What is the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund?

The Detroit Regional Workforce Fund is a regional public/private collaborative designed to support innovative workforce partnerships that prepare jobseekers and workers with the skills they need for careers, while helping employers fill the jobs that are in demand in our changing economy. The DRWF is also working to effect change in the region’s strategic workforce vision and align public and private resources in new ways around workforce development.

What does the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund Really Do?

DRWF brings employers, training partners and funders together in innovative partnerships to help prepare our region’s workforce for the jobs that will exist in our changing economy. To give an example, the DRWF has created a Detroit Area Green Sector Skills Alliance (DAGSSA) that brings together energy-efficient employers, green construction employers and education, and training organizations with potential job opportunities.

What is the value that it adds to the metro Detroit Community?

Because the DRWF is an independent non-profit, it has the ability to think and act quickly. This nimbleness also allows the DRWF to operate “closer to the ground.”  Additionally, the DRWF has more flexibility in the manner in which it leverages public resources and can more rapidly and creatively invest resources to respond to the real time needs of employers and the overall marketplace.

What outcomes is the DRWF trying to achieve?

DRWF envisions a healthy community that creates the conditions for financial stability of all residents and the economic vitality of businesses in Detroit and Southeast Michigan.  Key to our vision is a competitive core city workforce that connects to and propels economic growth in the region and state. Our goals, by audience, are:

  • Employers: Increase employers’ ability to attract, retain and advance high-quality talent to satisfy critical business needs;
  • Residents: Increase the number of residents who advance to middle skill careers paying family-sustaining wages;
  • Workforce Development System: Enhance the structure for workforce development in the region to promote economic growth in existing and emerging sectors. Focus is on immediate, tangible results.

Do you directly place individuals into jobs?

No. The DRWF does not work directly with the general public to place people into jobs. For information on enrollment opportunities through one of our active partnerships click here to get involved.

The DRWF is working exclusively to create innovative partnerships that bring together employers in the same industry to identify their common talent needs and those entities, such as community colleges and training providers, that can develop and implement sector-based workforce training initiatives/programs.

It also uses these partnerships to develop solutions to barriers.

What sectors does the DRWF focus on?

The DRWF’s focuses on creating opportunities and sparking partnerships with employers in the long term health care and green economy sectors.

Why these sectors? Research shows that there is and will continue to be growth in middle-skill careers in these knowledge-based industries as the economy continues to recover.

What’s in it for______:

Investors: The opportunity to help workers get the skills they need to improve their economic condition through career opportunities that are emerging in Southeast Michigan’s growing sectors.

Policy Makers: The opportunity to work with the DRWF to help identify and eliminate barriers and create solutions that will strengthen competitive workforce connections and ultimately connect their constituents to careers.

Practitioners/Employers:  A resource to help identify common talent needs among employers in like-industries, share the cost to find common solutions and an organized and easy connection to practitioners who can create and implement sector-based workforce training initiatives to help meet these needs.

Does the DRWF give out grants or make investments? If so, how does a person apply?

Yes, DRWF makes grants and other investments. However, these investments are given to partnerships that include at least two employers and one training practitioner/community college that have been formed to fill a supply and demand gap in metro Detroit’s workforce needs.

The DRWF also invests in capacity-building for educational, employer and workforce partners.  The DRWF invests in special projects that can result in bridging the workforce supply and employer demand mismatch. Please click here for information on applying.

What are the levels of the DRWF’s investment abilities?

The DRWF’s investment pool is currently more than $5.5 million. Fundraising continues.

Where does the DRWF’s funding come from?

Thirteen national and local, public and private investors have committed more than $5.5 million (to date), which promotes regional economic growth through the development of a skilled workforce. Several individuals from this group of investors also make up our Steering Committee:

  • Knight Foundation
  • U.S. Department of Labor (through Jobs for the Future)
  • Kresge Foundation
  • W.K. Kellogg Foundation
  • National Fund for Workforce Solutions
  • Workforce Development Agency, State of Michigan
  • United Way for Southeastern Michigan*
  • Skillman Foundation
  • Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation
  • Ford Foundation
  • Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation (formerly: Detroit Workforce Development Department)
  • Detroit Economic Growth Corporation
  • Wayne County Economic Development Growth Engine

*The United Way for Southeastern Michigan, which also serves as the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund’s fiduciary agent, administers The Detroit Regional Workforce Fund.

How is the DRWF different from Government or Public Workforce Departments?

The DRWF differs from government workforce departments in several very important ways.

  • The DRWF does not work directly with the public to provide training opportunities. It works exclusively to create innovative partnerships that bring together employers in the same industry to identify their common talent needs, and then makes industry-wide career pathways visible to employers and employees. In partnership with employers, the DRWF invests in sector-based workforce training initiatives/programs. For example, past investments have included capacity building, public policy and community-based workforce initiatives.
  • The DRWF is not a government entity it has more flexibility in the manner in which it uses its funding and can more rapidly and creatively use its dollars to respond to the real time needs of employers and the overall marketplace. The DRWF’s objective is to create environments and opportunities that can help government systems do more with their resources.
  • The DRWF can provide those partnerships it supports with technical assistance and funds for capacity building.

How is the DRWF different from the New Economy Initiative (NEI)?

The DRWF is different from the NEI through:

  • Geography & Scale: The DRWF has a local focus covering Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, while the NEI focus is more regional and covers nine counties across southeast Michigan.
  • Program Focus: The DRWF exclusively targets workers in need of additional skills to help advance them to middle-skilled, family supporting career opportunities.
  • Approach: Due to its flexibility, the DRWF is able to creatively respond to market needs and create products that don’t currently exist in the marketplace.

How is the DRWF different from the WIN initiative?

The DRWF is different from the WIN initiative through:

  • Geography & Scale: The DRWF has a local focus covering Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, while WIN’s focus is more regional and covers nine counties across Southeast Michigan.
  • Program Focus: The DRWF exclusively targets workers in need of additional skills to help advance them to middle-skilled, family supporting career opportunities.
  • Design: The DRWF is a granting organization; WIN does not grant funding.

What work have you supported recently?

The DRWF has invested more than $3.25 million to date in the following:

  • Green Jobs Workforce Partnership
  • Long Term Health Care Workforce Partnership
  • Hospitality Training and Workforce Partnership development
  • The Detroit Talent Hub
  • Development of a Community-based workforce initiative
  • Policy principles on workforce, the adult literacy crisis, and a green story report

How does the United Way for Southeastern Michigan fit into the picture?

The United Way for Southeastern Michigan is a founding member of the DRWF. It provides an administrative home for the initiative, directs its operations, provides leverage and serves as its fiduciary agency.

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    United Way for Southeastern Michigan

    Detroit Regional Workforce Fund

    660 Woodward Avenue, Suite 300

    Detroit, MI 48226

    The Detroit Jobs Alliance Detroit Talent Hub

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