Through periodic MAX Member Spotlights, our MAX team is honored to help our broader workforce development network get to know our members better in order to strengthen connections, collaborations, and practices among workforce developers and organizations engaged in workforce development. Here, our members share insights on how MAX is helpful in their work, accomplishments they’re most proud of, emerging trends they see as affecting workforce development, and more.
Why did you become a MAX member?
I connected with MAX to obtain business connections, gain insight into the industries around me, get a better understanding of the needs of the businesses and offer businesses insight into what CobbWorks offers and share information about job seekers. I also saw it as a great way to collaborate with other WorkSource partners.
How long have you been engaged with the MAX network?
How has being a member of MAX benefitted you or your organization?
As a new person to WorkSource Cobb, I can truly say that MAX lives up to its name – Metro Atlanta eXchange for Workforce Solutions – by keeping the workforce development community informed. MAX has always provided great content and has speakers that provide great insight.
One of my collaborative partners, Mr. Henry Charlot (ARC), introduced me to the MAX mapping tool and now I use it practically every day and share it, so businesses know which WorkSource covers their area: https://metroatlantaexchange.org/worksource-metro-atlanta/find-your-local-workforce-development-board/.
How have you engaged through MAX in the past 12 months?
MAX Minutes, MAX Mondays, MAX Talks
Which MAX event do you most look forward to attending?
MAX Talks but the minutes are very handy.
How many years have you served in the workforce development profession?
I have served in my capacity as a business services professional for one year and four months.
Why do you serve in this profession? What motivates you or inspires you to do what you do?
I serve in this profession to hopefully make a difference and be a part of informing and shaping communities.
What motivates me is knowing that youth are our future and that we have an obligation to expose them to various career pathways and educational opportunities. What inspires me is knowing the difference it can make for youth, businesses, and communities.
What is something you and/or your organization have accomplished in the past 12 months that you are most proud of?
An accomplishment our organization undertook was the establishment of a pre-apprenticeship program with Prime Power, a company in the Mableton, Georgia area. The idea being to introduce 10 people from the community to the emergency power supply service industry. Due to COVID-19, we ended up with 8 graduates, 6 men and 2 women.
We received funding from Atlanta CareerRise under the leadership of John Helton and a lot of support from the Cobb Foundation/Board as well Superintendent Ragsdale, Chairwoman Cupid, Commissioner Sheffield and a lot of businesses.
The goal is to encourage more businesses to look at this to “home grow” talent for their industries and diversify with un-tapped talent.
What are some emerging trends you see as affecting the job seekers and employers served through our profession?
COVID-19 has brought new meaning to the workforce that includes the job seekers, employers, and the educational systems. Virtual everything from job fairs, interviews and meetings have become the norm and the digital divide is real. The trend that technology is a must in terms of knowledge, skills and access really became evident and I see the trend becoming more prevalent each year.
Job seekers are wanting higher wages so they do not have to work two jobs, can afford childcare, and make a livable wage that can free them from government assistance.
Employers are having a hard time finding and training skilled workers. Most skilled professions are aging out, retiring etc. and as a result there is a huge gap. However, young adults are not embracing these professions. The elimination of vocational education in secondary schools has created a perfect storm in the workforce.
Is there anything you believe that we, as a profession, should do differently in the future to best serve those we serve?
Workforce developers will have to change the way we find and train workers. Companies will have to recruit more through social media and by telling their own stories as well as taking it to the people and communities they want to impact. Businesses should also look at “growing their talent” by using the European model of more apprenticeships and internships.
To develop a pipeline of talented workers prepared for tomorrow’s workforce there also must be a shift in how we engage and train non-traditional students, new and existing workers. We must fully prepare everyone who wants to work for the emerging changes that are going to take place in the workplace. I do not believe we can adequately grow a future-ready workforce without educational systems, businesses and government coming together to establish a model of education that will better serve the future of our state and our nation.
In the end, it is only through innovative, cross-sector partnerships that we can ensure a robust economy that prepares skilled workers from across all populations to meet the emerging needs of business and industry. I look forward to work together to reach the un-tapped populations with a path to a prosperous future.
What is a little-known fun fact about you?
I love to travel to places I have never been before. My father had a photographic memory, but I did not inherit that gene.