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Policy & Advocacy Fellowship brings together workforce development leaders

Dr. T. Charles Howell IV, MVI’s Director of Workforce Development & Financial Coaching, recently joined fellow nonprofit providers in Harrisburg as part of the Policy and Advocacy Fellowship program developed by the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association (PWDA).

PWDA is a nonprofit that represents Pennsylvania’s workforce system, leading the workforce conversation, telling the workforce story, and serving as a resource for workforce development stakeholders across the state.

The Policy and Advocacy Fellowship was launched in 2021 to provide intensive training on workforce advocacy at the federal, state, county, and local levels. During the three-month course, fellows are assigned a collaborative public policy project which is then presented at PWDA’s annual conference. Each year, only 16 fellows are selected to participate from across the state.

Howell’s project focused on creating policies that encourage local Workforce Development Boards to more actively represent vulnerable populations in their communities such as displaced workers, immigrant communities, and individuals reentering the workforce after criminal convictions.

There are currently 23 local Workforce Development Boards across the state that are tasked with supporting education and training, developing strategic plans, and setting funding priorities that encourage workforce development. They also oversee the operation of Pennsylvania’s more than 60 CareerLink centers that bring employment and training to local communities.

“It’s important that workforce boards are not just responsive to regional employers but also to the needs of potential employees who can help fill the skills gap that continues to widen. This includes implementing strategies to reach vulnerable groups that MVI serves, making sure that their needs and experiences are considered,” Howell said.

On February 8, the Policy and Advocacy Fellowship concluded with a final presentation and graduation ceremony at PWDA’s annual conference in Harrisburg.

To learn more about PWDA, visit pawork.org.

For more information on MVI’s Workforce Development & Financial Coaching program, click here.

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