A well-educated, highly skilled workforce is an essential part of the long-term health of our local, regional, and national economies. Gaining a postsecondary education is the most important determinant of differences in the lifetime earnings and incomes of workers. The economic benefits of increased employment and improved social outcomes make workforce development a promising fit for Pay for Success.
According to the Lumina Foundation, two-thirds of all jobs by 2020 will require postsecondary education.
Today, individuals face many barriers to employment. Some do not possess the skills or education required for available jobs, others face language barriers or have trouble navigating the process of searching for a new job. The need for an educated workforce is urgent.
The federal government has recognized the opportunity to support workforce development through Pay for Success. In July 2014, President Obama signed into law the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the first major piece of federal workforce legislation since the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998. WIOA incorporates new opportunities for states and regions to innovate using ‘Pay for Performance’ (PfP) contracting, a tool similar to Pay for Success. Local workforce investment boards are authorized to use up to 10% of their funding for PfP contracts and additional funding will remain at the state level to drive support toward high-performing service providers.
Massachusetts Pathways to Economic Advancement Pay for Success Project
The Massachusetts Pathways to Economic Advancement Pay for Success project increases access to vocational English classes, skills training, and better jobs for approximately 2000 immigrants and refugees in Greater Boston, with the goal of making successful transitions to employment, higher wage jobs, and higher education. This project deploys $12.4 million over 6 years to expand the work of Jewish Vocational Service (JVS), one of Greater Boston’s largest community-based workforce and adult education providers. This is the first Pay for Success project in Massachusetts and the United States to focus exclusively on workforce development.
Advancing Career and Technical Education through PFS
Social Finance and Jobs for the Future, through a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, will work with four service providers to advance high-quality career and technical education (CTE) across the country. Selected through a national competition, the providers are: South Bay Community Services in California, NAF in New York, Mahoning County Educational Services Center in Ohio, and Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District in Texas.
Improving Outcomes for Veterans
Social Finance partnered with Bank of America Merrill Lynch to assess the feasibility of Pay for Success and Social Impact Bonds to serve US veterans, and explored opportunities in workforce development, wellness, and housing.