Detroit Regional Workforce Fund Press Announcement

Michelle Zdrodowski
Franco Public Relations Group
(313) 567-5017

New Initiative Will Help Close the Gap Between Skills Workers Have and Skills Employers Need

DETROIT, (Jan. 18, 2011) – The Detroit and Southeast Michigan Fund for Innovative Workforce Solutions has been launched to address the growing gap between the skills workers in Michigan currently have and those they will need to fill the thousands of middle-skill jobs that studies are predicting will exist as our state emerges from its current economic recession.

By connecting low-skilled, low-income workers to career pathways that lead to these middle-skill jobs, which require some postsecondary training beyond high school and will pay family sustaining wages, the Detroit and Southeast Michigan Fund for Innovation Workforce Solutions (Detroit Regional Workforce Fund), will directly contribute to the economic recovery and long-term prosperity of the region.

“The need for skilled workers and job advancement opportunities has outstripped the capacity of southeast Michigan’s existing public workforce system,” said Wendy L. Jackson, Steering Committee Chair of the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund and senior program officer for the Kresge Foundation – a founding partner of the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund. “I’m encouraged that this collaborative will not only bring partners together in unprecedented ways to effect real change in the region’s strategic workforce vision, but will also align public and private resources in creative new ways to move Detroiters into jobs.”

Key to the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund approach is its investment in industry-led workforce partnerships that create long-term relationships between employers and educational providers to help improve the workforce development system and create training programs that meet the needs of workers and employers alike.

Through these innovative partnerships, the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund is bringing together employers in the same industry to identify common talent needs and entities such as community colleges and training providers that can develop and implement sector-based workforce training initiatives.

These partnerships ensure that low-skilled, low-income workers will have access to long-term, sustainable careers that will, in turn, help drive economic stability in southeast Michigan.

The Detroit Regional Workforce Fund’s current partnership focus is on creating career pathways in the health and green economy sectors – both of which have been projected to be growth sectors in the recovering economy.

One of the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund’s initial partnership investments is a $640,000 training grant to Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice which is working with several employers doing environmental cleanup work to train 105 individuals in skills needed to perform hazardous waste remediation.

“The Detroit Regional Workforce Fund brings together many different stakeholders to work collaboratively on solutions for shared challenges in workforce development,” said Sandra Yu, program manager at Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice. “While we focus on policy advocacy, community organizing, and coalition building, being part of The Detroit Regional Workforce Fund’s roundtable keeps us looped into the broader workforce development system with other key stakeholders, and engaged in policy issues that are important to successful job training and placement.”

Another partnership investment a $97,000 planning grant to a partnership between five health care systems and three community colleges to design a career ladder for current entry-level workers to increase their skills and move into higher-wage, higher demand allied health positions.

Ten national and local, public and private funders have committed $3.5 million to the three-year collaborative, which promotes regional economic growth through the development of a skilled workforce. In addition to the Knight Foundation, which initiated the collaboration, funders include Kresge Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, National Fund for Workforce Solutions, U.S. Department of Labor, Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth (DELEG), United Way for Southeastern Michigan (which is also the Fund’s fiduciary body and administrative home), Skillman Foundation, Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, and the Ford Foundation.

Connect with us on Twitter at @DetroitWorkFund.

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Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice (DWEJ) Announcement Release

Rebekah Johnson
Franco Public Relations Group
(313) 567-5016

Detroit Regional Workforce Fund Partners with Local Nonprofit to Help Create Green Economy Jobs for Detroiters

DETROIT, (Mar. 21, 2011) – The Detroit and Southeast Michigan Fund for Innovative Workforce Solutions (Detroit Regional Workforce Fund) today announced that it has invested more than $600,000 in a partnership with Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice to help develop career pathways to jobs with family sustaining wages in emerging green industries.

As a direct result of the partnership investment, Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice (DWEJ) will train 105 unemployed and disadvantaged individuals residing in Detroit in the skills needed to perform hazardous waste remediation.

“In addition to helping DWEJ create pathways to jobs in the growing green economy sector, this investment will also help us build new, sustainable partnerships among employers, organized labor and workforce development service providers in green jobs,” said Karen Tyler Ruiz, director of the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund.

