Center for Education & Workforce Policy
The Center for Education & Workforce Policy (CFEWP) is working at the forefront of efforts to expand access to quality education, improve student outcomes, reimagine how instruction is delivered, align post-secondary and job-training opportunities with tomorrow’s workforce needs and plan for the challenges of an evolving global economy.
We partner with educators, policymakers, communities, and industry leaders as they increasingly focus on the challenge of ensuring all students are prepared for tomorrow’s opportunities with equitable access to a high-quality education that prepares them for the college or career path of their choice.
For those already in the workforce, our work extends well beyond the K-12 and post-secondary education systems to ensure the workforce of today has access to opportunities to develop the skills to succeed tomorrow and to advance within their careers. We work with employers, post-secondary institutions, state governments and communities to ensure workforce development programs are aligned with today’s and tomorrow’s workforce needs.
Our Focus Areas
CFEWP partners with state and local leaders nationally to help find common higher ground and improve outcomes for kids.
CFEWP partners with government, education, non-profit, community & advocacy leaders at all points of the system change process. From engaging stakeholders to gather input and facilitating conversations among diverse perspectives to designing new systems, advancing changes through the appropriate channels and supporting the implementation of new systems, we have experience at each step.
From one-time townhalls and regional listening tours to ongoing engagement initiatives and public forums or small group discussions, authentic stakeholder engagement can be a powerful component of any policy or system change when done well. We have extensive experience designing, managing and leading stakeholder engagements of all sizes and scopes. Every engagement program is unique and designed to define the scope of inquiry, identify the impacted or involved stakeholders, ensure all voices are heard and that meetings are comfortable, accessible and productive. Depending on the input sought, the location of participants and our partners’ goals, we can use a mix of in-person large group meetings, smaller focus groups and online meetings, webinars and townhall style meetings with small group breakout discussions. We also utilize a wide variety of online tools to gather additional input recognizing that despite all best efforts, meetings may not always fit every stakeholder’s schedule.
When it’s time for designing significant system change in policy, regulations or systems, an effectively designed and run working group or task force is often an effective forum. Whether a formal task force or an informal working group brought together to explore the issue, effective meeting design and facilitation is critical to success. Understanding how to structure the group itself, the information that will be needed for the group to fulfill its mission and how to both structure the work across a continuum of conversations and to facilitate those conversations is critical to its success. We’ve managed and facilitated efforts on some of the most complex and contentious topics, finding common ground and delivering progress where other efforts have failed. While other firms rely solely on group management, we combine best-in-class facilitation with a mix of education system and private sector experience that few can match.
Reaching consensus is not a single step process and it’s not something limited to final actions or recommendations. It starts with aligning on the challenge or problem, developing a vision for a better end state and an effective plan to lead parties with differing opinions on outcomes sought or strategies to get there. Our team has led these efforts among a wide range of stakeholders. We’ve helped state and municipal governments work across internal agencies and in regional or statewide collaboratives and supported membership organizations of all kinds from multi-government to professional associations. When internal efforts needed an outside aide, we’ve helped agencies and systems find consensus across divisions and with partner organizations and foster collaborative relationships with partners.
We understand the complexity of developing smart, sustainable policies and policy change in ways that few others can. Our team has been involved at every point from stakeholder and leadership discussions of the need to change to developing clear recommendations and seeing those advanced through legislative, regulatory or corporate action. We’ve also been on the implementation side in both the public and private sectors so have a unique appreciation for the need to get it right. We know that even the best change can look different in different economies, communities or under different leadership so we help leaders and stakeholders develop policy that considers all of the potential risks as well as the opportunities to effect meaningful and sustaining change.
From our experience working in and with education and workforce systems across the country, we know that simply having great ideas or even collaboratively developed recommendations is only the beginning. Designing a system to incorporate, manage, continuously oversee and effectively operate those ideas is an area that requires as much focus as the ideas themselves. We work with system leaders and their teams to ensure efforts leverage rather than duplicate existing programs, that they maximize resources and prepare both for initial implementation and for long-term quality and sustainability.
Advancing and sustaining change does not end with the right ideas being offered by any office, organization, work group or task force. Advancing those ideas through legislative, regulatory, board or other actions requires a strategic plan and, in most cases, a diverse group willing to utilize their networks and influence to support the change. These coalitions of change can be single topic like a one-time board vote to adopt a new policy or they may be longer-term efforts of stakeholders committed to multiple actions to bring about transformative change. Coalitions supporting change are also crucial to ensure the sustainability, quality and efficacy of the implementation of the change. We work with our partners to identify coalition members, goals, actions and responsibilities and we work with the coalition to minimize burdens on members while maximizing the impact of the coalition.