A Lifetime of Opportunity for Workforce Development

Tameshia Bridges Mansfield, JFF’s vice president of workforce innovation, on reimagining our systems for equitable advancement.

Published dec. 03, 2021

“Opportunity doesn’t happen in 30-, 60-, 90-day chunks,” JFF’s vice president of workforce innovation, Tameshia Bridges Mansfield, told the City Club of Cleveland in October. “Opportunity happens over a lifetime.”

This long-term nature of opportunity, Bridges Mansfield continued, is why we need a workforce development system for learners and workers that is accountable in creating good jobs, not just innovative. What comprises a successful system? She believes the following four components are mandatory for a system that drives economic advancement for everyone:

  • Equity-focused
  • Data-informed
  • Worker/learner-centered
  • Demand-driven

Bridges Mansfield and JFF focus on transforming the education and workforce systems because they’re not equitable now, and they don’t promise economic advancement for all, but they can and they should. We don’t pretend that reimagining is quick or easy, but we encourage the learn-to-work ecosystem to take risks. It’s OK to step out of our comfort zone, especially if the goal is collaborating to make a prosperous and fair future of work a reality.

Watch Bridges Mansfield’s full speech to the City Club of Cleveland, where she elaborates on the four pillars of an effective system for everyone who relies on it, from learners and workers to families and employers.