WIN believes that the advance of cloud-computing offers a transformative opportunity to align stakeholders around new and innovative workforce development solutions. In that light, WIN is in the process of developing CloudPod Network as an overarching infrastructure, designed to support a collaborative of individual CloudPods – physical centers that provide cloud-based computing skills training and essential life support services. In addition, in the CloudPods assistance will be provided to find traditional employment or alternative work opportunities. CloudPod Network is building a comprehensive and connected system that equips individuals living with barriers with in-demand cloud-based computing and administration skills, enabling them to learn, work and earn in a safe and nurturing environment.

Demand is growing rapidly across the U.S and around the world for individuals with basic business administration skills and experience, or training in cloud-computing related skills. Of particular importance is that is supportive of efforts to train disadvantaged individuals in the software it generates – in partnership with non-profit organization’s the Foundation has launched programs throughout the globe that seek “to equip young adults with the business skills, technology training, and hands-on experience required to be successful in the fast-growing social enterprise industry.”  

CloudPod Network partners with community-based service organizations and support agencies to provide essential life services and cultivate a supportive learning and a nurturing work environment. There is an intentional focus to ensure that individuals served in a CloudPod are adequately supported so that they can function, learn, and work to the best of their abilities. Community- and institutional-based CloudPods are designed to address identified barriers to employment that include: 

  • Access to childcare: partnerships with community organizations that provide on site childcare, flexible hours of operation, and course offerings at convenient hours.
  • Available transportation: CloudPods are located in a central location or local community center that is within walking distance or accessible from a constituent’s home. 
  • Insufficient basic skills: remedial education lessons will be available, and a comprehensive screening process is in place to ensure constituents are prepared for curriculum delivery.
  • Lack of support/encouragement: Each CloudPod will be launched through community collaboration, achievable incentives and shared accountability.

Pilot Project Overview                                

Advancements in the cloud-based computing technology industry have created opportunities for training and equipping low-income individuals for administrative and management positions and careers within the industry. This new ‘medium of exchange’ for delivering service and skills to employers, intrinsically addresses some of the major barriers facing low-income individuals in accessing the world of work: 1) The Cloud enables an individual to provide some or all of their work remotely, an important feature for individuals who do not have adequate transportation, day-care and limited financial resources to address barriers; and 2) Many of these administrative positions are flexible in terms of working hours, which can be ideal to meet the challenges associated with family responsibilities.

WIN deployed a pilot program in partnership with the Glen Hazel Community Resident Management Corporation, a public housing community in Pittsburgh, to recruit and train members of the resident population – and low-income persons generally – in cloud-based computing skills using as the core training tool. The program targeted adult residents served by the GHCRMC between the ages of 18 and 35, and equipped individuals with entry-level administrative capabilities. Eleven students completed the classroom training in March 2016 and subsequently a three-month ‘traineeship’ with local non-profit organizations that use in June 2016. Upon completion of the ‘traineeship,’ more than half of the graduates were placed in employment at organizations throughout the City of Pittsburgh. 

WIN is working to develop relationships with employers – both non-profit organizations and companies – to:

  1. Host the students in 3-month traineeships designed to apply the concepts learned in training;
  2. And to eventually assist the graduates in finding work after successfully completing the program.

For more information on our CloudPod Network Initiative,
please contact Emily Adair, Partner and our Director of Workforce Innovation.


Developing and implementing collaboration driven workforce development models that bring together industry, education, community and public sector stakeholders.

A Framework for Performance

It has been WIN’s experience that workforce development initiatives tend to be unintentionally fragmented and generally lacking the comprehensive view that is necessary to connect people to self-sustaining jobs and careers. Training programs often lack pragmatic systems to recruit; placement programs frequently ignore retention issues; workforce development initiatives in general do not look at their overall targeted labor market in a comprehensive or defining fashion.

The WIN Process-Driven System is a framework to guide employers, educators and workforce development professionals regarding what questions to ask and how to piece together the 'workforce development puzzle.' We contend that to design and implement workforce development programs with lasting results it is imperative to address all of the various enabling elements from recruitment through to retention, build systems and processes that advance and follow people in their progression toward jobs and careers, measure results and – as much as possible -- achieve scale. This ultimately requires broad alliances of vested parties and end users pursuing common goals. These alliances make a unifying vision imperative if they are to succeed. It is this vision that the WIN Process-Driven System offers as a rallying point to entities seeking to engage in workforce development.

WIN Process-Driven System

The WIN Process-Driven System for workforce development is offered as a tool to visualize and construct an intuitive and effective recruitment, training and retention program. Our goal is to prepare and match the employment skills and competencies of the individual to the specific needs of hiring employers; to develop, through various points of entry, a pipeline of qualified candidates equipped and able to successfully navigate the multiple paths to jobs and careers; and to engage a select network of employers focused on hiring, placing, retaining, and advancing individuals along career pathways.

The consistent delivery of superior service through a process-driven system requires the careful design and execution of an efficient model that connects people to training and jobs through interdependent actions. Intuitive systems can be deployed to assure that individuals, agencies and/or communities have the knowledge, tools and the opportunity to build exceptional job-related, value-added skills.

A process-driven system also serves to identify the barriers that are encountered by employers and individuals and to develop interventions to overcome these barriers.

The primary focus of the WIN Process-Driven System for workforce development is to recruit, train, and place individuals with 'in-demand' skills to meet the workforce requirements of employers. The process uses a holistic model that World-Class Industrial Network has deployed with organizations, associations and employers across many industry clusters.

Connecting Supply to Demand

An effective way of connecting the workforce to training, jobs and career opportunities is to divide outreach and development processes into three key elements – recruitment, training and retention. Each element, in turn, can be sub-divided into specific steps that form an infrastructure for sustainable and recurring success:

Recruitment elements involve identification, i.e., segmenting the labor force in groups defined by social, economic and/or common network characteristics; targeting those groups more likely to be interested in a given job offer or career pathway; and recruitment per se, or the set of activities that communicates the offer, establishes contact, and concludes with an interested person entering a training program and/or accepting a job offer.

Training elements start with the processes of screening and testing to ensure that individuals meet the minimum requirements necessary to learn new skills, participate and be successful in the labor force. This comprehensive process would include the basics, such as, checking references and resumes, screening for drug and criminal background and, testing for math, reading and other job skill related prerequisites. Training itself refers to imparting new knowledge and skills to those selected via screening and testing.

Retention elements involve placing people in a given job within a participating employer, retaining the new workers (through a variety of means that may include apprenticeship, advanced skill training and opportunities for advancement), and advancement. The latter step goes beyond development activities focused on the individual because it encompasses organizational measures designed to create an attractive and mutually rewarding work and learning environment.


For more information on our Workforce Innovation practice,
please contact Emily Adair, Partner and our Director of Workforce Innovation.