Third Sector Awarded $2,000,000 Grant to Advance California Workforce Outcomes

Over the next two years, Third Sector will work with up to five nonprofit grantees of The James Irvine Foundation’s Better Careers initiative and up to ten local government agencies to advance economic opportunity in California through a $2M grant from the Foundation. Third Sector will facilitate partnerships between Better Careers grantees and public service agencies to co-design improvements on California’s public workforce funding system and pursue better outcomes in economic opportunity for the people they serve.

The initiative will culminate in up to five implementation plans developed through an innovative process that combines Third Sector’s framework for outcomes-oriented government funding with human-centered design principles. Throughout this process grantees and local agencies will engage with the people and communities they serve to deeply understand barriers to economic opportunity, create solutions that maximize contributions from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, and gather feedback from low-income job-seekers to refine their ideas.

Each implementation plan will include concrete changes in the way California uses public funding to unlock economic opportunity for thousands of Californians, and advance one or more of the Better Careers initiative’s goals:

  • Help 25,000 low-income job-seekers secure employment that pays at least $18 per hour
  • Improve training opportunities that lead to quality jobs and advancement
  • Identify successful models of matching employers with middle-skilled workers
  • Build and grow a diversified pool of talented workers

The Irvine Foundation’s investment has the potential to catalyze broader change in California’s workforce development system. Every year, government spends more than $1B on workforce development in California, but these resources are rarely aligned with the outcomes pursued by high-impact nonprofits like YearUp, Rubicon Programs and the Center for Employment Opportunities. By bridging gaps between government agencies with the capacity to fund impact at scale and innovative nonprofits that deliver impact in communities, Third Sector aims to move the state towards an integrated workforce development system that aligns policy, dollars, data and services with outcomes to make upward mobility a reality for tens of thousands of low-income job-seekers.

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