The start of a New Year always brings with it new opportunities, new challenges and, to some extent, a fresh slate. We, at WorkSource Montgomery, are excited about the opportunity to keep building on the strength of our community’s workforce in 2019, or as I have been calling it: “The Year of Careers!”
As we launch the year – just 18 months after our formation as an independent, non-profit organization that was created to serve the workforce development needs of Montgomery County – we have produced a mini-report that provides a snapshot into our progress and to the vital role we play as a community convener, working in concert with an array of partners from the public, private and non-profit sectors.
The report, entitled: “WorkSource Montgomery: Convening and Creating Opportunities for All” is posted in full on our website. Following is an excerpt:
A strong economy and low unemployment should mean opportunity for all. But the reality is that not all have equitable access to quality jobs and upward mobility. Wages have not kept pace with the cost of living with many working families struggling to make ends meet. At the same time, businesses struggle to find the skilled workforce necessary to meet their needs. Traditional services are not sufficient. A strong Montgomery County workforce development system must implement both economic development and social service strategies, requiring inclusive and intense stakeholder engagement.
Through stakeholder engagement, workforce development service delivery is more efficient and effective. Key to enhancing service delivery is collective stakeholder facilitation and leadership to convert from current practices of isolated and disconnected entities of service delivery to a community of service providers engaging a systemic approach that cohesively brings together industry, education, government, and community-based services in an integrated and comprehensive way. A community of service providers shares a vision, vocabulary, strategies, and outcomes. For example, to achieve sustainable employment for our job-seekers, the criteria of employability must be collaboratively developed with the employer.
Montgomery County is fortunate to have progressive and comprehensive programs through multiple social service entities, our educational systems, and our non-profit community. However, to create a true system approach, further assessment of the current resources is needed to determine organizational capacity, duplication of effort, and identify program shortages. Understanding the relevant data and the coordination needed will result in workforce development services becoming even more efficient and effective.
WorkSource Montgomery (WSM) has built a strong organizational structure that includes a knowledgeable staff and Board of Directors, innovative ways to engage key partners, strong industry-led career pathway programs, active job centers, and diverse resources. While building on our accomplishments, WSM continues to prioritize stronger collaboration and integration of services that go beyond traditional workforce development practices, as outlined in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) legislation.