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


Special Reports


Empowering Adults to Thrive at Work: Personal Success Skills for 21st Century Jobs- 2016


SRI International and the Joyce Foundation authored this report which is geared toward leaders in education, industry, workforce development, and human services interested empowering working age adults to build sustainable 21st century careers. Personal success skills are the foundational capacities that all adults need to thrive in the 21st century workforce. As part of a many-pronged approach, strengthening personal success skills can increase adults’ ability to get good jobs and keep them, and build their careers. From interviews with experts and a review of research literature, the report provides resources and recommendations to advance practice, research, and policy.

Download: Empowering Adults to Thrive at Work: Personal Success Skills for 21st Century Jobs

From Politics To Public Policy - 2013


The Presidential elections of 2008 and 2012 famously established new standards for how social and digital media could be used to identify supporters and motivate them to act. A cadre of young digital sophisticates borrowed ideas from the corporate world and from new forms of social interaction, and applied their own keen insights to reinvent the meaning of voter engagement and public participation in the political process.

We asked two of the nation’s top political digital strategists to translate their experience to the nonprofit world. Patrick Ruffini and Michael Slaby have worked for candidates on both sides of the aisle, and represent the best-in-class practitioners in digital media and technology. 

Download: From Politics To Public Policy
ideos: Slaby and Ruffini share best practices


Shifting Gears Five-Year Evaluation Synopsis - 2013


The Joyce Foundation developed and invested more than $8 million in the Shifting Gears initiative to address a growing gap between the skills demanded by employers and the skills possessed by workers in the area. Cross-agency teams from six Midwest states accepted our challenge: Develop and make changes throughout these systems to help low-skilled adults obtain in-demand skills and post-secondary credentials.

Shifting Gears Website

Download: The Shifting Gears Synopsis

Download: Shifting Gears Five Year Evaluation (2012)


Teacher Quality: What You Need To Know - 2010


Once kids walk in the school door, the most important factor for how well they learn is the quality of their teachers. Having good teachers is important for all kids. But how do we know who’s a good teacher? How do we find the best teachers and attract them to schools where kids need them most? How can schools help teachers do the best job? How should they reward them when they do?

Read the stories of two teachers. One teacher tries hard but doesn’t get the help she needs, while the other gets the right support to help her kids succeed.

Interactive Website:

Download: Teacher Quality Guidebook

Download: Improving Teacher Quality Here's How




Transitional Jobs Reentry Demonstration: Joyce Policy Brief - 2010


Findings from The Transitional Jobs Reentry Demonstration (TJRD) were released with mixed results, indicating that more work is needed to ensure that these programs have the greatest positive impact. The study did not find a clear link between transitional jobs and increased long-term employment or reduced recidivism for former male prisoners, but it did yield some important insights. For example, men coming from prison have a high motivation to work. Transitional jobs programs created an important period of stability for participants in the weeks immediately following release and immediate earned income in tough economic times. The study also points to directions for further research.

Download: Transitional Jobs Reentry Demonstration: Joyce Policy Brief




Job Training + Education: A Pocket Guide for Policymakers - 2003


Millions of Americans work hard every day but struggle to support their families on low wages. Millions more have recently moved from welfare to work, but have been unable to escape poverty. Altogether, according to the U.S. Labor Department, more than six million Americans are counted among the working poor. Meanwhile, critical industries like health care and manufacturing have difficulty finding skilled labor.

Clearly the next big policy thrust must improve the skills and competitiveness of America's workforce through education and training. This year Congress will reconsider important pieces of federal legislation that address this issue, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), and the Higher Education Act. Critical implementation decisions will be made by state and city leaders around the country.

We are pleased to provide this pocket guide to the often bewilderingly complex policy area of education and training. It summarizes the research, policy issues, and funding, and suggests where to get more information. We hope this will be a useful resource for policymakers seeking ways to improve the skills and competitiveness of America's working families.

Download: Job Training + Education: A Pocket Guide for Policymakers

Keep it Moving - 2003


A new study by the Joyce Foundation finds that the Midwest--long the nation's transportation hub--is falling behind in addressing traffic congestion, air pollution, and other critical transportation problems.

The study examines Midwest spending on transit, rail projects, road repair and other improvements since the 1991 passage of ISTEA, the federal transportation bill, which is currently up for reauthorization in Congress. The study reports that over $42 billion in federal transportation dollars went to the Midwest, funding major projects in Chicago, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, and other Midwest cities to improve bus service, create bike paths and repair roads. But the region has lagged behind in vital areas, such as increasing transit ridership and improving air quality. Meanwhile, traffic congestion costs the Midwest more than $10 billion annually; freight-rail tieups in Chicago (the world's third-largest intermodal port) slow down shipments nationally; and promising light-rail and high-speed rail projects remain stalled for lack of funds

Download: Keep It Moving

Welfare to Work: What Have We Learned - 2002


The Joyce Foundation invested over $8 million to support research on the effects of the 1996 federal welfare reform on Midwest families making the transition to work. In April 2002, the Foundation published Welfare to Work: What Have We Learned, drawing together the results of its funded research and other relevant studies.

The report shows that in the Midwest, as nationally, welfare rolls plummeted during the 1990s, and most of those who left welfare went to work. Work supports--such as child care, food stamps, and the Earned Income Tax Credit--have helped thousands of working families make ends meet. But many of the jobs

recipients took are part time or short term, and wages are low. As a result, many working families still face serious economic hardships. The challenge of the next round of policymaking is support work (through childcare and other forms of assistance that help people stay employed) and address poverty (especially through education and training).

Download: Welfare to Work: What Have We Learned





The Joyce Foundation 321 North Clark Street, Suite 1500
Chicago, Illinois 60654
Phone: (312) 782-2464  |  Fax: (312) 595-1350

©2016 The Joyce Foundation. All Rights Reserved.
Website Design and Development by, Inc.