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Workforce Development During the COVID-19 Recovery Using Outcomes Financing: Career Pathways in Construction

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Construction trades are among the first jobs to re-open and grow as the Country recovers from COVID-19. While this provides an opportunity for getting un- and under-employed individuals back to work, historically Black and Latinx communities have been excluded from meaningful access to job opportunities in construction. This uneven access, while exacerbated by COVID-19, pre-dates the current public health crisis. To address this, many municipalities around the United States require publicly funded construction projects to fill a percentage of their jobs with local residents. Yet, most developers rarely satisfy the requirement and at worst simply pay a fine.

Alongside a group of mission-driven affordable housing developers, Building Skills and the Community Outcomes Fund at Maycomb Capital are working to ensure that individuals living in the community where growth is occurring have access to the quality jobs that development creates. The project builds on the track record of Building Skills in connecting underrepresented New Yorkers with jobs in the construction trades. Using outcomes financing—sometimes called Pay for Success—the project supports placement into jobs with pathways for advancement, access to training and upskilling, and comprehensive retention services. This partnership represents a model for expanding access to employment opportunities, while also addressing the need for a pipeline of skilled labor that is anticipated in the construction field.


COVID-19 has inflicted significant distress on labor markets across the United States. As employer demand shifts and social distancing continues, workforce development programs face the need to change the jobs they train for and how they train. Federal, state, and local budgets will be stretched to respond in ways that they never have been before.

Outcomes financing provides a path forward. While government leaders will undoubtedly identify workforce development spending as a priority as we emerge from this pandemic, they will not be able to allocate nearly enough dollars to address the scale of unemployment. Faced with the vast need for services and limited resources, now more than ever, government dollars must be targeted to programs that work. Outcomes financing leverages private investment to ensure that public dollars are aligned with high-impact programs and spent on the outcomes that matter most—attainment of new credentials, job placement, retention, and earnings gains.

Confirmed Panelists

Dave Meade, Executive Director of Building Skills New York

Andi Phillips, Managing Partner of the Community Outcomes Fund at Maycomb Capital

Ayanna Oliver-Taylor, Director of Development, L+M Development Partners Inc.

Unconfirmed Panelists

Ayanna Oliver-Taylor, Director of Development, L+M Development Partners Inc.

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