WPTI Launches Business Engagement Learning Lab (BELL)

2020 was a year like no other for New York City’s job developers.  In less than 12 months, thousands of businesses slashed payrolls.  Long-time employers shuttered their doors permanently.  Unemployment soared from historic low to historic high overnight. Sectors and industries that previously provided substantial opportunities have been slowest to recover. The vast majority of workforce organizations have seen funding cut or stay stagnant even as need for assistance has skyrocketed.

Fewer jobs, greater demand for services, less receptive employers, diminishing organizational resources -- all require new approaches.  Simply put, today’s job developers need better, faster and more effective ways to continue meeting the employment needs of job seekers.

WPTI invites eligible workforce development programs to apply to participate in the Business Engagement Learning Lab (BELL), a rigorous cohort-based training program designed to equip and empower workforce programs with advanced employer engagement techniques and operational skills.

CLICK HERE to apply.

Select topic areas will include:

  • proven success drivers for business engagement
  • enhanced marketing and messaging to boost employer engagement
  • quantifying value to level the playing field with employers
  • formalized communication plans to connect with employers, including leveraging social media to build visibility
  • best practices for structuring workloads to maximize results
  • strategic business development using Labor Market Intelligence (LMI)
  • establishing partnerships to create long-term success for working participants

WHAT: The Business Engagement Learning Lab (BELL) is a hands-on, team-based, intensive applied skills development opportunity for early/junior to mid-level job developers AND their supervisor.  The purpose is to build program capacity and knowledge, with the expectation that programs will incorporate substantive changes as a result of this experience.

This initiative includes two components: learning community sessions and implementation technical assistance / skills coaching.

Part I: Learning Community (May-June)

The four Learning Community sessions will be divided between process – concrete improvements to day-to-day activities – and strategy, a greater understanding and response to the forces reshaping the local labor market.

  • Learning Community -- Process Focus
    • Session 1: Making the Pitch: Refining Employer Marketing & Outreach
    • Session 2: Maximizing Results: Revising Workflow to Boost Productivity
  • Learning Community -- Strategy Focus
    • Session 3: The Post-COVID Recovery of the NYC Labor Market
    • Session 4: Creating Career Pathways for Young Adults

Part II: Small Group Coaching (July-August): In groups of 5 organizations, participants will reflect on the topics covered during the Learning Community sessions, discuss the experience of implementing their action plans, quick wins and next steps to continue to further employer engagement.

WHO: This is a team-based learning experience to build the capacity of programs   to boost placement outcomes through real, substantive improvements in how job development is conducted. Each organization selected to participate will commit to sending the same three staff members to all four sessions and two small group coaching sessions:

  • Two job developers, at least one of whom with 2+ years of experience in job development. (If 2 job developers are not available, organizations may substitute an experienced career coach for one of the job developers.)
  • The job development supervisor, program director or other managerial level staff with authority to implement structural change within the program.


Convenings will run from 10am – 3pm.


The program is offered at a subsidized cost of $299 per organization, due to the generous support of The Pinkerton Foundation.

CLICK HERE to apply.