Cross-agency collaborations are an important part of President Obama’s Job-Driven Training initiative that the Labor Department has been engaged in for the past six months. They are also a top priority for Secretary Perez. We know our programs work best when we all work together to ensure that every door opens a path to success for job seekers; and that workers receive the support they need to acquire in-demand skills.
In the spirit of job-driven, cross-agency collaboration, the department’s Employment and Training Administration held a webinar with colleagues from the Department of Housing and Urban Development earlier this week to release new, job-driven partnership resources for local Workforce Investment Boards and Public Housing Authorities.
The Partnership Toolkit provides a range of resources and case studies that communities can use to develop sustainable local partnerships to help ensure that residents of public housing communities have access to labor market information, job training, job placement and support services offered through the workforce system. Local practitioners from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Camden, New Jersey, participated in the webinar and shared their keys to success and lessons for developing effective partnerships with their local workforce investment board and public housing authorities.
The department also issued a joint letter to YouthBuild grantees, recipients of HUD funding, contractors and Registered Apprenticeship sponsors that encourages HUD contractors (including those that have apprenticeship programs) to partner with YouthBuild programs to hire students and graduates. Such collaborations are a win-win – helping contractors meet Section 3 requirements under the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968 to hire local workers while providing critical opportunities for low income young people.
In opening remarks on the webinar, Secretary Perez strongly urged the workforce system to partner with local housing authorities in this area to maximize opportunities for YouthBuild participants.
The webinar concluded with a preview of HUD’s new competitive grant program, called JOBS-Plus to be released later this year that will fund partnerships between PHAs, WIBs, and other agencies and organizations that provide support to help public housing residents obtain employment and increase earnings. These grants will directly invest in the types of job-driven partnerships encouraged through the toolkit and joint letter. Stay tuned for more information!
Jennifer Troke is chief of the division of youth services in the Employment and Training Administration’s Office of Workforce Investment, and Ben Seigel is a senior policy advisor in the Employment and Training Administration.