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October 16, 2013 in Blog Posts, Career Pathways, Education, Jobs & Training, Uncategorized

Building Bridges with Career Pathways Courses

By Janet M. Paulovich

Virgina Tech Tower Sign

Photo Credit: Brooke Novak

Over the past year and a half, I have had the unique opportunity to work closely with a national team of educators and employers, along with a design team from Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative (OLI) and The Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), to develop an innovative online STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Readiness course in an open educational format. The course is designed to strengthen “key skills” for workers who are retraining in new STEM Careers, and it is meant to quickly refresh basic skills in math, critical thinking, workplace communication and professional skills. Our team was able to work closely with a number of employer partners to help us design the course modules as realistically as possible. Students taking the course practice dealing with a variety of problems and situations that they will encounter on the job. The STEM Readiness course is currently available on Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative website for anyone to use and would be appropriate for a wide variety of learners, not just those interested in STEM Careers.  Read the rest of this entry →


October 11, 2013 in Blog Posts, Career Pathways, Education

New Technologies: Preparing Adult Learners

By Jenifer Baker Vanek

adult learnersThose in our society who effectively use the Internet can successfully make use of online banking, social media, information-sharing and even fantastic learning opportunities in Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) where they can access knowledge previously available only to students at elite institutions. In contrast, though not adequately prepared to do so, low-skilled adults are often required to use Internet to accomplish important tasks, like applying for social services, immigration status documents, or for jobs. Read the rest of this entry →


September 25, 2013 in Archives, Career Pathways, Jobs & Training

Will Minnesota Lose Lake Wobegon?

By Vickie Choitz

Lake Calhoun, Minneapolis, MN“All the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” Although Garrison Keillor’s hometown of Lake Wobegon is fictional, Minnesotans are often associated with the characteristics of its residents. There is, in fact, some truth to Keillor’s radio monologue. According to a report by the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program, the Twin Cities is one of the most highly educated populations in the country, with a high median household income, strong job growth, and one of the lowest poverty rates among large metro regions. Unfortunately, the Twin Cities’ overall success hides bleak socioeconomic disparities that leave behind minorities, threatening the area’s economic competitiveness. Read the rest of this entry →


June 18, 2013 in Archives, Jobs & Training

new_career_pathways_headerJoin United Way and CLASP for Strengthening Your Career Pathway Systems: Tools, Tips & Tactics. Career pathways are gaining momentum as a strategy to improve regional economies and individual economic mobility. At this conference we’ll explore strategies for strengthening, scaling and sustaining current innovations.

DATE: Thursday, November 7
TIME: 9 a.m. – 3:15 p.m. (light breakfast at 8:30 a.m.)register button
LOCATION: Crowne Plaza, St. Paul
COST: $35 (early-bird rate); $50 (after October 18)
Special Group Rate: $150 for 8-10 people; email to register.
Scholarships available for individuals, please email your request to


Education Forum

January 23, 2013 in Archives, Education

Thank You for Attending!

Your presence at our forum is a testimony to your continued dedication and belief that all children are deserving of a world-class education and a future filled with promise and opportunity. We look forward to seeing you at future forums. Materials will be available on the Mulitmedia page soon.

Future of Education in MN

January 10, 2013 in Archives, Education

Start the new year with United Way, our many education partners and stakeholders from around the region for a day filled with inspiration, information and insight.

Wednesday, January 23
7:30AM – 1:00PM See Forum Agenda
Saint Paul RiverCentre
$50 per person; no refunds after January 18
Registration CLOSED
Walk-ins Welcome

National Keynote Speaker

Alberto Carvalho, superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, is a nationally recognized expert on education reform and finance, as well as an outspoken advocate for high-quality education for all students. See all Speaker Bios

Investment to Impact Forum

December 12, 2012 in Archives, Impact Investing, Jobs & Training, ROI

Thank you for Attending!

Stay connected and continue the conversation in United Front’s Jobs & Training online community.  Be sure to login and introduce yourself in the Welcome to the Community thread then post your questions or comments in the Investment to Impact thread. Download materials from the forum here.

Register or Login to Join the Conversation

The Case for Proving Impact

November 28, 2012 in Archives, Impact Investing, ROI

“The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works—whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end.”  – President Barack Obama

How prepared are we, the social service sector, to clearly demonstrate that our interventions work? Do we have adequate evidence of our impact? Can we clearly account for “the counter-factual,” quantify “net-impact,” and demonstrate that the benefits produced by our sector clearly outweigh the costs? While those of us who work in human services undoubtedly understand the value produced by our good work, increasingly policy makers, taxpayers and donors are asking “what is the value of our investment?” Our ability to measure and demonstrate impact is as pressing now as it ever has been.  Read the rest of this entry →

12 Reasons for You to Attend the Investment to Impact Forum

November 26, 2012 in Archives, ROI, Uncategorized

1.  Understand the impact of your programs and work
2.  See the latest evaluation models that support building evidence
3.  Prioritize high-impact approaches and programs
4.  Ability to sustain your work for the long-term
5.  Make a compelling case for the value of doing good work
6.  Survivial in a challenging economy
7.  National keynote speaker, Jitinder Koli, director, Deloitte Consulting LLP and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress
8.  Progressive breakout sessions featuring innovative community work using analysis and cost-benefit methods
9.  Jim Schowalter, Commissioner of Minnesota Management & Budget speaking on trends at the State level clearly demonstrating impact of public investment flowing through/from the state
10.  Kayla Yang, Cargill Foundation, on understanding philanthropic impact on investment
11.  Heather Peeler, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (based in DC) on effective grantmakers’ and grantees’ partnerships influence on understanding impact
12.  Josephine Pufpaff, YouthLink, on how nonprofits are responding to increased need to demonstrate impact

United Way December Forum

November 12, 2012 in Archives, Investing, Jobs & Training, Nonprofit Partners, ROI

DATE: Wednesday, December 12
TIME: 7:30 a.m. to noon
LOCATION: Continuing Education and Conference Center, University of Minnesota

Greater Twin Cities United Way’s conference on the importance of understanding and measuring the impact of social service work in our community. At a time when public and philanthropic communities are asking tougher questions before they invest, we will explore methods of evaluation and how to connect investment with outcomes.