Updates from Industry & Inclusion
In March 2020, UMA and the Century Foundation (TCF) partnered to launch our Industry & Inclusion (I&I) Cohort just as the COVID-19 pandemic began to impact the country. As many of us had to do, UMA, TCF, and cohort members pivoted and found ways to connect virtually to continue to learn from each other and explore place-based education and workforce programs offering innovative training and education opportunities that are embedded in diverse communities and meet the needs of manufacturers scaling in and around cities.
To date we have hosted two webinars: “Pathways to Scale and Impact” and “Pursuing Inclusion and Industrial Rebirth.” Today, we’re excited to release our key takeaways and recordings from those events.
In the “Pathways to Scale and Impact” conversation, Tracie Neuhaus from Monitor Institute by Deloitte provided a set of guiding questions to consider when scaling and illustrated multiple scaling strategies. Samra Haider from Center for Employment Opportunities talked about the process of scaling from one site in one state to 29 sites in 10 states. Emily DeRocco from E3: Engage Educate Employ shared methods for bringing nationally distributed resources to regional and local networks.
Our cohort’s second learning and discussion topic was “Pursuing Inclusion and Industrial Rebirth.” The panel included cohort members Rhandi Berth, Chief Innovations Officer for the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership and Autumn Russell, Executive Director of MAGNET, a youth workforce development program in Northeast Ohio; and was moderated by Dr. Ron Williams, Assistant Professor of Business at Coppin State University and UMA Board Director. The discussion touched on many topics and challenges that manufacturers and workforce development organizations face today, some of which existed pre-pandemic and other issues that are arising from the context of the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism.
Also in this newsletter, you will find:
- “Supporting the Ecosystem Builders Who Support Small Businesses: Why Their Resiliency is Key to Economic Recovery”. This webinar is explicitly for non-profit and social impact organizations and how they can diversify their development approaches to remain resilient in times of crisis.
- The second in a series of posts in the Hidden Talent blog. Author Claire Michaels (Director of Workforce and Hiring at SFMade and Manufacture : San Jose, and longtime UMA member) documented stories of highly-motivated, well-prepared employees who got their start at employment in a manufacturing social enterprise. Read more below.
- An introduction to two racial-equity facing programs across the country: (1) the non-profit, crowdfunding platform In Our Backyard (ioby) and their focus on projects and programs run by Black entrepreneurs and community leaders; and (2) a new RFEI out of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation for the operation of an equity incubator to promote and assist women and people of color-owned businesses. Read more below.
It’s your work that inspires and connects us to each other, and demonstrates the power of manufacturing as a strategy to promote wealth creation, inclusive communities, and racial equity. We’re so grateful for your leadership.
The UMA Team
Webinar: Supporting the Ecosystem Builders Who Support Small Businesses
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic downturn, many nonprofits, and even not-just-for-profits, struggled to establish long-term financial sustainability. But since the start of the pandemic, trusted funding streams have been disrupted — from philanthropic donors to city and state sponsored funding. This has forced organizations to pivot their strategies and reevaluate their service offerings to match the changing economic environment.
This has left UMA wondering, within urban manufacturing ecosystems, what tools and resources can workforce development organizations, local branding initiatives, and makerspaces, among so many others, utilize to create more stable revenue models and business plans? How can we make sure that non-profits — which provide services and support to their communities and businesses — remain open, resilient, and able to serve?
To answer those questions, UMA, alongside the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) and the Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses (10KSB) program, have put together a webinar to hear how manufacturing service providers are supporting non-profit, community-based, social impact, or mission-driven organizations create long-term financial stability. You will hear from:
- Steve Heath, Executive Director of FabNewport & 10KSB alum
- Lee Wellington, Founding Executive Director, Urban Manufacturing Alliance
- Robin Haynes, 10KSB Business Advisor
- Shawn Thomas, Entrepreneurial Lending Director, Bridgeway Capital
- Sonia Moin [facilitator], Senior Director of Urban Business Initiatives at ICIC
This is a great chance to hear from service providers that are helping non-profits become more sustainable, and from organizations that have completed the 10KSB program. Through this conversation, we hope attendees will learn how to define organizational resilience, seek out economic development support, and gain deeper insights about opportunities and ideas for business models.”Pathways to Scale and Impact” & “Pursuing Inclusion and Industrial Rebirth” Webinar Takeaways
From the “Pathways to Scale and Impact” conversation, Tracie, Samra, and Emily shared their perspectives on how workforce training organizations can scale and impact their communities — whether that’s geographic, demographic, or programmatic. Check out the full takeaways from Pathways to Scale and Impact, and here’s a partial list:
- There is no one size fits all strategy for scaling workforce development initiatives. Strategies can range from expanding existing in-house, direct support to building affiliations with aligned organizations, to publishing and distributing IP to advocating for policy change.
