Putting the East Bay to Work

Client: East Bay Community Foundation

Project:  Putting the East Bay to Work

Service Area: Landscape Scan

Content Area: Economic Mobility, Workforce Development

East Bay Community Foundation is committed to catalyzing community change by serving as a key convener of cross-sector stakeholders.

Economic development was one of the foundation’s primary focus areas, so the foundation launched a project to convene key public, nonprofit, private, and philanthropic stakeholders to identify strategies to increase employment among East Bay residents with barriers to employment. csb philanthropic solutions was brought in to help facilitate and implement this effort, ultimately producing two research reports with recommendations for action. 

Initially, we developed written instruments to survey diverse workforce stakeholders involved in the project, created focus group protocols, and reviewed background research. We then synthesized the data collected from more than 75 surveys and 7 focus groups, plus interviews and online research. The result was a first report that identified employment challenges, described local job opportunities and training resources, and made recommendations for service providers, training providers, and employers to enhance the job prospects for individuals with work barriers. 

Four years later, the foundation convened another cross-sector stakeholder group to specifically focus on strategies for partnering with employers to increase employment among individuals with work barriers. We conducted in-person and phone interviews with more than 30 employers and other stakeholders and reviewed research on promising practices nationally. The resulting second report outlined employer-identified needs and effective practices for promoting job placement, retention, and advancement for individuals overcoming work barriers. 

Both reports were used by East Bay Community Foundation to inform its own grantmaking and disseminated widely to catalyze cross-sector action, resulting in multiple new workforce development projects and partnerships.