National Fund for Workforce Solutions 
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Winning the competition for talent

Becoming an employer of choice is a strategy, not an accident


Practitioner Presentation
Thursday, Oct. 21 Location Code
11:30am-12:30pm Virtual ThS/27

Times listed in EDT.


As the nation and the economy recover from the pandemic, it is clear that there will be dramatic competition for talent. To succeed in this climate, companies must have a strategy for recruiting, retaining and leveraging the full abilities and commitment of their people. In this session, you will be given a step-by-step guide to designing a great workplace filled with economy-boosting jobs.


There's nothing accidental about creating a great place to work. It's a design challenge and can leverage the same set of skills a company brings to bear in rolling out new products or implementing lean practices to reduce waste. Employees can become ambassadors, recruiting their friends and family to fill a company's positions at all levels. Turning your internal culture into a competitive advantage is a science, not an art. This session will draw upon the joint experience of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence, the MEP National Network, The National Fund for Workforce Solutions, and their manufacturer partners from across the country. Learn to design a great workplace that will help you stay ahead.


The National Fund for Workforce Solutions invests in a dynamic national network of about 30 communities taking a demand-driven, evidence-based approach to workforce development. At the local level, its partner organizations contribute resources, test ideas, collect data and improve public policies and business practices that help all workers succeed and employers have the talent they need to compete. It leverages the expertise of local leaders to share learning across the network and identify trends, opportunities and best practices. Together, they are changing the conversation around workforce development to promote equity and drive impact.


Matthew Fieldman is the executive director of America Works, a nationwide initiative to coordinate the American manufacturing industry's training efforts, generating a more capable, skilled and diverse workforce. Based at The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET), a nonprofit that helps Northeast Ohio’s small- and medium-sized manufacturers grow locally while competing globally, Fieldman works across the nation's Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) system to increase collaboration, efficiency and impact of local and regional workforce development efforts. Previously, he was vice president of external affairs for MAGNET. In this role, he launched the Ohio Manufacturing Survey; mspire, a regional startup pitch competition; helped launch manufacturing apprenticeships for inner-city youth; and was responsible for fundraising, legislative relations, media relations and more.

Fieldman is the founding Board Chair of EDWINS Restaurant and Leadership Institute, Cleveland's first nonprofit restaurant and one of the first of its kind nationally to train formerly incarcerated individuals to work in fine dining. He raised over $600,000 to start EDWINS and was named “2014 Fundraiser of the Year” by Fundraising Success magazine for his efforts. He is also the founder of Cleveland Codes, one of the nation's first nonprofit software boot camps devoted specifically to training low-income adults for careers in technology. He holds a bachelor's in psychology, cum laude, from the University of Florida, an MBA from The George Washington University, and a certificate in nonprofit management from Case Western Reserve University. He is a former Ariane de Rothschild and American Council on Germany Transatlantic Fellow and is currently a Civil Society Fellow at the Aspen Institute. 

Tom Strong is a long-time advocate for the business benefits of investing in good jobs. As the National Fund’s director of employer activation, he leads efforts to engage employers in local industry partnerships to increase their competitive advantage, make jobs better and build more resilient communities. Strong's experience with organizational development and good job creation crisscrosses between philanthropy and the private sector. He previously co-led the Hitachi Foundation’s Good Companies/Good Jobs program, which investigated the practices of leading companies that were great places to work. He also worked extensively as a coach with the Great Game of Business, the world's leading company in the field of open-book management. Strong holds an MBA from the University of Arizona, a bachelor’s degree from Reed College and is a founding board director of the Georgia Center for Employee Ownership.