As an industry intermediary, Midwest Urban Strategies (MUS) supports its members by iterating program solutions and operating through its Innovation Laboratory as the research and development resource to help validate proof of concept on program design. Once a program is proven it is replicated in other WDB areas to test its scalability. Programs that prove scalable are integrated through the locally coordinated public workforce system in each WDM member area and become part of how that system operates and delivers its local programs. This process of demonstrating proof of concept, replicating in similar members markets, and then scaling for integration in to the public workforce system ensures that programs that evidence best practices are sustained beyond any particular grant funded project.
The Innovation Laboratory is currently piloting programming aimed at returning citizens, young adults interested in careers in technology, broadening registered apprenticeship programs, expanding the application of work-based learning tactics, credential-based training programs and pathways in long term care and early childhood education occupations. In addition, the Innovation Laboratory is building capacity to implement systems change focused on racial equity, diversity, and inclusion (REDI). The REDI initiative will incorporate changes in policy and practice to increase and improve services to underrepresented populations including black and brown people and women.