On October 1, 2013, Public Works Partners participated in the Center4 Roundtable on Technology and Workforce Development.  Center4, an initiative of FEGS Health and Human Services Systems, is a collaborative effort to bring together the private, public, and nonprofit sectors to find innovative technology-driven solutions to persistent problems in the human services.  Center4 is both a physical space and a movement to convene thinkers and funders to imagine and produce answers.  Center4 seeks to put the power of tech innovation into the hands of service providers and to help the tech field to access new customers in the huge human services market.

At the roundtable, leading angel investors, technology entrepreneurs, and innovative nonprofit leaders discussed challenges in the workforce development field and possible technology-enabled fixes. Here are some of the big-picture ideas that emerged from the conversation:

  • Information Flow: Because the workforce development system consists of funders, providers, jobseeker clients, and business clients, information must flow in multiple directions to serve different purposes, but the system needs a new level of technological capacity to do that.
  • Service Delivery: Technology can enable workforce providers to train clients on and through technology, but solutions need to be customized to help low-skilled client gain access and mastery.
  • Preparing Workers for the New Economy: Opportunities abound for new types of work in the tech economy, but the workforce system is focused on traditional types of jobs and ways of working, preventing clients and providers from innovating new ways to earn income and skills.

Read more about these ideas in Center4’s recent blog post.

Public Works Partners has already engaged government agencies, service providers, and technology companies in these areas, and we look forward to working closely with Center4 to continue to push for innovation in this field.

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