Working to improve quality of life, promote community vitality and achieve a fair society.

Shifting Gears

Shifting Gears

An initiative to bolster efforts in six Midwest states to help working-age adults who need to expand their skills.

Skills For Chicagoland's Future

Skills For Chicagoland's Future

New City Of Chicago And Cook County Program To Put Chicagoans Back To Work

Employment Program

Employment Program

Creating Economic Opportunity


Program History

The Joyce Foundation believes that equipping workers to succeed in good-paying jobs benefits individuals, their families and communities, and the Midwest economy as a whole. In the last two decades, the Foundation has tested strategies to boost workers’ skills and help women on welfare, low-skilled workers, ex-offenders, and others who face significant barriers in joining the workforce. Through it all, Joyce has consistently funded research to evaluate promising strategies and learn from the results; Joyce-supported research on welfare-to-work and transitional jobs were major contributions to the field. Current evaluation research focuses on adult education programs that prepare adults without high school diplomas or the equivalent with skills needed for careers.

In Employment, as in other Foundation efforts, Joyce focuses on policy change, especially at the state level. Its five-year Shifting Gears initiative, which took place in six Midwest states, has dramatically increased access to credentials for low-income adults by streamlining postsecondary, adult basic education, and skills-development systems. More recently the Foundation has been supporting efforts to improve community colleges through the Aspen Prize and promoting training partnerships with major industries. Amid current economic and fiscal challenges, Joyce continues to seek innovative strategies that expand access to successful training models and control costs.

Latest News From The Employment Program

8/9/2016 10:45:00 AM

Sameer Gadkaree Joins the Joyce Foundation

Education and workforce development expert Sameer Gadkaree is joining the Joyce Foundation as a Senior Program Officer. ​

7/28/2016 9:32:00 AM

Joyce Foundation Awards $13.7 Million in Grants

Joyce Foundation Awards $13.7 Million in Grants to Advance Policies on Climate Change, Great Lakes Protection, Gun Violence Prevention, and Workforce Development​


The Joyce Foundation Announces $10.2 Million in Grants

In April, 50 grants totaling $10.2 million were approved by the Joyce Foundation Board of Directors to further address pressing economic and social challenges.


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