By Johnny Magdaleno.
In December, San Francisco’s Office of Economic Workforce Development announced it will make $45 million available for community groups in the city that prove they can link impoverished communities with employment barriers to booming local industries.
It’s the first big RFP the office has put out since earlier in the decade, and it comes with a handful of innovative approaches to building career pathways into San Francisco jobs that OEWD is excited about, like tech, construction, hospitality and healthcare.
Instead of just looking at the office data on unemployment and poverty in neighborhoods, though, the OEWD is giving power to communities by letting them argue for their own definition of “underserved” when they submit their proposals.
“We’re asking for folks in the community-based organizations about what they think would be new and innovative and different,” says Michael Carr, director of workforce development at OEWD. “We want them to give us evidence and data based on their neighborhood and the clients that they’re servicing.”
With those fresh angles, OEWD will see how community organizations’ claims match up with the data they have, and if a proposal presents a compelling case — or shines light on a neighborhood issue that OEWD previously missed — it will help those groups spread their impact in the neighborhoods they know best, says Katherine Daniel, deputy director of OEWD’s workforce division.