The PROMISE Center: Promoting Resilience, Opportunity, and Mobility in Support of Equity

PROMISE is committed to creating solutions that provide equitable pathways to a thriving workforce for all individuals and mitigating the harmful effects of segregation by race, place, and class.
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Resources | PROMISE Center

Explore these resources produced by AIR staff related to the PROMISE Center’s background, vision, and work.

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Q&A | JUNE 2023

Positioning Workforce Training to Respond to the Rise i Skills-Based Hiring

The PROMISE Center is partnering with Year Up to expand its nationwide program to develop essential career readiness and business skills, build foundational technical capabilities, and complete an immersive, work-based learning experience with a leading employer partner. In this Q&A, Christina Curnow, managing director of Human Capital Solutions, shares how this work could help scale up effective skills-based training programs, expand and diversify the workforce, and support employers’ skills-based hiring practices.


Pursuing Innovations to Build a Better Workforce Development Ecosystem

Education and training have long been considered routes to economic security. But millions of people can’t access postsecondary education or workforce training that would prepare them for high-demand, living-wage jobs. Liz Rutschow, managing researcher and acting director of AIR’s PROMISE Center, shares how AIR experts are working to develop, build, and measure the impact of innovations designed to increase economic opportunity and mobility at scale.

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What We're Learning About Displaced Workers and Their Needs

Displaced workers may need different kinds of supports than workers who become unemployed for other reasons. In this blog post, the PROMISE Center's Liz Rutschow, Kyle Neering, and Scott Davis explore three of the key themes that emerged from the landscape review they conducted to identify workforce system approaches that better support displaced workers and help them get back on their feet.


Helping Displaced Workers -  Landscape Review

This landscape review provides an analysis on the effectiveness of programs that target displaced workers, identifies important questions on how to best support this population, and provides suggestions for further tailoring programs and practices to meet displaced workers’ needs. What we found:

  • Displaced workers can spend significant lengths of time in unemployment. Black workers have historically been disproportionately affected by displacement as they are often among the first to be fired during economic contractions and are reemployed at significantly lower rates than white, Asian, and Latino workers.
  • Displaced workers are often paid less at their new jobs and earnings losses are greater among individuals with low initial wages.

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Expanding the Evidence Base for Reconnecting Opportunity Youth Pathways to Thriving

This brief explores the research and practice evidence on strategies intended to support opportunity youth and identifies a researcher-practitioner learning agenda to support opportunity youth on a path to thriving. This brief also includes a research agenda that aims to improve the understanding of what works for opportunity youth. To better support opportunity youth, our experts identified two important priorities for evidence building.

EVENT | 2022 JUNE 30

Creating an Equitable Workforce System at Scale: A Roundtable Discussion

The PROMISE Center’s inaugural event explained opportunities to create a more equitable workforce system at scale and to hear key insights from staff who implement and study sector-based workforce programs on the ground.


BRIEF 2022 | MARCH 2022

The PROMISE Center at AIR: Providing Equitable Opportunity for Economic Mobility to America’s Workforce

This brief provides an overview of the PROMISE Center's work. With a $10 million grant from the AIR Equity Initiative, PROMISE is launching a wide-ranging research, capacity building, and engagement strategy that leverages AIR’s deep technical assistance, research, and evaluation expertise.

PROMISE Precursors

Workforce Development and Economic Mobility/Prosperity Working Group (WDEMP)

Before it was officially established in July 2021, the PROMISE Center was shaped by the Workforce Development and Economic Mobility/Prosperity Working Group (WDEMP), which advocated for stronger evidence- and field-building to achieve a future-ready and resilient workforce and economy, with support from the AIR Equity Initiative. Several landscape analyses evolved out of this work that laid the groundwork for PROMISE’s design. Explore the below resources to learn more.


Bridges Toward Equity: Making Workforce Development Work for All

Read Making Workforce Development Work for All: Five Themes from Our Panel Discussion, our blog post that shares additional insights and themes from the panel discussion.

This roundtable discussion kicked off the AIR Equity Initiative—AIR’s $100+ million five-year investment to advance equity in several important areas including workforce development. In the first of a series of roundtable discussions focused on equity, a panel of AIR and community experts shared how they will partner to pursue an agenda to increase economic mobility and prosperity for the many Americans who are currently being left behind. Watch the discussion to learn more.


The Importance of Workforce Development for a Future-Ready, Resilient, and Equitable American Economy

This brief produced by the WDEMP working group, discusses why workforce development must be a critical component of any agenda to improve equity in the United States and to create a more inclusive economy and society with opportunity for all.

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Building the US Workforce for the Future: Key Challenges and Opportunities

AIR experts conducted a series of analyses to better understand current economic dynamics impacting workforce stability and preparation. Read this post to learn about the key takeaways and guideposts for building a strong, enduring workforce system.


Automation Risk and COVID-19 Job Losses: Implications for Economic Recovery and Reskilling Policy

This brief highlights another disparity stemming from the pandemic: mass layoffs of individuals in jobs that were easy to automate. The AIR analysis suggests that there is a greater urgency for reskilling workers to help jobless individuals return to work.


Assessing Job Interrelatedness: Data Sources to Facilitate Job Transition and the Future of Work 

Given the significant impact technological advances are having on the business environment, a need exists to accurately examine the interrelatedness of jobs so that organizations and individuals will be adequately prepared to adapt. This brief describes several data sources that can be used to examine the interrelatedness of different occupations.


Supporting Labor Market Resiliency and Future-Readiness: The Case for Measuring Skill Demand in Real Time

This brief summarizes how the nature of work is changing, and how the skills associated with jobs may continue to change. It also describes what AIR staff conceptualize as “future skills,” which must be accurately measured and understood to effectively align the supply and demand for future jobs.