Labor Market Intermediaries
West and Southwest IAF organizations are pioneering workforce initiatives that bring working people out of poverty level jobs and into living wage careers. By building the political will for investment of public monies in long-term training, local organizations have successfully brought together employers, community college officials and community leaders to create long-term workforce development and education programs for actual jobs in high demand occupations.
Inspired by the success of the oldest of these labor market intermediaries, Project Quest in San Antonio, leaders established an additional nine projects in the West and Southwest US: Capital IDEA in Austin, Texas; Project ARRIBA in El Paso, Texas; VIDA in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas; JobPath in Tucson, Arizona; NOVA in Monroe, Louisiana, Skills-Quest in Dallas, Texas; Capital IDEA-Houston in Houston, Texas; Project IOWA; and Arizona Career Pathways in Phoenix. In 2014, DuPage County United launched its own labor market intermediary, Career Connect Metro West, just outside Chicago.
Collectively, these institutions have trained and placed over 12,000 adults in living wage jobs which pay, on average, $40,000 annually plus benefits and a career path. This number is expected to grow as the West / Southwest IAF expands into Phoenix, Des Moines, Albuquerque and DuPage.
Job Training Program Adjusts Amid Funding Cuts, Texas Tribune (2013)
Who Can Fix the “Middle-Skills” Gap?, Harvard Business Review (2012)
School for Success, The American Prospect (2012)
Project Quest a Worthwhile Investment for City, San Antonio Express News (2012)
Workforce Training of Parents Boost Children’s Aspirations
Austin American Statesman (2011)
Tucson Tech: $200,000 Grant to Help Train 50 Adults
Arizona Daily Star (2011)
VIDA Success Stories Multiply; Job-Training Organization Moves Forward
Brownsville Herald (2009)
Building a Career Where There Was Just a Dead End
Washington Post (2007)
Community Invests in Living Wage Idea
El Paso Times (2006)
Economic Impacts of the JobPath Program on Pima County
Applied Economics (2014)
VIDA: Economic Impact Study
UT Pan American, Data & Information Systems Center (2010)
Economic Impact of Project ARRIBA on El Paso, Texas
UT El Paso, Institute for Policy and Economic Development (2007)
Project Quest: A Case Study of a Sectoral Employment Development Approach
Aspen Institute (2001)
Beyond Graduation: Promoting Post-Program Engagement & Advancement
Aspen Institute (2009); On the Road to Success video (2010)
Further reading on workforce development strategies
Discussion involving W/SWIAF Executive Director Ernesto Cortes and PBS correspondent Ray Suarez, sponsored by the Aspen Institute (2011).
Video about the establishment of Project Quest in San Antonio (1994).