Partner with Us
We’re seeking partners in locations across the country. Unlike the traditional RFP, we are looking for partners not just proposals, as a testament to the relationship we plan to build. The journey to equitable hiring - we're in it together.
2023 Request for Partnerships
The Request for Partnership (RFP) application period will run from April 3rd through May 26th. Answers to proposal questions must be completed and submitted by 5:00 PM CT on Friday, May 26th.
Click Here to download a fillable copy of the RFP.
Click here to submit your completed RFP.
For questions and more information, please contact Jason Smolka, Director of Site Replication, at email@example.com.
As part of our 2023 Request for Partners, we hosted informational webinars discussing our mission, our model and how we partner with communities to make an impact. The Webinars were hosted by our Director of Site Replication, Jason Smolka.
Explore Our Impact
With over 19,000 formerly unemployed and underemployed job seekers connected to employment in two sites since 2012, Skills for America’s Future (Skills) has been able to unlock the key to economic mobility by connecting unemployed individuals with companies in need of hiring them, leveraging its robust network of local and national hiring partners.
After proven results in Chicago and Rhode Island, Skills plans to expand its model to 25 sites over the next 10 years, placing over 500,000 individuals into jobs with 25% of Fortune 500 companies, as well as other national and local employers.
Skills is seeking to partner with local not-for-profit organizations who work closely with employers and are looking to enhance their workforce development function with a jobs-first model. Skills plans to explore a partnership with nonprofit organizations in new locations across the country interested in adding, growing, or enhancing their employer-led, data-driven workforce approach through consultative services, staff training, and national employer introductions.
Our Model & History
How Will the Skills Model Benefit Your City?
The Skills’ jobs-first model has increased economic mobility for thousands of under and unemployed individuals. Bringing Skills to your city will:
- Increase economic mobility for thousands of under and unemployed individuals
- Align employers’ hiring needs with diverse, job-ready talent
- Provide data, expertise, and resources to implement a proven approach to workforce development
- Provide access to a network of national employers already working with Skills
Theory of Change
Annually, the United States spends $41 billion on workforce development, yet marginalized populations, primarily low-moderate income and/or Black and Latinx communities, experience unemployment rates well above national averages. Flipping the traditional workforce model on its head, the Skills model starts by going directly to the job source--employers--and understanding their hiring needs, company culture, and long-term human resources goals. Skills fills available positions with unemployed individuals, serving as a connection, coach, and advocate. The Skills model connects unemployed individuals with companies in need of hiring them and serves as the last mile for the unemployed but the first mile for businesses.
Skills is a nonprofit guided by our north star of increasing economic mobility of under and unemployed by connecting them to quality jobs through our deep partnership and understanding of the unique human capital needs of our network of engaged employers. Skills is driven to meet the talent demands of businesses, and to be a catalyst for systemic change and innovation. By focusing on the hiring demand of employers, Skills has created a paradigm shift in the general supply-driven approach to workforce development. The impact of this demand-driven approach can be seen through both the employers’ skilled and diverse workforce, and the economic mobility provided to job seekers who are no longer unemployed/underemployed.
Skills launched its first location in 2012 in Chicago and expanded to Rhode Island in 2016. To date, Skills has directly impacted the lives of 19,000+ job seekers who were connected to jobs and career pathways leveraging Skills’ network of over 100 employer partners in diverse industries such as healthcare, financial services, retail, manufacturing, and hospitality. Additionally, Skills has an engaged Board of Directors at the C-Suite level and funding support from private donors and government.
In 2017, Skills commissioned New Growth Group – a third-party firm specializing in workforce development and evaluation – to determine the long-term impact of Skills’ model on job seekers placed. The study found that candidates placed by Skills earned, on average, $6,120 more annually and achieved a 20% higher job retention rate at the one-year mark than individuals in a comparison group. Skills candidates’ reliance on public assistance also decreased from 45% to 28% once they were provided access to employer-provided benefits. Overall, the study found that dollars invested in Skills earn a 251% return over a two-year period, highlighting Skills’ capacity to generate positive outcomes for disadvantaged populations.
Skills is seeking new nonprofits looking to add or enhance their jobs-first workforce approach in their community. Deploying a train-the-trainer model, Skills will provide the consultative and technical support required to deliver on hiring needs for employers and connect more job seekers to quality jobs. Specifically, Skills is looking to partner with organizations who would like to (a) embed the model into their current workforce initiatives, (b) build out a net new demand-driven workforce function within their existing organization, or (c) launch a new, jobs-first organization within the larger workforce ecosystem of a city or state. Intensive assessment, planning, training, and consultation will be conducted in the first phase of partnership with ongoing quality assurance, thought partnership, employer introductions, and support delivered as part of the Skills national network.
Skills is offering participation stipends for organizations selected to explore a partnership. This funding will be used to compensate each organization for their time to explore and evaluate the feasibility of a potential partnership and to create a project plan and budget together.
Upon conclusion of a three-month period of exploration of partnership, Skills and the organization will determine whether to move forward with a formal partnership.
Partners who join the national Skills network receive the following value:
- A network of over 100 national employer partners in diverse industries
- Ability to short-cut learnings using Skills’ data and experience
- Close the opportunity gap for underserved communities and dramatically increase placements for under and unemployed jobseekers
- Access to robust data, tracking and evaluation tools at a national and hyper-local level
- Join a network of Skills’ sites with a similar mind-set and share best practices.
Partners will also receive the following services:
- White-glove, consultative services and thought partnership services to implement and drive a jobs-first approach in your city.
- Staff training from Skills on the proven approach to business development, client services, sourcing talent beyond the federal workforce system, building diverse talent pipelines, designing career pathways for employers, aligning community partnerships, data collection and more.
- Support with local fundraising efforts to launch and sustain the work overtime.
- April 3 - RFP Issued
- May 4 - Informational Webinar 1 at 1:00 PM CST
- May 9 - Informational Webinar 2 at 3:00 PM CST
- May 26 - RFP Responses Submitted by 5pm CT
Post RFP Period:
- May 29 – October 13 – Evaluation and Partnership Exploration Period
- By July 21st, invitations will be extended to those groups identified as being a strong fit to explore a partnership.
- From July 21st – October 13th work together with SAF staff to determine feasibility of launching the Skills model.
- October 16 – December 22 - LOI Commitment Phase
- This period will be used to finalize commitment and timing to launch the Skills model in your city.