Employers can do a lot to improve employee well-being for their frontline and entry-level workers — if they know what practices to adopt and what tech tools to deploy.

By: Laura Roberts, director, JFFLabs

“How are you doing?”

How often have you been asked that, over the past year? As a parent? As an individual? As an employee? How often have you asked others that same question?

It’s not an easy question to answer, regardless of how the pandemic has affected you, your family, your company, or your employees. That’s because it compels you to assess your sense of “well-being,” or how external factors like your environment and various stressors, expectations, and responsibilities affect your health and happiness. …


Seven ways businesses can ease their employees’ caregiving burdens during (and after) the COVID-19 crisis to retain talent and stay competitive.


Illustration by Alicia Bramlett

A window is open for corporate leaders to redesign talent practices that spur widespread economic mobility — but this moment won’t last forever.

By Catherine Ward, managing director, JFFLabs

Let’s start with what we know: The economic realities of this past year are devastating, and the people who are suffering most are those who can least afford it.

In February 2021, the U.S. unemployment rate stood at 6.2 percent and some 10 million Americans were out of work. Both of those figures are down from their April 2020 peaks, but they are still well above their pre-pandemic levels of 3.5 percent and 5.7 million, respectively, in February 2020. Moreover, the number of people who had to work part-time or reduced hours for economic…


Prudential’s Skills Accelerator platform enables employees to own and drive their personal career journeys with personalized digital career services.

The insurance industry is facing a talent conundrum. A growing number of baby boomer employees are retiring, with the pandemic accelerating many individual retirement timelines. Efforts to recruit new talent are hampered by millennials’ negative perceptions of careers in insurance. And employers facing an urgent business imperative to digitize need employees who have comprehensive sets of new skills. All of these forces are coalescing into the one thing the insurance industry hates the most — uncontrolled risk.

How does an industry that is inherently risk-averse and change-resistant navigate these challenges?


Photo by Sanjay Suchak, University of Virginia

UVA Edge helps employers invest in the long-term career success of workers without college degrees. It’s an innovative one-year program in which participants gain technical expertise and strengthen fundamental ‘human skills’ while earning transferable college credits. For employers, UVA Edge provides an opportunity to develop talent, increase retention, and create a more diverse and equitable workplace.

By Stephen Yadzinski, Senior Innovation Officer, JFFLabs & Stacey Clawson, Associate Vice President, JFF

There are more than 75 million adults in the United States who graduated from high school and never earned a college degree.

Compared with college graduates, they are more likely to hold lower-wage jobs, are disproportionately Black and Latinx, and have more limited opportunities for career advancement.

It’s clear that a college degree is the best forward-looking indicator of economic advancement. Among other things, a postsecondary education offers students important foundational experiences and helps them develop enduring skills such as emotional intelligence, creative problem-solving and communication…


Despite intense financial headwinds, this Impact Employer helps employees develop new skills and build a path to a college degree.

COVID-19 caused commercial air travel to evaporate overnight. Now, nearly a year into the pandemic, airlines are operating with a fraction of prior customer demand. Many have gone out of business, and those still operating are facing deep financial challenges. In the fight to survive, some airlines are suspending flights, grounding aircraft, leaving markets, and laying off employees. Each airline is navigating these difficult cost-cutting choices in its own unique way, shaped by its leadership, culture, and values.

JetBlue, the fifth largest U.S. airline, exemplifies what it means to be an Impact Employer while under intense financial pressure. Celebrating its…


There is an opportunity for technology to make a tangible social impact amidst the daunting challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Lucretia Murphy, senior director, JFF

An equitable economic recovery from the twin health care and economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will not be possible without addressing the racial inequities in the labor market. These structural inequities disadvantage Black, Latinx, and Native American workers and those without a college education, and the systems that would help these workers navigate career opportunities amidst the chaos of COVID-19 (or even pre-COVID) are broken. While we fix the workforce development system, we need to also empower workers, especially those who are disadvantaged by the system because of race, class, or level…


Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

More than you might think — and it can improve your bottom line

By Alison Schmitt and Laura Roberts

In this year like no other, people across American society have been questioning traditional power structures and reexamining who has solutions to some of our nation’s toughest problems. For corporate leaders, confronting a devastating pandemic and deep-rooted racial injustice, your usual M.O. is likely proving inadequate.

In the past, you’ve looked to the leader of your company — or, if you’re a CEO yourself, to your board or your peers on the Fortune 500 list — for wisdom to resolve knotty issues. …


Workday’s Ingrid Franzen is sparking a hiring revolution for nontraditional talent.

Reading about the U.S. jobs outlook during the pandemic highlights an interesting dichotomy. There are a record number of Americans out of work (the unemployment rate was around 6.7 percent in December 2020), yet many industries and employers are facing labor shortages. How is this possible? How can a labor shortage exist when so many people are looking for work?

Employers often say they’re encountering a “skills gap” — they can’t find enough people with the right skills for open positions. The end result, they say, is that numerous jobs go unfilled even though they’re recruiting aggressively.

Workday, a leading…


Learning and development leaders push the boundaries of technology to save time, money — and lives.

The pressure to find better, more efficient ways to train employees is nothing new. High-quality training experiences enable employees, and companies overall, to be more ambitious, innovative, and resilient. Those are important capabilities during boom times and economic downturns alike.

Fortunately, immersive learning tools are unlocking innovative ways to deliver training. These technologies have distinct advantages over traditional corporate training options. Among other things, they’re more cost-effective and they’re easier to scale — making them especially appealing to companies that need to train large numbers of frontline and entry-level workers.

ExxonMobil’s Athicha Dhanormchitphong and Kyle Daughtry understand the value of…

JFF

JFF (Jobs for the Future) is a national nonprofit that builds educational and economic opportunity for underserved populations in the United States.

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