April 21, 2020
Cincinnati Chamber’s Workforce Innovation Center
Cincy Chic recently spotlighted the Chamber’s Workforce Innovation Center and executive director Audrey Treasure. See how this program is reducing poverty in the tri-state by helping employers implement inclusive practices. Read the article
The Workforce Innovation Center was established by business leaders who wanted to make the reduction of poverty in the region a priority.
“The business community is a key partner in that effort through the employment opportunities it offers and the practices that companies employ within their workforces to encourage their employees’ success and economic growth,” explains Workforce Innovation Center Vice President and Executive Director Audrey Treasure.
This business-focused resource is part of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber and primarily funded through the generosity of businessman Dave Herche. Through this, the Workforce Innovation Center is able to offer support to companies while helping them solve challenges and find new sources of talent, consider new ways of doing business to support their success, and engage companies in the process of increasing economic mobility for those in poverty.
“We consider this work largely under the banner of ‘inclusive capitalism,’ which aims to make capitalism benefit employees, communities, and shareholders with the positive results,” says Treasure. “The Center is largely focused on companies with a frontline or early skill workforce in industries like manufacturing, retail, food service, and hospitality.”
Workforce Innovation Center Vice President and Executive Director Audrey Treasure
The Workforce Innovation Center works to support companies in solving challenges and growing their businesses. “We take a direct approach of consulting with companies to understand what is happening within their workforce,” explains Treasure. “Through an assessment process of a company’s identified challenges, policies, and employee experience, the Center proposes solutions that can improve the business’ operations and can also help address challenges that employees might be experiencing. A company may have a tardiness policy that is overly punitive and results in a high turnover rate of employees that could otherwise be successful. The Center can then support an employer in implementing practice changes in order to achieve its desired outcomes and improve its bottom line.”
Not only does the Center offer this support, but it also serves as a hub between businesses and the workforce ecosystem that exists in this region. “These social solutions organizations excel at removing barriers for people who are looking to advance their lives through work and can bring companies new sources of talent that employers may not have previously considered,” she says. “An example is hiring citizens who have returned from the criminal justice system. There are tremendous examples of employers who have hired returning citizens, sometimes called second-chance or fair-chance hiring, and have had great success for both the business and the employees.”
Now that COVID-19 is having a significant economic impact on the community, the Workforce Innovation Center and the Cincinnati Chamber are working diligently to ensure that they are doing all they can to respond to the needs of companies to keep them alive and to get people into jobs. “We anticipate that we will continue to evolve as the rest of the world does,” adds Treasure.
To learn more about the Workforce Innovation Center, click here. The Workforce Innovation Center is also part of the work being done as part of the new Bloomberg Philanthropies national initiative to improve economic mobility, which you can read more about here.
by Sara Sybert , Cincy Chic