As Midwest Urban Strategies (MUS) approaches its first birthday, the Board decided to officially appoint me as its inaugural Director. While July marks one full year of the formal consortium, I have been lucky enough to support the development of this unique partnership since its earliest days. The last year has given us the opportunity to establish a solid framework for our operations. With financial support from JP Morgan Chase Foundation, MUS established a formal agreement that guides how its members work together, which included a dues structure to ensure that all members have “skin in the game”. We also developed a leadership structure that includes an Executive Committee with elected Officers as well as a Fund Development Committee to guide decision making on future priorities and growth strategies.
Twice annual convenings bring us together in our local markets to experience the practice of workforce development on the ground and learn about some of the best practices being delivered in that workforce area. This year we visited Cincinnati where we learned about their CIO Roundtable and InterAlliance, initiatives aimed at growing the pipeline of workers in the Technology sector. And in May, we visited Minneapolis where we learned about the STEP UP Youth Employment program. Both of these initiatives are being workshopped in MUS’s Innovation Laboratory and will be showcased through its Community of Practice platform for dissemination and replication.
Other significant partnerships include the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, which has a presence in several of our member markets and the Council on Adult and Experiential Learning (highlighted in this newsletter) who recently completed a sector mapping project that will guide employer engagement strategy. Finally, employer partners like CVS Health who are working closely with MUS to connect job seekers to career pathways such as Pharmacy Technicians and Registered Nurses. The work of MUS is just getting started and we look forward to sharing our successes with you.
Director, Midwest Urban Strategies