people seated around a table, flags in the background
WIOA-Youth and AEI vendors weigh the pros and cons of different payment methods for youth employment.

The Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development (OWD) has long dispensed workforce funds to various community-based organizations – 80 in the last fiscal year. But how can that regular contact be optimized to benefit Boston’s wider workforce development ecosystem?

The OWD is addressing that question by creating more opportunities for its grantees to learn from one another. This fall, the OWD held “best practices” meetings for the vendors of Neighborhood Jobs Trust (NJT), Alternative Education Initiative (AEI), and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)-Youth grants. These meetings provided a forum for local non-profits to learn about each other’s approaches to such common challenges as recruitment, retention, job placement, and partnership.

Cassie White, administrator of the AEI and WIOA-Youth grants, created a “best practices” meeting for vendors because, she said, “They were saying, ‘There might be other programs that know how to solve the problems we’re up against.'”

Although NJT vendors had previously met to listen to presentations on field-specific issues, many wanted to exchange ideas directly.

people meet in circle of chairs
Representatives of NJT-funded organizations meet in small groups to discuss relevant challenges.

“We [OWD] are not in the field, so it makes sense for vendors to collaborate together,” said Vroselyn Benjamin, administrator of the NJT.

All 24 respondents to the feedback surveys for these fall meetings agreed that more “best practices” meetings would be beneficial.

The OWD also holds “best practices” meetings for organizations funded by the WIOA-Adult and Choice grants. Learn more about the various grants managed by the OWD here.