goodwillEach week, Corporate Voices will be highlighting the commitments of its member and partner companies to Summer Jobs Plus, a new Presidential call-to-action for businesses, nonprofits and government to provide pathways to employment for low-income and disconnected youth in the summer of 2012.

Corporate Voices’ partner company, Goodwill Industries International is proud to be one of the first organizations to support the Summer Jobs Plus program. Through Goodwill’s unique social enterprise business model, it creates employment and job training. This year, the organization will expand services for youth at the beginning of their careers. Goodwill is committed to hiring 1,200 youth ages 16-26, provide more than 3,200 youth with life skill services and provide over 2,300 youth with work skills services. Almost 2,000 youth will be engaged in learn and earn services. Thousands more will be provided virtual career mentoring and exploration services.

To learn more about fellow member companies committed to this effort, check out the new section on our website devoted to Summer Jobs Plus! To find out how your company can join this in this effort, build on your existing initiatives and make a commitment, please visit

WAFCFor more than a decade, Corporate Voices has provided leading best-practice employers a forum to improve the lives of working families, while strengthening our nation’s economy.  Many employers accomplish this by supporting the educational attainment of current and future employees.  In order to ensure that individuals have the skills to succeed in the workplace and are on education and career pathways to earning family sustaining wages, employers often partner with community colleges in Learn and Earn models of talent development.

Each week, in an effort to highlight these best practice models, Corporate Voices will spotlight a distinct Learn and Earn partnership between a business and community college. This week, we are pleased to highlight the Western Association of Food Chains (WAFC).

The sole mission of WAFC, an organization representing companies in the retail and wholesale food industry, is to build education depth throughout the food industry.  Through its Retail Management Certificate Program, WAFC has partnered with more than 135 community colleges to utilize standard academic course work offered by most community colleges to create an industry recognized certificate.  As budget cuts force these community colleges to evaluate resource allocations and expenditures, their food industry partners offer onsite classroom usage within their facilities, supplementing valuable on-campus space.  Additionally, employer partners provide adjunct instructors steeped in current learning needs of the industry.

For more information on WAFC, please read the Learn and Earn micro-business case, or check Corporate Voices’ most recent tool, Business and Community College Partnerships: A Blueprint.

Recently, Corporate Voices for Working Families announced its latest publication documenting the important ways in which business leaders and postsecondary educators can collaborate to serve their mutual goals. Business and Community College Partnerships: A Blueprint, offers practical advice, best-practice models, and concrete action steps for business and college leaders who hope to start, sustain, or expand successful community partnerships.

The new blueprint was the topic of lively discussion last month in Miami when the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) hosted its annual Workforce Development Institute. The event included some 450 workplace experts, employers, policy leaders and government officials from across the nation. Peg Walton, Corporate Voices’ Senior Director of Workforce Readiness, joined them to lead a session on business-community college partnerships, and shared the perspective of Corporate Voices’ partner companies on this important work. The new partnership tool may be found here. For more information on it, or on Corporate Voices’ role at the AACC’s Workforce Development Institute, please contact Peg Walton.


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