About the project:Recognizing that work leaders in the workforce business do has changed dramatically over the past decade, and possibly more so during the past two years, the Department of Labor was interesting in how the nature of leadership has changed, how leaders are building leadership capacity in their communities. SPR was engaged to help convene a series of conversations with leaders to explore these issues.We partnered with major associations: USCOM, NAWB, NACO, NGA, etc. to convene a series of group discussions/chatWe’re just beginning to conduct individual interviews with leaders nominated through that processLit reviewSocial media search
This is a googlemap showing the location of contributors to the project.Key:Blue (dark) = Local/Regional-level Contributors Green = State-level ContributorsMagenta = Post-secondary Education ContributorsPurple = Contributing Associations and OrganizationsAqua = Anonymous Contributors (via large group discussions or post-cards)Also on our website enhancingworkforceleadership.org, which we’ll send you a link to as a follow-up to this session.
We have identified 12 highlights, we will run through them now.We-adership…Not just simple collaboration or meeting, but a more more nuanced understanding of different kinds of partnerships necessary to advance different issues.Networks, not hierarchy. Convening partnerships, amongst the most important work leaders say they do.Importantly, good leaders also know when to step back.Interest in innovation, strength-building (not just problem-solving), but this agenda is more of a struggle.
Many issues, but not just issues – different scales, and within unique ecosystems.Jobs, skills, and wages anchors the work, but the breadth and depth are varied, the partner mix, complex and ever-changing.This is a big change from a decade ago.
More than just coordination:Working toward shared goalsUsing incentives that reward appropriatelyInvesting in ways that reflect public interestBuilding toward lasting partnerships
System cleared the field, program kicked the ball. But impact goes beyond the win, to the thousands of people cheering.Impact is biggest point of pride, and also most significant frustration for many workforce leaders.
NPR story. Ten year old American kid practices Chinese with the Chinese president and a reporter asks her why the President is here and she says “because we trade with each other.” Wow.This manifests in workforce in a few different ways:Cities and regions are comparing themselves with cities and regions outside the US, not just those inside their states or nation – for their part, states are playing more active roles in the international trading world.Workforce professionals are doing more peer-to-peer learning exchanges with other cities, and also other countries (NAWB just went to the UK)More foreigners are coming here (review registration at NAWB).This, too, is different than a decade ago, and workforce leaders know they need this global awareness to do their jobs effectively.
“Whoever is there is the right people”Wikis, bb – this is like community problem solving. Different timelines, partners, not everyone has to be at the table.Metaphors might even get in the way sometimes – tables, tends, buses…
Leaders juggle different kinds of capacity over different kinds of issues in different jurisdictions with different partners – Gaps remain in leaders understanding of each others’ roles and statutory responsibilities.Gaps are particularly pronounced between states and locals (WIBs, Legislatures/mayors and county commissioners, etc.) but gaps across systems matter too.The idea of risk seems to play a significant role here.
Recognition of emerging trends, but uncertainly about what to do with them.
How many m&ms?That’s about how many skills were named as essential, but they fell into four categories – people and narrative most surprising – we’ll talk about those.
Workforce leaders are concerned about who will replace them.Uncertain about what knowledge/wisdom needs to be transferred. Workplace is changing, tech is changing how work gets done – leaders are sure next generation will need help learning the ropes, but what help? How delivered?(This is a board meeting today).
Workforce leaders are concerned about who will replace them.Uncertain about what knowledge/wisdom needs to be transferred. Workplace is changing, tech is changing how work gets done – leaders are sure next generation will need help learning the ropes, but what help? How delivered?(Could this also be a board meeting today?)
Doing this work renewed my faith in public service.Nearly universally, the individuals and groups with whom we spoke expressed a deep and nuanced understanding of the work they do and a commitment, not just to program or even system, but to effective stewardship of public resources.They were quite blunt about for instance, what it means for families, communities, and the nation’s economy when large numbers of people in a region or an industry are laid off, and equally candid about the tendency to be distracted from the forest by the trees and their efforts to self-correct.