- Before scaling it is important to know what problem you are trying to solve. It is difficult to evaluate which scaling strategy to implement without a deep understanding of the problem beyond your existing center of attention. If an organization can illustrate the context of the problem in multiple locations and show that it cannot be solved through the actions of just one site, one company, or one resource then it supports the need to increase efforts.
From “Pursuing Inclusion and Industrial Rebirth,” Autumn Russell and Rhandi Berth, alongside Andrew Stettner, Senior Fellow at TCF, and Lee Wellington, Executive Director at UMA, with Dr. Ron Williams moderating, discussed what manufacturers and workforce development organizations face today, some challenges which existed pre-pandemic and other issues that are arising from the context of today. The following were two key takeaways, and check out the full takeaways from “Pursuing Inclusion and Industrial Rebirth:”
- Have awareness about your industry’s and your communities’ needs. It is vital to connect communities while building industries. This can be done by connecting existing educational organizations — like high schools and community colleges — with established supporters of manufacturers — like the NIST MEP/IRC network. But you have to go beyond making connections and introductions.
- Intermediaries play a big role in creating change and new resilient systems. Developing new systems of equitable industrial development requires a community-wide effort. This effort has to be more innovative, more creative, and more collaborative in order to avoid recreating systemic barriers (e.g. racism, implicit bias, etc…). To do this, the process, and therefore the starting point, of developing programs must be approached intentionally and collaboratively, with heavy emphasis on evaluating the impact of programs, and adjusting as necessary.
Hidden Talent Blog Series
The second in a series of four profiles, we’d like to share is “Michelle: Pepperoni and Plane Parts.” This post is all about Orion, a social enterprise that provides job training and support services in Seattle. Read the full story here.
The Hidden Talent Blog Series tells the stories of highly-motivated, well-prepared employees who got their start at an employment social enterprise manufacturing businesses. Manufacturing social enterprises are set up with the intention of offering employment opportunities, training, and support to people who have overcome barriers to employment, while still running a profitable business. With the support of their employers and their own determination, social enterprise employees have turned their lives around and proven their value at work. They are some of the best trained, most loyal employees a business could hope to hire. As manufacturing businesses across the country struggle to find good employees, our intention is that this blog series sheds a light on the potential of social enterprises as a source for manufacturing businesses to find great people.From Our Communities
Meet: In Our Backyards (ioby)
Low-income residents, communities of color, and especially Black residents have for many years been intentionally excluded from decision-making in their communities. And when Black entrepreneurs dream up positive change to serve the public good, they are often denied the funding and support to make them happen. As part of ioby’s (in our backyards) commitment to anti-racism, and fight against that status quo, they have built a dedicated part of their crowdfunding platform to projects and programs run by
Black entrepreneurs and community leaders: ioby.org/BLM. Projects like Fab House (photo right), an initiative to bring digital fabrication technology to the Glenville neighborhood in Cleveland, are helping create wealth in place and establish new opportunities for communities of color across the country.
RFP: New Equity Incubator In the Brooklyn Navy Yard
This Request for Expressions of Interest and Proposals (“RFEI / RFP”) is a call to action for businesses, entrepreneurs, and joint ventures that are interested in increasing the equity of business ownership, particularly of minorities & women in New York City. Specifically, by opening and running a new incubator/ accelerator space at the Brooklyn Navy Yard that offers programming, hands-on support, and/or affordable workspace for minority- and women-owned businesses with an intentional focus on the most underrepresented minority groups, most specifically the African American and Caribbean American communities. This solicitation is for the lease, construction, and operation of the proposed incubator/ accelerator space. Learn more here.