Fed Chair Janet Yellen Touts the Success of WorkAdvance Sector-Focused Training


Earlier this spring, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen gave a speech, “Addressing Workforce Development Challenges in Low-Income Communities,” at the annual convention of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition in Washington, DC.

Yellen highlighted examples of successful initiatives that she said illustrate key features of effective workforce development — including the WorkAdvance model of sector-focused training:

[E]ffective CTE programs and other workforce development initiatives are able to match education and training to good-paying jobs when they actively engage employers in the training process. WorkAdvance, a regional sector-specific program, is a good example. It delivers an array of aligned services to meet local business needs and provide jobs for unemployed and low-income adults in multiple cities. An evaluation [by MDRC] of the program last year in Tulsa, New York City, and northeast Ohio found it was especially effective because it offered training for in-demand skills and industry-recognized certifications, and it focused on jobs that have clear paths for advancement.

WorkAdvance was implemented in New York City, Northeast Ohio, and Tulsa as part of a federal Social Innovation Fund grant to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity (NYC Opportunity) in collaboration with MDRC. MDRC also evaluated the program.