Coalition Building

One foundation built a coalition in a large city involving several companies in a single industry, plus labor unions, community colleges, training programs, local government officials, and other funders. Despite some natural tensions among these participants (the corporations were competitors in the marketplace; the unions were not always in accord with the employers), the coalition hammered out a new citywide employment system for the industry. It included recruitment, training, apprenticeships, opportunities for promotion and fringe benefits, and other improvements to the industry’s basic practices for finding and promoting workers. The head of one of the participating foundations estimated that he and his colleagues “spent two years consulting with employers’ groups and local community organizations as well as government agencies to draw up an agreed structure and priorities for the partnership.”

The result was a system that benefited two groups the foundation especially wanted to help: people seeking entry-level jobs, and low-level workers who wanted opportunities for advancement. For the industry, the system provided better-trained workers, a more stable labor force, and a much-improved image as desirable places to work.

Takeaways are critical, bite-sized resources either excerpted from our guides or written by Candid Learning for Funders using the guide's research data or themes post-publication. Attribution is given if the takeaway is a quotation.

This takeaway was derived from Working with the Business Sector.