Over the past year, our Partners have contributed more than 20,000 hours of advisory and capacity building work in support of 16 nonprofits and state government. As a result, a number of our nonprofit partners significantly increased their revenues and broadened the scope and depth of the services they offer. For example, Career Resources Inc. (CRI) has become one of the leading workforce development organizations in the state growing from $6 to $15 million in revenues. Overall, our nonprofit partners are serving thousands more people than they did just a few years ago.
In 2020, we updated our strategic plan to focus on systems change in workforce development (WFD), early childhood education (ECE), and race equity. To advance this work, SVP is working with state government, including the Office of Workforce Strategy (OWS) and the Office of Early Childhood (OEC), to create more equitable and effective WFD and ECE systems in Connecticut. Earlier this year, the Connecticut legislature appropriated an unprecedented $330 million in state and federal funding for WFD and ECE. This level of funding, inconceivable just a few years ago, is a result of the efforts of a strong coalition that includes the business community, education sector, nonprofits, philanthropy, and government.
The work that we have done together this past year has established a strong foundation for further progress. Over the next year, in ECE we hope to develop long term plans that can address the unmet needs in our state. In WFD, we see tremendous opportunities to build a sustainable workforce development system and to make new major inroads in the K-12 system and with employers.
Workforce development was a major focus in the legislative session. OWS is leading a new set of job training programs that will enable nonprofits, workforce investment boards, colleges, and universities to train 10,000 people for high quality jobs through several programs including:
Career ConneCT - An innovative set of 17 job training programs providing high quality career opportunities for the unemployed/underemployed with a focus on traditionally underserved segments of the population. The training will span key industry sectors including IT, health care, manufacturing, clean energy/infrastructure, and biotech, and partner with employers who have made hiring commitments. Many of these programs will be led by nonprofits that we have been working with for the past several years to help build their training capacity. This is how our nonprofit and state systems work interconnects.
Good Jobs Challenge - We are excited to report that Connecticut received a $23.9 million grant, the largest awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce in this initiative. This will enable Connecticut to strengthen and expand the system of Regional Sector Partnerships (RSPs) that SVP has supported the development of over the past two years. RSPs, led by employers in collaboration with a broad range of stakeholders, will serve as the backbone of a more responsive workforce development system.
CT Health Horizons - This new program, which will train 1,000 additional nurses and social workers annually, was designed largely by SVP’s Health Care Workforce team on behalf of OWS in collaboration with Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU).
OWS - Support the implementation of Career ConneCT, grow the RSPs, and develop pathways in health care and information technology.
Support our Nonprofit Partners - Fund and advise organizations that are addressing the needs of various underserved populations including: Building One Community, CRI, Opportunities Industrialization Centers, Open Doors, Norwalk ACTs, ReadyCT, RIBA Aspira, and several new organizations.
Lead OneTen’s Efforts in CT - SVP is coordinating the work of OneTen, a national initiative to hire and advance one million Black people in living wage jobs over the next 10 years. We will help build a strong ecosystem of employers and community based organizations (CBOs) to support Black job seekers and engage employers to adopt a skills-based approach to hiring and advancement.
Focus on Employer Apprenticeships - We are working with companies to adopt a skills-based hiring approach in employment to diversify their talent pipelines and address their labor shortages. For example, we have encouraged and supported Accenture’s new apprenticeship center in Hartford that will provide living wage apprenticeships in IT for several hundred high school graduates. We believe that this approach has enormous potential across our state.
Strengthen the K-12 Career Pathway System - Working with OWS, CT Colleges and Universities (CSCU), and nonprofits, we will identify opportunities to significantly scale career pathway programs across the state. We are currently working with ReadyCT and NorwalkACTS on this initiative.
SVP collaborated deeply with government, nonprofits, businesses, advocacy groups, education leaders, and philanthropy. We played a critical strategic planning role with the OEC and a coalition building role with stakeholders. These combined efforts led to Governor Lamont and the CT Legislature approving $180 million in ECE funding to address critical ECE system gaps, workforce retention and training, emergency stabilization payments to programs, investments in facilities renovation and construction, and additional funding to parents in the Care 4 Kids program.
Completion of Unmet Needs Study - One of the biggest accomplishments was shifting the legislative focus from PreK to Infants and Toddlers. An SVP contribution to this shift was our comprehensive supply/demand study of childcare that revealed a gap of more than 20,000 infant and toddler slots in the state. This information was utilized by the OEC to change the priorities of the legislature resulting in Governor Lamont and the State Legislature’s approval of $25 million to create 1,300 new infant and toddler spaces and increase funding to child day care providers.
