Lauded for his efforts as Partner4Work CEO
by Rob Taylor Jr.
Courier Staff Writer
David J. Malone, chair of the local workforce development organization Partner4Work, called Earl Buford in a statement a “tireless advocate for the region’s businesses, job-seekers, workers and youth by taking an already strong public workforce system and elevating its portfolio and profile to a national stage.”
Malone said further that Buford’s contributions to the Pittsburgh region “cannot be overstated. Under his leadership, Partner4Work established itself as the model for workforce development boards across the country.”
It’s that type of impact that Buford’s made that launched him into a new challenge—president of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL). It’s the next step in Buford’s substantive career, as Buford announced on Feb. 17 that he would be stepping down as CEO of Partner4Work after three years at the helm.
The New Pittsburgh Courier learned via Partner4Work that Buford established and delivered several innovations during his tenure, including: Elevating the organization’s profile through strategic partnerships with the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, National Skills Coalition, Jobs for the Future, National Association of Workforce Boards, U.S Conference of Mayors, and other national entities; Establishing Pittsburgh as a member city of Midwest Urban Strategies, a coalition of 13 urban workforce boards united to advance economic and workforce development, secure resources, and share best practices.
As a member city, Pittsburgh received nearly $9 million in U.S. Department of Labor funds to reconnect dislocated workers and returning citizens with meaningful career opportunities; Mobilizing a robust network of industry-led and strategic partnerships in key sectors including Financial Services, Retail and Hospitality, Construction, Manufacturing, and Early Childhood Education; Attracting and delivering nationally renowned and industry-recognized training solutions including BankWork$, IBM SkillsBuild, and Per Scholas; Formalizing an agreement with the Pittsburgh Arena Real Estate Development (PAR) and the Buccini Pollin Group to establish a designated first-source workforce development initiative for Pittsburgh’s Lower Hill District redevelopment; Launching the Ready to Work COVID Recovery Response Coalition with the leadership of numerous entities including business and philanthropic leaders, education, Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh, and the Allegheny Conference on Community Development.
This strategic coalition has established or advanced numerous efforts with a particular focus on job quality and diversity, equity, and inclusion; Convening the Pittsburgh Area Funding Collaborative to bring $500,000 in National Fund for Workforce Solutions resources support industry partnerships and other workforce efforts, and; Expanding Partner4Work’s portfolio of adult and youth service providers including connecting nearly 6,000 young adults with employment through Learn & Earn, the summer jobs program delivered jointly with Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh.
The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning is an affiliate of the Indianapolis-based Strada Education Network. CAEL forges viable connections between education and career success for adult learners. CAEL provides solutions to promote sustainable and equitable economic growth in collaboration with workforce and economic developers, post-secondary educators, employers and industry groups, foundations, and other mission-aligned groups. Strada Education Network is a social impact organization that combines research, thought leadership, strategic philanthropy, mission-aligned investments and its network affiliates to establish purposeful pathways between education and employment.
Buford will take on his new role at CAEL on April 12.
“It is with deep appreciation and the utmost confidence that we wish Earl well on his next chapter,” Malone said in a statement, “and look forward to his successes and continuing to bring strategic partnerships to the Pittsburgh region through his work at CAEL.”