Publications

    Growing Fairly: How to Build Opportunity and Equity in Workforce Development
    Goldsmith, Stephen, and Kate Markin Coleman. 2022. Growing Fairly: How to Build Opportunity and Equity in Workforce Development. Brookings Institution Press. Learn more on the publisher's site Abstract

    Stephen Goldsmith and Kate Markin Coleman, February 2022  

    The labor market in the United States faces seemingly contradictory challenges: Many employers have trouble finding qualified applicants for current and future jobs, while millions of Americans are out of work or are underemployed—their paths to living-wage jobs blocked by systemic barriers or lack of adequate skills.

    Growing Fairly offers workforce development reforms that meet the needs of both workers and employers. Based on the experiences of hundreds of leaders and workers, the authors set out ten principles for designing a more effective and equitable system that helps workers obtain the skills necessary for economic mobility.

    The principles outlined in the book argue for a more comprehensive view of the skilling needs of current and prospective workers. They spell out the attributes of effective programs and make the case for skill-based hiring, widely distributed performance data, and collaboration. The book emphasizes the importance of local action to overcome the structural barriers that challenge even the most determined would-be learners. Growing Fairly shows cross sector leaders how to work across organizational boundaries to change the trajectory of individuals struggling to make a living wage.

    This is not a book of untested theories. Instead, it is written by practitioners for practitioners. Much of it is told through the voices of those who run programs and people who have taken advantage of them. While the issues the book addresses are profound, its take on the subject is optimistic.

    Between them, the authors have spent decades searching out and supporting effective practices. Even more critically, they have learned how to knit competing agencies and organizations into cohesive systems with coordinated missions. Their practical ideas will benefit a wide range of readers, from practitioners in the field to students and scholars of the American labor system.

    Fernando Monge, Jorrit de Jong, and Warren Dent; May 2020 

    In the fall of 2016, the state government of the United Arab Emirates decided to take a new approach to spur floundering projects toward faster results.

    Frustrated with slow progress on key issues like public health and traffic safety, the state launched a new program to accelerate change and enhance performance across government agencies. The innovative program, called Government Accelerators, ran 100-day challenges—intense periods of action where “acceleration” teams of frontline staff worked across agency boundaries to tackle pressing problems. This case illustrates how three teams were chosen to participate in the program, and how, in the 100-day timeframe, they worked toward clear and ambitious goals that would impact citizens’ lives.

    The case aims to raise discussion about different types of public sector innovation, to explain the approach and methodology of the Government Accelerators, and to analyze the conditions under which a similar tool might work in other cities.

    Thanks to a gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies, no permission is required to teach with, download, or make copies of this case.

    Sandford Borins and Richard Walker, December 2012 

    The adoption of new services and practices is widespread in public organizations as they respond to demands in the external environment and internal aspirations. In order to recognize these activities and disseminate good practices, awards programs have proliferated around the globe. Given the limited empirical analysis of the characteristics of innovation award winners, this article examines the 2010 Innovations in American Government Awards (IAGA) program.

    In late 2006, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg created the Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO). Born out of recommendations made by the Bloomberg appointed public-private Commission for Economic Opportunity, CEO was designed to be an innovations lab that would test anti-poverty programs by applying a results-based approach. With a budget of $100 million, CEO would closely monitor new programs and hold them accountable for producing measurable results. Uniquely, CEO would cut funding for programs that did not “make the grade.” Bloomberg named Veronica White the Executive Director of CEO. White had decades of experience working in executive positions in several New York City agencies but with CEO she had daunting tasks ahead. She would have to redefine how poverty was measured in the city, facilitate cross agency partnerships, and, most important, develop an effective and achievable evaluation system for all programs. This case traces the CEO team’s challenges in placing program evaluation at the core of their mission.