifies, develops, and promotes new education and workforce strategies that
help communities, states, and the nation compete in a global economy. In nearly 200 communities in
41 states, JFF improves the pathways leading from high school to college to family-sustaining careers.
JFF leads or co-leads the four initiatives participating in Workforce Solutions Week: Breaking Through,
Connecting Literacy and Work, Jobs to Careers, and the National Fund for Workforce Solutions.

BREAKING THROUGH, a multiyear demonstration project, promotes and strengthens the efforts of
innovative community colleges across the country to help low-literacy adults prepare for and succeed
in occupational and technical degree programs. The goal is to strengthen postsecondary outcomes for
low-income adults by focusing on strategies that create more effective pathways through pre-college and
degree-level programs. Breaking Through is a collaboration between JFF and the National Council for
Workforce Education.

CONNECTING LITERACY AND WORK, with funding from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation,
encompasses three strands of JFF work that are strengthening the connections between adult literacy
and workforce development: connecting adult literacy to employment; building the capacity of literacy
networks to partner with sector-based workforce development initiatives; and technical assistance and
documentation. Together, these activities will deepen and disseminate strategies that advance low-skilled
adults in their careers through tighter linkages between adult literacy and workforce initiatives at the
community level.

JOBS TO CAREERS helps frontline health care workers access the skills and credential opportunities they
need to advance their careers—at little to no cost to the workers. This $15.8 million initiative supports 17
partnerships of employers, educational institutions, and other organizations. The initiative is sponsored
by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in collaboration with The Hitachi Foundation and the U.S.
Department of Labor.

THE NATIONAL FUND FOR WORKFORCE SOLUTIONS is a partnership unprecedented in its scope. Nearly
200 funders are investing millions of dollars in local communities to help get people back to work and
ensure that American businesses are able to compete. In 22 sites across the country, the National Fund
is working closely with employers and leaders from the public and nonprofit sectors to find solutions,
testing how the lessons learned from groundbreaking pilot projects can be applied on a national scale. The
ultimate goal: helping employers and employees succeed in a post-recession economy.




                                                       13   WORKFORCE SOLUTION WEEK MARCH 8-14, 2010
For more information on WORKFORCE SOLUTIONS WEEK and how your program site
or community can participate, contact Joshua Gambrell, jgambrell@jff.org.




TEL   617.728.4446   FAX   617.728.4857 info@jff.org

88 Broad Street, 8th Floor, Boston, MA 02110
85 Prescott Street, Suite 405, Worcester, MA 01605
2000 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 5300, Washington, DC 20006

W W W. J F F.O R G

				
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