Wichita Selected to Participate in National Grant to Promote Good Jobs
A new grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will identify the key motivationsWICHITA, KS ( January 21, 2020) - The National Fund for Workforce Solutions announced it is
awarding a $125,000 grant to Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas promote good job
design for small and medium sized businesses, This is the third job quality initiative the
Workforce Alliance has received from the National Fund and builds upon grants received in 2017
and 2018. The grant will provide in depth evaluation and analysis of job quality work done to date
assist local employers to incorporate new business practices that will improve their
competitiveness and result in better jobs for workers. The Workforce Alliance was chosen from
the National Fund network of more than 35 communities to participate in this innovative program.
In today’s tight labor market, employers compete for talent and jobs are plentiful. And workers
have choices. Historically, two out of three jobs are created by small and medium-sized
businesses. With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Fund for
Workforce Solutions will work in five U.S. communities to identify the main factors that
influence small and medium businesses to design better jobs that improve workers’ economic
mobility and also deliver business benefits.
“Too many workers are stuck in jobs that can’t support a family,” said Fred Dedrick, president
and CEO of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions. “Across the country, many employers
are taking concrete steps to improve their jobs. But to scale these practices and move more
workers into good jobs, we need to understand the key motivations for employers to make
changes. This new investment from the Gates Foundation will allow us to do just that.”
Under the 18-month, $2.1 million dollar grant, the National Fund will work with five partner
communities to make job design changes, learn how best to evaluate the impact of these changes
on businesses and workers, and identify the factors that influence employers to prioritize this
“A ‘good job’ takes many forms, and varies across business size, industry, and geography. It
includes things like wages, scheduling, coaching, childcare, training, and recognition,” said
Janice Urbanik, senior director for innovation and strategy at the National Fund for Workforce
Solutions. “Given that about half of the U.S. workforce is employed by small and medium
businesses, understanding why some of them choose to make their jobs better—or why they
don’t—could be transformative.”
The five communities are Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Hartford, and Wichita. Employer
partners represent a range of industries, from restaurants and hotels to long-term care providers
and advanced manufacturers.
Among these small and mid-sized employers, some will take a human-centered design approach
to job quality. Human-centered design puts the people you are trying to serve at the center of the
process and includes their perspective at all stages of decision-making.
The National Fund will partner with Washington University in St. Louis and Design Impact in
About the Workforce Alliance:
The Workforce Alliance (WA) formed PACES in 2008 when invited to join the National Fund as
a regional collaborative site grantee. Through PACES, the WA is building on strong
relationships with local employers to elevate living-wage jobs with cross training and financial
literacy tools for frontline employers and supervisor training for managers.
Under the management of the WA, PACES has developed into a mature, employer led system,
securing investments totaling more than $3.7 million for the region, including over $2.5 million
in direct grant funds competitively awarded since 2008.
Founding members and local funders of PACES include the United Way of the Plains, TECT
Aerospace, Spirit AeroSystems, the Knight Foundation, and the City of Wichita. Currently, Cox
Machine, The Mahaney Group, and XLT Ovens are partners in the Gates Foundation grant.
The Workforce Alliance is the Local Workforce Development Board (WA) and operates
employment and training programs through the Workforce Center of South Central Kansas in
Butler, Cowley, Sedgwick and Sumner Counties. For additional information on the Workforce
Alliance please visit www.workforce-ks.com
About the National Fund for Workforce Solutions:
The National Fund for Workforce Solutions invests in a dynamic national network of 30+
communities taking a demand-driven, evidence-based approach to workforce development. At
the local level, the National Fund’s partner organizations contribute resources, test ideas, collect
data, and improve public policies and business practices that help all workers succeed and
employers have the talent they need to compete. Learn more at www.NationalFund.org.