Leveraging Your Local Financial Institutions to Further Your Workforce Development Goals | Maher & Maher
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Leveraging Your Local Financial Institutions to Further Your Workforce Development Goals

We all know that strategic investments in the workforce system can change lives, help businesses survive and communities thrive. Recently, I was at the NCWorks Partnership conference in Greensboro, NC and heard a presentation from Jeanne Bond with the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. She put meat on the bones for me regarding the new Community Reinvestment Act funding opportunities for workforce development, and I thought I would pass along the information.

When I was working in Kentucky, both the Federal Reserve of St. Louis and Cleveland supported the Commonwealth and its communities’ workforce development efforts like sponsoring our Work Ready Communities Best Practices conference. In addition, local financial institutions were often members of state and local workforce boards. The good news, though, is that there are even more ways to leverage financial institutions in this work. 

The Federal Reserve Banks of Dallas and Kansas City produced a great document entitled “Engaging Workforce Development: A Framework for Meeting CRA Obligations.” It is a how-to guide full of tools and resources for how banks, in order to meet their obligations under the Community Reinvestment Act, can partner with organizations engaged in workforce development activities. The link to this guide and other resources are provided below.

There are three broad areas that financial institutions can invest in workforce development: 1) loans, 2) investments and 3) services. Here are a few examples in the publication:


  • Loans to workforce development programs to support infrastructure development 
  • Working capital loans to businesses that are expanding their workforce within a sector strategy


  • Financial support through an investment, equity equivalent investment, or grant to a community-based organization associated with workforce development
  • Learn-and-earn opportunities


  • Serve on the board of a workforce development entity, volunteer for a committee that uses a bank employee’s professional skills, or a lawyer providing legal expertise to the entity regarding workforce issues
  • Provide space for meetings or other administrative support
  • Participate in student/trainee job preparation

If you want to pitch an idea for partnering with your local financial institution, start by reaching out to someone you already know. Ask them to refer you to the Community Development or CRA banker. Be prepared by having a project summary that addresses questions they will ask during the meeting. The workforce CRA framework and other great resources can be found here. Most importantly, speak to the outcomes and impact on the community’s talent development pipeline.

Are you ready to explore whether you are effectively leveraging all available resources, including banks to support workforce development activities in your state or region? Maher is here to help! For more information about our services, visit our website or call us at 1-888-90-Maher.

Maher & Maher is a specialized change management and talent development consulting firm based in New Jersey and Washington, D.C. The firm is U.S. Department of Labor’s national technical assistance provider supporting the Employment and Training Administration’s implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and a number of other priority initiatives of the administration that advance and promote the public workforce system. Maher is also currently involved in a number of sector strategy, regional planning, organizational strategic planning and training initiatives in multiple state and regional areas.


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