JFF Announces the Workforce Transformation Corps Initiative


Jobs for the Future (JFF), with support from The James Irvine Foundation, is offering five local workforce development boards (LWDBs) in California an opportunity to identify promising approaches for adopting human-centered design principles within their organizations. This opportunity will utilize a fellowship model where the five selected LWDBs will host and work collaboratively with a “workforce transformation fellow” trained in human-centered design thinking. Workforce transformation fellows will collaborate with workforce board staff members to identify current pain points, needs, and place-based considerations that inform a focused and strategic approach to more customer-centered people, programs, products, policies, and partnerships.

The five fellows will be:

  • Embedded within organizations for no less than 30 hours a week for a period of 12 months;
  • Selected through a competitive hiring process and trained in design thinking practices customized for the public workforce system; and
  • Fully funded through the initiative.

Participating LWDBs will be matched with a fellow who has indicated regional proximity to the workforce board’s service region and committed to spend no less than one day per week on-site. Fellows will work with LWDB leadership, staff, and other stakeholders to identify, clarify, and propose solutions to a specific human-centered design challenge within the host organization.

Opportunity: Join the Workforce Transformation Corps Fellowship

Fellowship Details

Fellows embedded with an LWDB will engage in a variety of interventions and projects during their placement, guided by the community, the people, and the organization in which they are working. Examples of anticipated activities include working with the LWDB to write organizational policy, reorganizing process workflow with frontline staff, and building asset maps of potential partner organizations. Tasks supporting both fellow and LWDB goals may include hosting design charrettes for staff and community members, grant-writing, and program design and implementation. At the end of the 12-month fellowship, each fellow will complete a capstone project highlighting the ways in which they helped guide their LWDB toward a specific transformation and the progress or outcomes of that effort.

Who You Are

  • Early-to-mid-career (3-5 years’ career experience);
  • Experience in public and non-profit organizations;
  • A demonstrated commitment to public service or a belief that the government can and should work better for people needing workforce services;
  • Lived experience with the public workforce system is a plus, meaning candidates have participated in WIOA-funded training, earn and learn training and placements, worked for a workforce board or workforce development agency or non-profit. An alternate experience could be experience as a frontline worker or customer facing service role.
  • Training or experience in design thinking, organizational psychology, or civic engagement.
  • Ability to work in a project or program lead role
  • Experience working as an organization advocate, patient-advocate, community-builder, or similar.

Fellowship Benefits

  • Increase Your Knowledge: In-depth professional development in human-centered design thinking and practices by leaders in the field;
  • Raise Your Profile: Opportunity to publish works on JFF’s national platform;
  • Help Your Community: Opportunity to contribute to meaningful organizational, policy, and programmatic changes within your LWDB;
  • Paid Opportunity: Average salary of $80,000 to $85,000 depending on experience and cost of living;
  • Take Care of Your Health: Healthcare stipend of $500 a month.

Are You Interested?

See the full job description and apply here!

  • Applications open: October 20, 2022
  • Applications close: December 2, 2022
  • Interviews conducted: December
  • Fellowship offers made: Early January
  • Fellowship period: Approximately January 15, 2023 - January 15th, 2024 depending on start date

Background and Context: Why Workforce Transformation?

In 2021, with funding and support from The James Irvine Foundation, a group of partners that included Make Fast Studio, Aspen Labs, Jobs For the Future, Turning Basin Labs, the California Workforce Association and CivicMakers set out to explore the degree to which human-centered design principles were present in workforce boards in California and across the country. The goal of this work was to develop a set of tools to help guide LWDBs toward discovering a more empathetic organizational body language. We hypothesized that by changing this body language, and the practices and policies that underlie it, workforce boards will deliver more equitable and meaningful outcomes to those they serve.

With insights gained from interviews with LWDB leaders, community-based organizations, and learner-workers, we developed a “maturity model” that maps LWDB behaviors along a spectrum of customer and community engagement.

Now, in order to solve the deep structural barriers facing the public workforce system, JFF, along with these partners, is establishing a Workforce Transformation Corps. This group will initially be composed of five full-time fellows tasked with utilizing the maturity model to drive human-centered innovations alongside five California-based workforce development boards.


Learn more about JFF’s latest initiative with The James Irvine Foundation to transform the public workforce system! Check out our webinar to learn more about the Workforce Transformation Corps Initiative to discover how LWDBs can be part of the transition to build a more human-centered public workforce system.

What: Workforce Transformation Corps Initiative Informational Webinar

Where: Watch the replay

Questions? Contact Ben Sommer for additional questions on the Workforce Transformation Corps program at bsommer@jff.org.