Highlights From Our Collection of Workforce Leader Interviews. Post #4

Jul 25, 2011
by: Sam McCoy

Board Room
The New Workforce Leaders

A common theme that as come up in many of our interviews has been the important role that new and younger workforce staff are having on the field of workforce development and the very nature of how we perceive leadership.  

"Young people understand social networks in a profound way. They can connect to knowledge and resources with such immediacy - it never occurs to them that they cannot access the answer to the question or find a person who can help them. This orientation brings "the globe" right to Main Street. It's going to change the way we work."  Susan McNamara,  Chautauqua Workforce Investment Board 

One of the insightful strategies we gleaned from our conversation with Karen Coleman, Director of the Division of Employment and Workforce Solutions at the New York Department of Labor, was from her management style.  Karen told us how they have made it a standard practice in her agency to pull non-management staff into management meetings and also seek the input and feedback from junior staff members during the front end of projects and throughout the development process.  

Incorporating the views and participation of younger and less senior staff have a dual benefits for staff and for workforce development agencies and organizations.  The practice allows for our next generation of workforce leaders to gain the experience, insights and confidence they will need as larger numbers of senior staff retire.  It also enables the organization to tap into the knowledge and inspiration of a generation with new ideas, passion and the experience with cutting edge software and social media applications the present so many needed possibilities.