Wilmington, DE — (June 22, 2023) United Way of Delaware (UWDE) and the Delaware Racial Justice Collaborative (DCRJ) have released a research study titled “Advancing Racial Equity in Delaware’s Workforce Development System.” Urban Institute, selected by UWDE through an RFP process, led the Study, which examines Delaware’s efforts to promote equity within its workforce development system. It emphasizes the impact of systemic barriers and historical inequities on people of color, resulting in persistent disparities in employment and economic opportunities in the state.

The study provides a comprehensive analysis of the current landscape of workforce development and training programs in Delaware. It highlights the best practices of providers prioritizing equity and equitable access in their program implementation. A matrix of over 600 programs is available for reference on UWDE’s website at https://uwde.org/workforce/.

To address the disparities identified, the study proposes several recommendations. It suggests implementing targeted interventions to meet the specific needs of communities of color. This includes creating culturally responsive training programs, offering mentorship opportunities, and improving access to support services like childcare and transportation. Programs should emphasize promoting diversity and inclusion within the workforce development system. The study recommends establishing comprehensive data collection and reporting systems to monitor and track racial disparities. Finally, cross-sector collaboration and partnerships are essential for advancing equity.

The complete study can be downloaded in PDF format from https://uwde.org/workforce/.

Laurie Girardi, UWDE Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, said, “UWDE is strongly committed to expanded opportunities for all Delawareans. Our focus is on empowering individuals of all ages with the necessary skills and resources to thrive in the workforce. We aim to ensure equitable access to employment opportunities that lead to higher-paying careers and the chance for skill enhancement through upskilling or reskilling endeavors.”

Jennifer Cho, Head of Citizenship/Community Relations for Barclays US Consumer Bank, a partner of UWDE, highlights the importance of building a diverse pipeline, “We recognize that a workforce system aligned with these principles helps individuals with barriers build the skills they need to gain economic independence,” Cho said. “Barclays is pleased to partner with UWDE to ensure we are helping to create an inclusive, equitable, and diverse talent pool across Delaware.”

Joanna Staib, Executive Director at the Delaware Workforce Development Board (DWBD), acknowledges the significance of the Equity-Centered Workforce Development Study. The study, supported partly by the Delaware Employment Equity Project (DEEP), “showcases the state’s commitment to eliminating systemic barriers and creating equal opportunities for all. Delaware aims to foster a future where every resident can thrive by critically examining the current landscape and implementing actionable insights.”

Interested individuals can visit the UWDE website or contact Laurie Girardi at lgirardi@uwde.org for further information about the report. UWDE and DRJC extend our gratitude to our partners, Barclays and the Delaware Workforce Development Board, for their generous support in their mission to improve the quality of life for all Delawareans.

About United Way of Delaware

Founded in 1946, United Way of Delaware (UWDE) works to advance the common good by focusing on four key areas: Early Education, Career and College Success, Financial Empowerment, and Racial Justice and Social Equity. UWDE is engaged in a long-term strategy to eliminate the root causes of Delaware’s most pressing social problems in New Castle, Kent, and Sussex counties. UWDE is also responsible for the United Way brand in Salem County, New Jersey. Learn more and #JoinTheFight at www.uwde.org.

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