LEADOn! Article

Using Effective Workforce/Bank Partnerships to Expand Financial Empowerment for People with Disabilities

On The Ground | Financial Empowerment

A person holding a smartphone in a board-room setting

To learn about effective partnerships between workforce systems and banks, including expanding financial empowerment and career pathways for people with disabilities, the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) is conducting pilots in three local workforce development areas: New York’s Capital Region (Albany, New York), Michigan Works! Southwest (Kalamazoo, Michigan), and CareerSource Broward (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida). These pilot sites possess strong leaders committed to innovative approaches, informing practice in the field, and sustainability.

Why bank partnerships? To meet Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) requirements, banks must conduct activities that help meet the needs of a bank’s community, including low- and moderate-income (LMI) individuals. Banks can meet these requirements through community development activities that improve employment opportunities. ODEP is interested in strategies to build capacity within the workforce system to leverage bank investments in disability employment for low-income individuals who are primarily people of color.

Adam Slagle, Business Services Coordinator (Capital Region), said of the pilot, “Through our participation in this pilot, we’re motivated to increase the financial capability of people in our community that are underrepresented in the workforce. One of our goals is to support them in having the same access to financial services available to everyone – such as credit repair coaching – through a greater partnership with banks and a better understanding of the Community Reinvestment Act.”

To learn how the CRA can support people with disabilities and other underrepresented populations in the workforce, please read the LEAD Center FAQ: Workforce Systems Can Leverage Bank Resources to Improve Economic Self-Sufficiency and Employment Outcomes for Low- and Moderate-Income Individuals. The FAQ provides examples of workforce/bank partnerships, explains the focus on people of color with disabilities, and details the kinds of activities banks can engage in to increase career success and financial security for customers of the workforce development system.

Access the September 2021 webinar archive, How Workforce Systems Can Leverage Bank Resources to Enhance the Lives of Low- and Moderate-Income Individuals, to hear subject-matter experts and workforce professionals from the field discuss how to leverage the CRA to provide financial coaching, financial assistance for entrepreneurs, workforce training, credit assistance, career preparation, and other activities.