San Francisco Workforce Innovation CoLab
Partners on San Francisco’s Workforce Innovation Fund grant are bringing together innovative thinkers to build a more agile workforce development system in San Francisco, a system that encourages experimentation and collaboration grounded in customer-centered design, real-time data and user feedback. The project enlists strategic industry partners to design, develop, deploy, and evaluate workforce tools with speed and agility.
CoLab participants represent the innovative spirit of San Francisco and come from a diverse set of backgrounds and interest areas—design, workforce technology, philanthropy—all sharing the potential to make substantial contributions to building a stronger workforce in San Francisco.
The San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) and project partners from the Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation (MOCI) and Corporation for Skilled Workforce (CSW) kicked off the Workforce Innovation CoLab on November 4, 2013. Adaptive Path (www.adaptivepath.com), a local design and user experience firm, graciously offered to host and facilitate the kickoff. With their assistance, we led CoLab participants through a series of exercises that grounded them in the goals of the workforce development system, personalized the challenges through the use of jobseeker profiles, and began articulating how the CoLab could effectively maximize members’ expertise and professional networks.
Based on this initial meeting and illustrated in the following diagram, OEWD will “tee up” issues and bring them to the CoLab. CoLab members will bring their unique perspectives to the challenge through “fresh thinking” sessions. The most promising ideas from the sessions will then be piloted by OEWD/MOCI and member lead(s).
In addition to creating a mutually beneficial framework for the CoLab and outlining how we will function as a group, the kickoff meeting and subsequent discussions have produced a number of potential pilots and areas of exploration, including:
- Enlisting CoLab members in articulating workforce development system and user issues in a compelling way.
- Examining how extreme learners can inform workforce training and skills acquisition, through the work of the Institute for the Future.
- Exploring the possibility of piloting LearnUp, an innovative job training site that lets users learn the skills employers need before applying, with a local youth provider.
- Convening a roundtable on the sharing economy and how it is changing the workforce.
- Partnering with GoBe.Me to design and deploy a new online career navigation application focused on the gap between the dislocated worker and the jobs marketplace.
- Examining how the txt2wrk pilot funded through the WIF grant highlights challenges and strategies for implementing technology tools in the public workforce system.