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2014 CD Perspectives Report

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Federal Reserve Community Development Perspectives levels and low rates of employment among qualified, long-term unemployed workers pose significant challenges. In response, Reserve Banks conducted research and convened conferences to identify opportunities for specific populations. For example, several Reserve Banks convened meetings with the presidents of historically black colleges and universities to explore ways to align curricula to better prepare students for employment. Other Federal Reserve work examined assisting organizations with workforce reentry efforts for formerly incarcerated individuals. A persistent challenge of the workforce development system is its complexity. Stakeholders include educational institutions, workforce investment boards, chambers of commerce and economic development offices, and workforce training programs. Even though they have similar goals, these groups can be fragmented. Several Reserve Banks have convened meetings to explore opportunities to better align the various workforce development actors. Important discussions at these meetings addressed labor force participation and identified ways in which educational and training institutions can further develop workforce skills to match employer needs. Looking forward There are a number of critical questions and challenges related to this work moving forward: How will economically vulnerable communities build wealth post-recession? A key area of focus will be helping families manage downside risk and diversify their balance sheets beyond homeownership. CD staff are exploring a wide range of new programs and policies that can support asset building approaches and tools, including building emergency savings, savings accounts early in life, investments in financial assets and equities, and novel strategies to build credit scores. In addition, promoting sustainable homeownership and raising awareness of the importance of affordable housing remains an integral part of CD's efforts. What are other key issues for the future related to jobs and human capital? As unemployment continues to be an ongoing issue for many communities, additional engagement, research, and analysis of sector-based and postsecondary training programs will be needed to inform policymakers and funders so that the country can be prepared to have skilled workers in place for the jobs of tomorrow. Two Reserve Banks are convening a national workforce development conference in October 2014 to focus not just on this issue, but also on important policy changes that can address broad alignment issues within the workforce development ecosystem. What efforts are under way to address economic mobility issues? There are a number of CD staff research and outreach initiatives that explore the multidimensional aspects of economic mobility, both locally and throughout the country. For example, the 2015 Federal Reserve System CD Research Conference will convene researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to address these important issues. For readers of this report seeking more information about Federal Reserve CD activities related to these issues, visit the "People" section of FedCommunities.org. This portion of the site features a number of resources focused on asset building, 14

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