The crux of the issue – building leadership – is a significant challenge.Leaders recognize that the answer is not one thing, it’s many things. But how do you decide what to do?Resource constraints are also an issue, but perhaps less than the uncertainly about a future course of action.
Things We've Learned About Workforce Leadership
Things we’ve learned about WORKFORCELEADERSHIP<br />VINZ KOLLER, KRISTIN WOLFF,<br />ALISON GASH, CHANDRA LARSEN<br />SOCIAL POLICY RESEARCH ASSOCIATES<br />
1. IT’S MORE LIKE . . .WE-ADERSHIP <br />“We bring different players involved in workforce development, from tech schools to trade associations and state government agencies. We are convenors. So much depends on the willingness to collaborate.” –Lana, State Representative<br />
2. 31 FLAVORS <br />Literacy, BroadbandConnectivity, Industry Transition(it’s all workforce)<br />"Expectations are greater today as the public's understanding of education and economic issues has increased. It's a positive change – our agendas are bigger, even if not always realistic." – Paul, WIB Director<br />
3. “In order to form a more perfect …” ALIGNMENT <br />”Diverse partners add the resources and expertise we do not have and the reverse is also true. You need partnerships to take on the hard issues. Knowing how to manage them is an important aspect of leadership.” – Christine, WIB Director <br />
4. IMPACT > PROGRAM + SYSTEM<br />”Metrics matter and they should be strategic – linked to a collaboratively negotiated community-wide strategy and owned by multiple stakeholders who can hold each other accountable. Then they are powerful. – Sam, VP, Member Association<br />
5. IT’S A GLOBAL VILLAGE<br />”Technology and innovation are key. We need to keep in mind that we are part of a global economy. The world is bigger than the community we live or work in. – Stephen, Interagency Workgroup Director<br />
6. WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT = PICK-UP BASKETBALL?<br />”Leadership has to see a greater range of choices coming and deal with them faster and better than ever before. We do what we can to anticipate change – and make sure what we design is sustainable after the flurry is over.” – Mike, WIB Marketing Specialist <br />
7. EFEECTIVE LEADERSCAN PLAY MANY POSITIONS<br />”Since the downturn, mayors have asked for more workforce services delivered more locally – I have 34 municipalities in my area.” Jennifer, WIB Director<br />
8. WORKFORCE LEADERSHIP DEMANDS LIFELONG LEARNING ABOUT LEARNING AND WORK <br />”We are trying to build an understanding of workforce and how systems work at all levels in our community – but those systems themselves need to change.” Shari, VP, Member Association<br />
9. THE LIST OF “NEED-TO-KNOWS” IS GROWING <br />STRATEGY<br />INFORMATION& ANALYSIS<br />PEOPLE<br />NARRATIVE<br />
”Younger people have different expectations about the workplace, and about work. How should we be thinking about knowledge-sharing vs. adaptation?”<br />Shari, VP of Member Association <br />”Younger people have different expectations about the workplace, and about work. How should we be thinking about knowledge-sharing s. adaptation?”<br />Shari, VP of Member Association <br />”One of our biggest concerns has to do with the number of people reaching retirement age…how do we institutionalize the knowledge and skills they have?” <br />– Roy, Program Director<br />
11. IT’S SERIOUSBUSINESS<br />”Leaders do real things. Last year we put 15,000 young people to work – the need is 70,000, but now everyone knows it and a partnership is taking root.”<br /> – Robert, Department Manager <br />
US Department of Labor, National Association of Counties, National Association of Workforce Boards, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Governors Association, National League of Cities, US Conference of Mayors, California Workforce Association, 88 Individual Workforce Leader Contributors (to Date)<br />Flickr Friends: IceCream (kthread); Kayak (barryskeates); NUFC (mikebrown59): Board Meeting (isgce); Basketball (andersonin); Work, School (JD Lasica); M&Ms (averain); Street sign (Thomas Frederick) <br />SPR Research Team: VinzKoller, Kristin Wolff, Trace Elms, Alison Gash, RickiKozumplik, with assistance from Annie Nyborg and MiloneyThakrar<br />Follow us on Twitter: @WFLeadership<br />For more information: www.EnhancingWorkforceLeadership.org<br />