Giving Compass’ Take:
• Equal Measure interviews Jobs for the Future’s Marty Alvarado and Joel Vargas on their work developing career pathways for young people: They emphasize that changing the system, with thoughtful leaders, is a crucial element.
• Are we doing enough to support systems change in our work, whether in education or other sectors? How can we cultivate more “network leadership” among grantees?
Welcome to The Q — an interview series where we invite the Equal Measure team, clients, and colleagues from the field, to share their insights on evaluation, philanthropic services, emerging trends in the social sector, and more. In this interview, we sat down with Jobs for the Future’s (JFF) Marty Alvarado and Joel Vargas to discuss the development of systems leadership in The James Irvine Foundation’s Linked Learning Regional Hubs of Excellence initiative.
As director of learning communities and a member of the Pathways to Prosperity team at Jobs for the Future (JFF), Alvarado provides support to regions scaling up Linked Learning and to California Career Pathways Trust grantees. As vice president, Vargas leads the work of JFF’s High School Through College team. He also advises on state policies to promote improved high school and postsecondary success for underserved students.
ALVARADO: The main goal of the Linked Learning Regional Hubs of Excellence initiative is to help students across California gain equitable access to educational and career success. I see JFF as a supportive intermediary in the ongoing work of the regional hubs. The regional hubs are places where community partners collaborate to deliver the benefits of a Linked Learning approach to education pathways — including rigorous academics, work-based learning in workplaces, and embedded support services. We work with leaders of the regional hubs to support their organizational and skills development, as well as strategic positioning.
VARGAS: If we think about systems development as “network leadership,” I think that gives folks a conceptual framework for understanding how they can operate differently for the cross-sector collaboration to prosper. Traditional hierarchies, or organizational framing from that vantage point, don’t work for scaling across multiple sectors and multiple regions …
As part of this effort, we’re coaching leaders to cultivate skills to collaborate across and within sectors — including working with allies and potential competitors. The cross-sector dimension is something unique to this project, and requires certain power-sharing skills, among others, to do well…
Read the full interview with Marty Alvarado and Joel Vargas on systems leadership at Equal Measure, via medium.com.
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