Improving the quality of life in the Great Lakes region and across the country.

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

12/4/2014 9:21:00 AM

Top U.S. Community Colleges Commit to Collectively Graduating Additional 6,500 Students by 2020

New $100,000 Aspen Prize award for “Most Improved” in student success, also announced.​

12/2/2014 9:35:00 AM

More Than Half of Small Business Owners Can’t Find Job Candidates with the Right Skills

Small Business Majority poll shows that small business owners are hiring, but the skills gap continues to be a challenge.​

10/29/2014 9:17:00 AM

Learning Science and Personal Success Skills: A Path to Redemption for Education Innovation

Employment Program Officer Matthew Muench blogs about the future of edtech for 1776.​


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