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 chair the Business and Immigration for Georgia (BIG) Partnership, which is a new statewide partnership of business and civic leaders committed to strengthening Georgia’s economy by tapping into the potential of its refugee and immigrant communities. We worked with Rep. Wes Cantrell (R, Woodstock) and a diverse group of legislators and partners to help pass HR 11 on Maximizing Global Talent passed in the Georgian General Assembly this year. It creates a Global Talent Study Committee that will meet this fall to explore ways to build the global talent pipeline and remove barriers to full economic participation faced by foreign-born Georgians. MAX will help us connect with and learn from others addressing Georgia’s workforce challenges and empower Georgians to engage in meaningful work.
How long have you been engaged with the MAX network?
1 to 2 years
How has being a member of MAX benefitted you or your organization?
I’ve learned from & connected with others who are engaged in workforce development issues in Georgia.
How have you engaged through MAX in the past 12 months?
MAX Minutes, MAX Mondays
How many years have you served in the workforce development profession?
1-2 years. I’m a long-time lawyer and public policy advocate who works on behalf of refugees and immigrants, including survivors of torture and trafficking seeking safety and a better life in the US.
Why do you serve in this profession? What motivates you or inspires you to do what you do?
I’m motivated by the talented and resilient people I have met in the refugee and immigrant community who struggle to find meaningful work once here. They want nothing more than to support themselves and their families and contribute to their new communities. There are too many outdated, unnecessary barriers that prevent them from achieving these goals. The ability to work, to fully use one’s skills and talents, is central to our health and well-being and impacts all aspects of life, especially for refugees and immigrants starting over here.
What is something you and/or your organization have accomplished in the past 12 months that you are most proud of?
Building the BIG Partnership and drafting and advancing HR 11, which passed unanimously in the House with support from across party lines, across sectors, and across rural and metro areas and showed Georgia at its best — encouraging the inclusion of our refugee and immigrant friends and neighbors in our communities and our economies.
What are some emerging trends you see as affecting the job seekers and employers served through our profession?
Georgia’s core industries depend heavily on global talent — health care, IT, manufacturing, agriculture, hospitality and more. Many states have used the energy, talent and experience of new Americans to revitalize aging communities or those transitioning to a higher-skilled, tech workforce.
Is there anything you believe that we, as a profession, should do differently in the future to best serve those we serve?
Yes, identify and remove barriers to full economic participation for foreign-born Georgians, which currently make up one-tenth of the population (over 1,000,000 people) and will only grow in number. We should be better prepared to support these Georgians and maximize their economic potential.
What is a little-known fun fact about you?
I’m a long-time Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for DeKalb County, advocating for abused and neglected children in the Georgia foster care system.
Darlene Lynch is also the Head of External Relations for The Center for Victims of Torture Georgia.