Funding for the partnership was provided to the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund from the National Fund for Workforce Solutions as a part of a U.S. Department of Labor national „Pathways Out of Poverty‟ grant.

“We are proud to be partnering with the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund to provide Green Job training opportunities to under-served and underprivileged communities in Detroit,” said Domiana Carter, DWEJ program manager. “Our Green Jobs training initiative is a challenging program designed to enhance career opportunities in the growing Environmental Remediation and Green Technologies industries. We look forward to not only continuing, but growing our relationship with the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund.”

Detroit residents interested in learning more about this exciting career path that cleans up the environment and creates safer, healthier communities please contact Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice by visiting their website,

The Detroit Regional Workforce Fund is a regional public/private collaborative that promotes regional economic growth through the development of a skilled workforce. It supports partnerships among employers and workforce development partners, effects change in the region‟s strategic workforce vision and aligns public and private resources in new ways around workforce development. Ten national and local, public and private funders have committed $3.5 million to the three-year collaborative.

Connect with us on Twitter at @DetroitWorkFund.

Detroit Workers for Environmental Justice Announcement Release

“Snyder to Announce New State Job Match Web Site,” WILX10

Snyder to Announce New State Job Match Web Site
Will be part of speech on developing talent and keeping it in Michigan.

Reporter: Associated Press

Michigan is launching a new state website aimed at matching Michigan residents with “tens of thousands” of unfilled jobs by offering workers and employers one-stop shopping for career planning, job openings and education and training, Gov. Rick Snyder told The Associated Press.

The governor will discuss the Pure Michigan Talent Connect website Thursday when he delivers a special message on developing talent at Delta College in University Center near Saginaw. It’s the fifth policy address of his first year in office, after earlier speeches on education, local government, health and wellness, and infrastructure.

The new Talent Connect website, which went live Wednesday, is designed to create a central hub that can help new workers and those trying to get back into the job market assess their skills, evaluate the return on investment for an education or training program, browse careers and connect with mentors.

“It’s really about creating a website, a web environment, where people can go through and … find out good information about connecting talent with jobs and careers, and giving people better tools to build their career on,” Snyder told the AP. “We have tens of thousands of open positions in Michigan and … we’re not necessarily turning out people with the skill sets to match up with those.”

The governor’s recommendations for developing talent are aimed at lowering the state’s double-digit unemployment rate. Although the resurgent domestic auto industry is helping Michigan add jobs faster than many other states, it’s tied with Mississippi for the state’s third-highest jobless rate at 10.6 percent, behind only Nevada and California.

Snyder said getting more people back in the workforce is “not just about finding a short-term job.” “It’s building careers and opportunities for the future, and focusing on minority opportunities, and how to bring back distressed areas such as Detroit,” he said. “It’s really about talent.”

Karen Tyler-Ruiz, director of the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund, said Wednesday that she welcomes new opportunities for state residents to gain access to jobs and career information. She hopes the new website is as useful for people with low-end skills as it is for more highly trained workers.

“We want to make sure they are also part of the vision for this administration,” she said. “I think that the website will be able to help if, again, it speaks to the full spectrum of the population.”

The website offers special pages for job seekers, employers, “career explorers,” entrepreneurs and veterans. It has links to job listings, information for employers on how to post jobs and participate in job fairs, a career investment calculator, skills assessment tools, information about community college training programs, a way for entrepreneurs to link up with mentors and help for military veterans looking for jobs.

A variety of businesses and organizations have pledged their support for the website, including Kelley Services, the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324, universities and community colleges.

Snyder said he hopes that feedback from employers and job seekers will make the site even more useful as more is added to the site over the next six months. The governor sees the Talent Connect website serving a much bigger purpose than job websites such as

A lot of existing job sites are “about finding a job. It’s not about giving advice or counseling or tools to do career building, about what educational background do you need, what are the requirements, where you might find those tools,” he said. “This is a much more encompassing environment to really make Michigan a leader in the country on this in terms of talent.”

Snyder’s speech also is expected to touch on encouraging more of Michigan’s residents to earn college degrees. Currently only about 35 percent Michigan adults have a four-year or two-year degree, not enough to fill the new jobs that are being created. The governor also is expected to talk about ways to keep more young adults in the state by encouraging them to train for careers that will lead to Michigan jobs rather than openings in other states.

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