Press Release: Fred Dedrick, After Leading Pennsylvania’s Innovative Worker Training Approach, Takes the Helm at the National Fund for Workforce Solutions

Published mar. 16, 2010

BOSTON, MA (March 16, 2010) – At a time when unemployment isn’t budging, underemployment appears to be at record levels, and American workers are wondering what place they will have in a post-recession economy, the National Fund for Workforce Solutions announces that Fred Dedrick has joined the initiative as its first executive director. Dedrick most recently served as the Deputy Secretary for Workforce Development in Pennsylvania.

“The economy is changing rapidly. Many traditional jobs are disappearing. They are being replaced by knowledge-based jobs in health care, advanced manufacturing, and the ‘green’ industry. As a result, nearly 80 million Americans don’t have the skills they need to succeed,” said Barbara Dyer, chair of the National Fund and President and CEO of The Hitachi Foundation. “The National Fund for Workforce Solutions is made up of nearly 200 dedicated funders committed to getting people back to work and ensuring that American businesses are able to compete. Fred Dedrick brings two decades of experience implementing the types of strategies that form the foundation of the National Fund. The national investors are looking forward to working with Fred to reach new heights in achieving impact throughout the country.

As Deputy Secretary for Workforce Development in Pennsylvania, Dedrick was responsible for $150 million in federal and state workforce funding. He championed, designed, and implemented the very strategies that guide the National Fund: 1) organize workforce partnerships that create long-term relationships between employers and service providers; 2) develop strategies for specific industry sectors, focusing on the sectors that are important to the local economy; 3) build career pathways that, practically in a step-by-step fashion, offer entry-level workers and people seeking employment real opportunities for advancement to jobs that pay good wages; and 4) align and coordinate the many programs, organizations, and funding sources that, together, make up a community’s approach to preparing people for new careers.

“We involved approximately 7,000 employers in workforce partnerships in Pennsylvania over the past several years,” said Dedrick. “We trained almost 70,000 incumbent workers. It helped employers to become more competitive and the employees who were trained gained between a six to eight percent wage increase.

“Nationally, we can do a better job of helping jobseekers and employees succeed in today’s economy by focusing on and understanding what the employer and the worker in that industry need to be successful. Joining the National Fund is a great opportunity to work with people throughout the country committed to helping low-wage workers build a career. Together with our regional partners we can have a national impact on workforce development strategies.”

In addition to Deputy Secretary for Workforce Development in Pennsylvania, Dedrick has served as Director of Innovation and Technical Assistance in the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, and as Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Workforce Investment Board.

In 22 sites across the country, the National Fund is working closely with employers and leaders from the public and nonprofit sectors to find solutions, testing how the lessons learned from groundbreaking pilot projects in workforce development can be applied on a national scale. The National Fund is led by nine national investors who work closely with funders in states, regions, and communities nationwide: Annie E. Casey Foundation; the California Endowment; Ford Foundation; John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; Microsoft; The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation; The Hitachi Foundation; The Prudential Foundation; and the Walmart Foundation.

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