Five U.S. Cities Team Up to Close Equity Gaps for Working Adults


CHICAGO, March 15, 2019 — The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), today announced the launch of the Inclusive Development Network, an ambitious new initiative designed to advance inclusive workforce development within their regions through a focus on reaching underserved populations. Cleveland, Ohio; Corpus Christi, Texas; Spokane, Washington; Coweta, Oklahoma; and Pensacola, Florida, were selected from more than 35 applications for the Network’s first cohort of communities.

“Although our economy is growing, segments of our communities are still struggling with poverty, wage stagnation and underemployment. In local economic development, a focus on working adults and inclusivity can help ensure that every member of the community has the opportunity to thrive,” said CAEL President Marie A. Cini. “Each of the communities selected for the Network will help build and scale an inclusive new approach to workforce development.”

Backed by grants from ECMC Foundation and JPMorgan Chase & Co., the Inclusive Development Network will work to identify and implement strategies that reduce equity gaps in local workforce development. Participating communities were selected based on their geography and size, as well as their existing and proposed reach with underserved populations.

A lead economic development organization within each community will assemble leadership teams that include representatives from local institutions, including government agencies, colleges and universities, employers and community organizations. Through a specialized planning process facilitated by CAEL, the teams will hone inclusive workforce development strategies to create education, job and career opportunities for all residents. Initial lead organizations include the Greater Cleveland Partnership, the United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce, the Northeast Oklahoma Regional Alliance, the FloridaWest Economic Development Alliance and Greater Spokane Incorporated.

The Inclusive Development Network will be supported by partnerships with national experts, including International Economic Development Council (IEDC), Burning Glass Technologies, Avalanche Consulting Inc. and Quest Site Solutions.

“This work is about promoting economic inclusion for working adults at the local level,” said ECMC Foundation President Peter J. Taylor. “Together, these leaders will blaze a new trail to a more equitable and prosperous future for working adults, families and communities.”

To learn more about the IDN, visit

About the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL): Established in 1974, The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) is a Strada Education Network affiliate and national, nonprofit 501(c)(3) membership organization dedicated to partnering with educators, employers, and workforce and economic developers. Together we reimagine how education and employment fit together, and we create lifelong pathways that integrate learning and work. Our aim is to support the engaged participation of adults in thriving talent pipelines and robust economic development in the 21st century economy. Visit to learn more.

About ECMC Foundation: ECMC Foundation is a Los Angeles-based, nationally focused foundation whose mission is to inspire and to facilitate improvements that affect educational outcomes—especially among underserved populations—through evidence-based innovation. It is one of several affiliates under the ECMC Group enterprise based in Minneapolis. ECMC Foundation makes investments in two focus areas: College Success and Career Readiness; and uses a spectrum of funding structures, including strategic grantmaking and program-related investments, to invest in both nonprofit and for-profit ventures. Working with grantees, partners and peers, ECMC Foundation’s vision is for all learners to unlock their fullest potential. Learn more about ECMC Foundation by visiting and ECMC Group by visiting

About JPMorgan Chase & Co: JPMorgan Chase & Co. is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.6 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of customers in the United States and many of the world’s most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at

SOURCE Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL)