Examines the work and results of the Milwaukee Area Workforce Funding Alliance in organizing funding and networks of leaders to address the unemployment and poverty in the region.
“[T]he Milwaukee Area Workforce Funding Alliance represented an important evolution in how the region organized its resources to address unemployment and poverty. It did so by adding a critical innovation to those past initiatives: an approach and structure for aligning Milwaukee’s myriad of resources and individual leaders toward a collaborative, mutually reinforcing set of workforce development strategies” (p.1). The Milwaukee Area Workforce Funding Alliance “helped its 29 members strategically align over $16 million of investment each year in education, job training, and placement and support services dedicated to increasing employment in Milwaukee. Its strategies benefited both businesses that needed skilled workers and individuals seeking good jobs with family-supporting wages” (p.2). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Major Findings & Recommendations

• “Organize relationships and communities: • Treat the funding alliance as community organizing. • Build on existing relationships. • Build on the support of respected champions. • Methodically extend the networks built” (p. 24–25). • “Learn as partners: • Use research to make the case to funders. • Educate the larger workforce and policy community. • Invest in national and state-level relationships. • Visit and host national resources and models. • Participate actively in the learning network. • Focus on outcomes to highlight the limits of siloed work” (p. 25–26). • “Capitalize on diversity: • Innovate to fit the funders’ environment. • Use private funding to address the gaps and restrictions of public funding. • Recognize the incentives driving different stakeholders. • Appeal to employers with logic and relationships” (p. 26–27). • “Invest in synergy: • Invest in trust among allies. • ‘Make hope contagious’ by engaging foundations’ representatives in dialogue with one another. • Ensure ‘glue money’ to initiate and sustain collaboration” (p. 28).(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)