Embedding Expertise within OEC - An SVP team partnered directly with the OEC to support its strategic planning process. This included developing legislative proposals and designing programs to implement spending initiatives.
Child Care for Connecticut’s Future – SVP helped with catalytic support for this new organization, which brings together diverse stakeholders to advocate for legislation. SVP provided planning support, and helped to set up the organization, governance, and internal operations.
Business Advocacy – SVP worked closely with the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) and employers in Connecticut to get their support for legislative priorities.
We will continue our work with the OEC and other key stakeholders including early childhood education providers, Child Care for CT’s Future, the business community, educators, and philanthropy. This work will be focused on developing a long term strategic plan for the ECE sector, addressing the workforce crisis, and expanding equitable access for families. Our vision is to build an equitable, affordable, high quality early childhood learning system that supports children, families, and early childhood providers.
OEC Strategic Planning, Legislative, and Program Implementation Support - SVP plans to continue its support for the OEC’s efforts. Some specific issues to be addressed in this legislative session include the early childhood workforce, infant and toddler support, quality systems, and the structure of financial support for early childcare providers. SVP has the opportunity to support research and development of policies and programs, stakeholder engagement, and financial modeling.
Economic Model Development and Usage - SVP is working to build a comprehensive economic and financial model of the CT ECE sector. This set of tools can also help to benchmark early childhood provider programs and identify actions that can be taken to improve their financial sustainability, program quality, and support for parents and families.
ECE Workforce Development and Career Pathways - The OEC is investing in several pilot programs offering innovative career pathways and apprenticeship programs. There is a need to design new programming in collaboration with colleges and universities, high schools, and providers to address widespread labor shortages and compensation challenges in this sector.
Supporting and Building Advocacy Efforts - We will continue to build on our work with Child Care for CT’s Future (the Coalition) and the business community in support of important legislation and in supporting the Coalition’s organizational infrastructure development. We expect that by January, the Coalition will have a fiscal sponsor and be able to raise funds for staff, marketing, and communications needs. We will continue to provide capacity building support to the leaders of the Coalition to help make this happen. On the business side, we will coordinate closely with key business stakeholders like the CBIA to ensure that the business community shares their needs and perspectives on building a more effective ECE system.
Capacity Building Support for ECE Providers - An important learning from the economic model work, as well as our work with other states and local providers, is that there is a tremendous need to provide capacity building support for ECE providers. We plan to work with ECE providers to help them build higher quality, equitable, and sustainable programs, and operating models.
In November, the SVP Board approved a new race equity plan starting in 2023. This work will connect SVP more deeply with communities and ensure that our priority setting reflects the knowledge and lived experience of the people with the greatest needs. We will be reviewing our internal practices and processes, providing training programs for our partners, and establishing a new Race Equity Fund that will be focused on ECE led by community leaders from the ECE sector.
SVP Partner teams and staff worked with 16 nonprofit organizations
Building One Community
Career Resources, Inc.
Child Care for CT’s Future
Collab New Haven
DOMUS Kids, Inc.
New Haven ChILD
Opportunities Industrialization Centers
Selected Examples of the Work of Our Partner Teams
Child Care for CT’s Future - Supported the development of a strategic plan and helped build the infrastructure for the organization
Open Doors - Supported the development and scaling of the Financial Opportunity Center services model that provides coordinated intake, financial coaching, job placement/retention, and income access.
NorwalkACTS - Worked with the organization and the City of Norwalk to develop a WFD strategy and infrastructure for the City of Norwalk to connect the ALICE population with livable-wage employment and training opportunities.
ReadyCT - Began the development of a sustainable growth plan for Career Pathways programming for CT high school students. The work has included building a database of all career pathway programming across 36 Alliance school districts and conducting 30 interviews with key stakeholders.
Career Resources, Inc - Helped CRI hire a development director, scale their programming with their Reentry programs, and supported organizational development efforts.
Achieve Hartford - Supported the development of a strategic plan and a city-wide senior year student transition program
Building One Community - Supported the organization’s strategic planning, development efforts, and workforce development programs
DOMUS Kids, Inc - Collaborated with organization staff to develop a social enterprise model to provide job training, employment opportunities, and supportive services for opportunity youth
SimplifyCT - Helped management team develop a strategic and organizational plan, conducted customer research, and identified opportunities for deeper community engagement.
Enhance Partner experience with new forms of engagement, learning and training opportunities
Build new performance measurement system that will enable better outcomes tracking
Improve our marketing and communications efforts
Build more strategic partnerships with corporations, foundations, government, and nonprofits
These are exciting plans for 2023, but our North Star remains the same:
Closing opportunity gaps and achieving race equity in Connecticut.